What is a visual schedule?
A schedule consists of main activities to be completed during a particular time frame. A visual schedule uses words or symbols (depending on your child’s level of literacy) to represent activities on his/her schedule. For more information about visual schedules and why you should use them, click here.
7 Tips for Creating Visual Schedule:
- Pair symbols with words to increase your child’s understanding of the schedule, as well as to help develop pre-literacy skills (i.e., help your child start to understand that symbols like pictures and groups of graphemes represent concepts).
- Vary activities to increase engagement. For example, if you are creating a schedule for after school, make sure there is a change of environments within the schedule (indoor/outdoor) or a shift from adult-directed to child-directed activities, etc.
- Post the visual schedule in places where your child can easily view it.
- Start simple and be consistent, especially at first. Start with a few activities and help guide your child through the schedule at first. As your child starts to understand routines and activities on the schedule, increase independence by prompting your child to look at the schedule and figure out what comes next/what he/she has to do without your help.
- Understand your child’s cognitive, attentional, and energy needs. Arrange activities to meet these needs. For example, if your child is always tired at 3pm, schedule an activity that will allow your child to rest and regain his or her energy.
- Let your child make choices. One way to do this is to allow your child to help determine what should be on the schedule. Another way is to provide two choices for a particular block of time.
- Review the schedule before your child follows it. This provides an added review of what is going to happen, thereby increasing predictability and independence. Reviewing changes in the schedule before they happen is especially helpful. If you are deviating from the normal sequence of daily activities, your child will be more prepared for the change. Changes in the schedule are also opportunities to expose your child to new concepts and ideas.
NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Glenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!