Young children flow through the day with a lot less stress and upset feelings when the day is predictable. Young children have a sense of control over their emotions and they feel safe and secure when they know what to expect and what is coming next. In the classroom, we implement a detailed visual schedule. As we finish an activity, we turn over the card listing the activity and discuss the expectations for the next event. The visual schedule becomes an anchor for the children.
Benefits of a home daily schedule include…
- allows your child some independence of being able to “read” what comes next instead of always asking you
- helps your child transition from one activity to the next
- provides a format for him/her to begin to understand that words hold meaning and
- assists in avoiding some power struggles and/or behavioral meltdowns. the schedule is the one telling his/her what to do next and he/she can view when something they prefer is coming up on the schedule. You can also use the language of, “When we complete…, then we can ….”
Some tips on how you can modify the classroom daily, visual schedule for your home to provide additional emotional security and predictability for your child.
- Your home schedule should be generated as a block of activities (i.e. Morning Routine (wake up, dress, brush teeth and eat); School Activities; Play, etc.) instead of with specific times as we do in the classroom to allow you flexibility
- Hold a family meeting either each evening at bedtime or each morning during breakfast and allow your child to help develop the schedule.
- Remember that the schedule does not have to be perfect, it is a guide for the day. Life might happen and everything on the schedule might not get done- that is okay.
- When it is time to transition to a new activity, ask your child, “What does the schedule tell us to do next?” Allow your child the control of turning over or removing the activity card when it is completed or move a clothespin to the next activity when it is time for a transition.
- If your child asks throughout the day for preferred activities such as when he/she can go outside, allow him/her to check their schedule to determine how many more activities before the preferred event.
- Children (Prekindergarten and Kindergarten) should be allowed at least one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon for free choice play that does not include any type of technology device. Play does not need a lot of purchased items. Let your child be creative with the use of recyclable materials such as toilet paper tubes, boxes, magazines, etc. Allow him/her to create art items and/or use the items in dramatic play such as a toilet paper tube can become a phone, a one-inch thick wood piece cut from a branch can become a cookie, a paper plate becomes a wheel in the auto shop for changing tires.