Creating a daily schedule 

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As offices and schools have shut down, parents are now trying to manage the educational needs of their children at home. In all this crazy mix, your child’s speech, language, and social development may be taking a back seat as you just try to get through the day. Here are some ideas to help balance your kids’ needs and your own sanity.

Start with a schedule. 

Children crave routine when the world feels uncertain. Daily rhythms provide safety and security for everyone Consider dividing the day into thirds or fourths. Schoolwork, screen time, outside play, and chores is a simple structure.

Make it visual

As the name suggests, a visual schedule is a visual representation of a sequence of events that is created using pictures, icons, words, etc. You’ve probably seen one in your child’s classrooms outlining the different activities students will be participating in throughout the day. Visual schedules make expectations crystal-clear, reduce tantrums and outbursts, and ease transitions.

Determine which type of visual schedule your child needs. Since no two children are the same, the type of visual schedule you choose for your child should be based on her individual strengths. Do they learn better through pictures or written words?

Decide how long the schedule should be. While some kids may prefer to have their entire day mapped out for them, others may find this way too overwhelming. And let’s face it, nobody can predict fully what a whole day looks like these days. We recommend starting with something simpler, like a “first, next, then” visual schedule with only 3 activities listed (these work best when the last activity is a highly desired one). Don’t be afraid to test a few different options to find out what works best for your child, and remember that their needs may change.

Sample Schedule

Give your child the power of choice

While it is helpful to provide structure for children, it is also important to give them choices. Collaborate with your to help create their schedule, or use a “First, Then” model like this: “When you finish your work, then you can choose between reading, outside time, iPad time, or TV.” Create visual choice boards with simple icons that allow children to see what activities or choices are available. Let them pick from the available options. Giving school-age children choices over their activities will help reduce negative behaviors by sparking their interest and keeping them involved.

Make it realistic

Research suggests a simple rule for figuring out how long children can stay focused: Multiply the child's age by 2-5 minutes. So, if a child is 4 years old, he or she will be able to focus for 8 to 20 minutes, maximum. So when you are making your schedule, keep their attention span in mind. The other factors of attention are your child’s cognitive, language, and motor skills level. Talk to your child’s SLP or student support team to get a realistic idea of this.

Be kind to yourself. Be patient and calm

Each day, remember to be kind to yourself, and in turn, you will be more gracious to your children. No one planned for this. Everyone feels stressed and stretched. We are missing our communities and our routines. Be sure to take care of yourself in small ways throughout the day.


Posted by elizabeth.cole l'italien On 01 April, 2020 at 7:22 AM  

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