Has everyone detoxed from the tryptophan hangover after Thanksgiving? I don't know about you but I still feel tired! The fact that it's getting dark at 4:30 doesn't help (#CSTproblems). In any case, I need a little extra motivation these days to get through my to-do list. And since you guys said in our surveythat you wanted more downloadable PDFs and more resources to address behavior, I've got a great resource for you to help your kids (or frankly, yourself!) keep on top of their daily responsibilities with less drama.
Introducing: the visual schedule!
A visual schedule is simply a list of the activities of the day, in order, in a paper or digital format. A visual schedule can help promote positive behavior by:
Reducing anxiety. Consider two situations: You're in new place and you don't know where to go. The streets are not well-marked, it's getting dark, and you spent 30 minutes driving one way only to realize you've gone in a circle. Alternately, you have Google Maps telling you where to go. Which situation feels better? Visual schedules work for children as maps do for adults. When kids know what to expect, it gives them the freedom to plan appropriately and to feel comfortable attempting activities.
Creating incentive to move through un-preferred activities. Do you ever "bait" yourself to do the boring stuff, like pay bills or fold the laundry, with the promise that after you're done you'll do something you enjoy? It's easier to tolerate stuff you don't want to do if you know that you have something fun on the horizon! If you do X first, then you can do Y.
Eliminating in-the-moment begging. While I can't promise perfection, visual schedules act as the final authority for the plans of the day. It's not YOU being the bad guy when you have to say "no" to an out-of-left-field request for the zoo-- the schedule says what it says.
Promoting responsible choice making. One of the most crucial aspects of self-advocacy is being able to express your desires. Having your child help develop their schedule for the day enables them to practice making choices, thinking through consequences, and expressing their wants and needs. Behavior also improves when children feel that their thoughts are respected, and allowing your child to make choices about their schedule is a good start.
A visual schedule includes the time (analog or digital), a description of the activity, a visual cue or icon that depicts the activity, and a box to mark when it has been completed. This schedule can be as unique as your child!
Check out this PDF for an example visual schedule. Want a free sample of your own? My subscribers have already received it direct to their inboxes! If you want this free resource and other great content each week, subscribe today using the box below!