Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Creating A Toddler's Picture Routine

I hope those of you in the US all had a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday! As for me, I have spent the last couple of weeks in birthday party mode, as Mum, Dad and I prepped up Stephen's circus birthday party. Photos will be up early next week!

Today, though, I wanted to talk about creating a picture routine for your toddler. I believe that young children really benefit from a having a flexible routine, and creating a chart that they can follow can help prevent a lot of meltdowns as they learn to know what to expect. A picture routine is a great way to share the day's (and week's) routine with your little one.

A picture routine is pretty easy to make yourself using clipart, laminate and magnets. However, I fell in love with a ready made set from Little Billies. Their visual schedules are personalised with the name of your child and come with a plethora of activity magnets that will take your child from toddlerhood right through to school age.

This is a shot of the daily and weekly charts up on our calendar board. Each morning I go through with Stephen what is happening today, and what we have coming up during the week. I am hoping that this will not only give Stephen an idea of a day's routine, but also help him to understand the rhythm of our week.

This is the daily chart. It is divided into morning, afternoon and evening, and has magnets assigned for the various tasks such as meals, bath time, the different activities we do during the day, clean up time etc. This picture routine has made a huge difference to our day; there are fewer arguments when TV time is over or it is clean up time, since it is on the schedule! I update the daily chart each night with the next day's specific activities such as a morning shopping or a weekly playgroup session.

The weekly chart, on the other hand, is used for specific weekly activities, such as Stephen's Gymbaroo, playgroup, his homeschool Pre K mornings, and days he spends with his grandparents. This chart pretty much stays the same week to week. Occasionally, different activities will come up, such as next week's playgroup Christmas party, or last week's birthday party, and these get added to the chart.

The charts are $19.95 each, including personalisation, and come in boy and girl versions.

If you would prefer to make your own, then I highly recommend checking out SparkleBox. They have 1000's of free printables and other resources, including a basic visual schedule. It was designed for children with special needs, but it is perfect for a young child's schedule.

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