Do your children struggle with getting up and ready for preschool in the mornings? Is bedtime a fight every single night? We have all heard that setting a routine can help our children, but how can you teach that routine to young kids?? Toddlers and even preschoolers sometimes need that visual aid to take the surprise out of what will happen next. Kids love being able to check things off their list and if you stick with it, you will find mornings and evenings will go MUCH smoother.I have made a visual schedule for children for both morning and bedtime routines that you can print off for FREE. Laminate them or put them in a sheet protector so that you can use a dry erase marker and use them over and over again.
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For Children with Sensory Needs:
If you have followed along with My Mountain Wild for awhile, you will know my son Liam was in OT and speech therapy for over 2 years. We had gone through several therapists, routines, and weekly schedules. Sometimes I just wanted to quit. When Liam was not showing signs of improvement for so long, I was exhausted. We had three different therapists a week, on different days, at one point! But now, because of therapy, Liam is a happier and healthier little boy. Our entire family works better together and understands each other.
SPD or Sensory Processing Disorder is a vague term for the issues that my son had. He was very easily overstimulated and under stimulated and would burst out into a screaming rage, sometimes trying to harm me or himself. He could never sit still, not even to go to the bathroom. He was aggressive and wild and we had no idea what to do with our little toddler that was shaking every time we went into Target because of the bright lights.
One of the things that his therapist had done for us was make a visual schedule for Liam. We had one for morning, night, nap time, diaper changing time, dinner time, going to the grocery store… it at first was extremely overwhelming and it was hard for me to remember to be using these schedules all the time. But if you start with just one or two, it’s much easier.
Things to keep in mind:
- Even if your child does not have any sensory issues, toddlers are just difficult. Even if you think they are too young to understand, explain each step of the routine and why you are doing it.
- Make checking off those boxes a big deal! If you make the routine seem exciting, they are more likely to do it.
- Be consistent! If you skip the checklist even once the first couple of weeks, it can be so easy to just forget about it later on. Plus, consistency gives children a sense of comfort.
- Eventually your child will be pointing to or asking for the schedule and want to check off those boxes without you asking them to do so.
- Keep those markers up high so the kids can’t reach them. I made the mistake of leaving mine within Liam’s reach when he was younger… his dresser got a lovely makeover.
- Your child will start to gain confidence, independence and gives them a sense of accomplishment each time they finish checking off their list.
I hope that you enjoy these printables and I look forward to creating more soon!
Have you used a visual schedule with your child before? How did they like it?
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