Visual schedulers can be a wonderful tool to use with kids to help them learn daily routines and life skills. But they can be especially useful for kids with ADHD, ASD, SPD, or any behavioral/learning disorder that affects attention span or executive planning. Using a visual scheduler for kiddos that need a little extra help focusing can tremendously reduce stress levels on both parents and children, and can even reduce the occurrence of meltdowns!
Here are 3 AWESOME resources to get you started:
1) Timo – Kid’s Routine & Scheduler (App)
Not to be confused with TiMo (a banking app), THIS is a fabulous app that is FREE to download and use, from the Google Play store. Though it says there are some in-app purchases, I have yet to find any that need to bought for app functionality. In fact I haven’t seen any in-app purchase options at all. Maybe they are for avatar appearance items, as I haven’t really investigated that area of the app too much.
This app allows parents to select from various common activities, for morning, afternoon, and nighttime, in order to create a visual sequence of tasks/activities for the child to follow. Each task gets assigned a “time limit” between 5 and 60 minutes, and you can edit the amount of time you’d like to assign to each task. If a child completes the task within the allotted time, they get a star! You can allow the entire sequence to play automatically, but I recommend setting it to manual so that “IF” a child needs more time than you have set for a task, they don’t get behind on the next task(s) in the sequence – which could end up causing MORE frustration/meltdown behavior.
2) OKID Visual Schedule Magnetic Cards
This product is perfect for your kitchen command center! Each card is colorfully illustrated and magnetic, so you and your kiddo can plan out the day by re-arranging/adding/removing cards as needed from your chosen metal surface (fridge, dishwasher, magnetic board). You could set up one side of your surface for “To Do” and one side for “Done”, or simply follow the sequence you’ve laid out.
I like this product because, sometimes routines change. For instance in our house, we don’t always have the same morning routine because two days a week we go to a co-op and those mornings look dramatically different from mornings we don’t go to co-op. There’s lunches and backpacks to grab, coffee to make, and the whole time-table of our morning is more regimented in order to get out the door on time! So being able to customize the daily order of events is a plus!
While this isn’t exactly a “scheduler”, it is a very useful tool for mornings and helps your little one understand the concept of “morning”. Mornings can be dark or super bright, depending on where you live, what season it is, etc. and the changing seasonings/times/level of brightness can be confusing for our littles. This OK to Wake clock helps them understand that “wake up time” is constant, even when the sun is not.
Of course, “constant” is subjective to your individual schedules, but you get the idea. Regardless, this clock changes color when it’s OK for your child to get out of bed – giving you a few more minutes of sleep/quiet!
Disclaimer: Our model also has a physical alarm. So, pro tip, you might want to turn the volume down or turn that feature off, otherwise if your kiddo isn’t awake yet, they certainly will be once the alarm goes off!