Morning routines are one of the most challenging times of day for families with children. Getting people up and out the door in time is a daunting task to begin with, and children are still getting the hang of things like time and focus and following verbal instructions, a skill deficit that could make the most patient among us weep when it’s picture day and the cat has just thrown up on the carpet.
So let’s take the verbal instructions out of the equation by using a picture schedule. Picture schedules allow your child to see which steps in the morning routine they have finished and which ones need to be completed, and are a great way to introduce the idea of a checklist. They also allow you to either point at the schedule or tell your child to check the schedule when they’re drifting off track, thus saving you from having to repeat “PUT YOUR PANTS ON” 16 times.
- Self-laminating sheets
- Printed out photos of the steps of the morning routine (toothbrush, clothes, etc.)
- Sticky velcro
- A sturdy surface for mounting the schedule on. Cardboard works fine.
- An envelope or box to place the pictures in after each task is completed
- Determine what the steps of the morning routine should be
- Take a photo to represent each step
- Print and laminate the photos
- Use velcro to mount the photos on the cardboard in a continuous line, either horizontal or vertical
- As soon as each task is completed in the morning, the corresponding photo is removed and placed in the container
- Re-load the schedule before the next morning and repeat
iPad apps are also available if you are not up to one more craft project. Children who are comfortable with reading may do equally well with a written checklist. It’s all about what works for you!
Guest Writer-Elizabeth Wagner is a special needs educator with over 10 years of experience working with special needs children in the classroom and home setting