I have been getting a lot of messages and questions regarding the new schedule I have been trying out with my boys. Visual schedules are great for kids that need structure, stability and routine. It helps them with transitioning and knowing what is coming so they can predict their day.
After reading more about the visual schedules I looked around and priced many options before getting frustrated and decided to make my own. You can buy packed deals all over the web but I am on a limited budget since hubby has been laid off. So, I thought I would share how I came up with ours for next to nothing. You can do this for $15 or less. Which is the cost of the pocket chart, paper and a black marker.
First, I wanted to find simple pictures since none of my boys can read yet. I went to Google and searched for various things like “Bed Clipart” and “Backpack Clipart”. Basically, I wrote down everything thing I would need a picture for and then searched for a picture to fit it. Things like breakfast, craft time, tv time, etc. Here are some of mine below:
Left:Potty Right: Medicine Time
I got most of these pictures from the website Do2Learn. They have a WONDERFUL website for many different types diagnoses and resources.
To access free pictures for just about EVERYTHING you need for a picture schedule, click this link —> Do2Learn Visual Schedules. There are also some paid resources but I have just always used the free options.
I find the image I want and if I have ink in my printer, I print it. If I am broke and out of ink, I take a piece of plain white copy paper, place it up to my computer screen and lightly trace them image. You can always go back and perfect the lines and make them darker. I go back over them with a marker. I just used pictures but for older kids it would be a good idea to include the words with the pictures. It would also be great to laminate these if you can.
Tip-If the picture is too large on your screen try zooming out by holding the CTRL key and tapping the - key.
Once you have all the pictures you need you need to choose a way to set them up. One thing you could to is use a poster board to paste them on. I wanted to be able to rearrange the pictures depending on the day. I was looking up some ideas and came across pocket charts. I liked the concept of these charts because it is very easy to adjust the schedule when needed. I was lucky and found one at the dollar tree for a $1! I tried to look them up on the Dollar Tree website but didn’t find any. I would try your local Dollar Tree store first. If they don’t have them, you can find pocket charts at any school supply store or even your local Walmart. There are also several different types of pocket charts. This one has 8 rows.
Once you have all the pictures you need for your schedule or daily routine, put them in order of your day and slide them into your chart.
Here is ours broke down row-by-row for example:
Once they wake up:
<– Potty. Get Dressed. Eat Breakfast. Tv/Free time.
<–Craft Time. Lunch. Nap. Schoolwork.
<- Tv/Free time. Computer Time. Dinner. Tv/Free Time.
<–Bath time. Pj’s. Medicine. Potty. Bed.
So far, my boys LOVE this routine. It took them about two days to memorize the pictures and what they stood for. Now they tell me what time it is. Once we eat lunch, they say “NAP TIME!” and they grab their pillows/covers and lay down in their nap spots. Things have been running a lot smoother around here and I have been getting my work & housework done in their down times. You will find that you will add more things to your schedule as you think of them. You can also add in therapy or church pictures for certain days of the week.
Do you use a visual schedule or routine with your children?
If so, what type of system have you been successful with?