Do you have a toddler or preschooler who makes mornings , bedtimes or transition times a challenge?
The first time I was ever exposed to visual schedules as a tool for helping kids stay on track was when I was nannying for a family with a 2 year old who was having major temper tantrums multiple times a day. We were working together to get him more consistency in his routine – but he was still struggling with transition times, bed times, nap times, and other areas of the day where he was constantly being TOLD WHAT TO DO.
The therapist that the family was seeing for their child introduced us to the idea of visual schedules… I drew out little cards for the whole day’s routine and we were all ASTONISHED at how powerful this tool was…
Any time the little one was on the verge of a meltdown because I warned him that it was time to move from one activity to the next, I was able to say “where are your cards, can you tell me what comes next?”
This system worked WONDERS! At the time, I didn’t totally understand why. But after many years of working with kids and helping more and more families use this tool for pre-reading age children… I started to understand why.
Kids want to feel POWER and OWNERSHIP over their lives and they need help understanding what they are supposed to be doing. Have you ever stopped to think about how many times a day you tell your toddler what to do? It’s almost constant.
It’s no wonder they start to get irritated. Kids are so in the moment, doing what they want to do. And we are constantly jolting them out with instructions and corrections.
Of course, it’s necessary to tell young children what to do. But the more your young child can feel a sense of control and ownership over their own lives and routines, the more laid back they become. In fact, they often get EXCITED about their routines. Because KIDS CRAVE CONSISTENCY and they also take pride in being able to do things by themselves and take on more responsibility.
Visual schedules are an awesome way to give kids who can’t yet read a sense of ownership, power, and control over their own lives and routines.
This is a set of cards I made for another family to help their 3 year old get herself ready in the mornings (BEFORE HER MOM EVEN CAME TO GET HER OUT OF BED!)
But if you’re not the artistic type, don’t worry. You can easily print pictures off of google images or buy pre-made schedules on etsy.