Honestly, y’all, we ALL need help remembering where we are going and when.
Or at least my fellow frazzled-but-amazing-mamas and I do.
So until we get a personal assistant for ourselves (like Jennifer Hudson in the Sex And The City movie?) and one for our kids (maybe a tech-savvy Mrs. Doubtfire?), we can post any home and/or school routines for our child’s reference. This helps our child see some predictability in his day and anticipate (in a good way) what to expect.
Often, children with learning differences feel anxious toward school…and the future in general. Finding predictability can be very soothing for worried kids.
I often think aloud as I write out a schedule with one of my younger students, saying, “What is your Monday school schedule? How about Tuesday?” or “I noticed that you always have recess after lunch every day. That makes that part of your schedule easier to remember!” I try to think aloud and call attention to any patterns I notice in the hope that the child will notice these patterns himself as he matures as a learner.
Speaking of the small friends, pre-k and kindergarten students usually benefit more from schedules with pictures/icons on them. For example, having “Reading 9:30-10:30” on a schedule may not be helpful for a child who is not yet able to read the word ‘reading’. Putting a picture of a book next to the word ‘reading’ may help him remember that item on the schedule represents reading class.
Color-coding parts of the schedule with highlighters, crayons or markers can also be helpful. For example, you may write your child’s academic classes (reading, math) in one color and his non-academic classes (music, art, gym, etc.) in another color. Changing colors cues the brain to view that item as different, and students may begin to notice patterns in their schedules because of the color-coding.
At home, you can keep schedules of activities, home routines or homework to-do lists posted wherever it makes the most sense. I love putting schedules next to the door, that way I can’t leave the house with being reminded of what the heck is happening or what I need to bring with me.
Posting a schedule helps children know what to expect from their day. They like to know what is happening, when and in what order. While we adults often internalize or “just remember” our schedules, young children and students with learning challenges do not always notice patterns in their routines. Having a concrete reminder is helpful.
Best of luck with keeping yourselves and your kids sane and thriving. As always, please share your experiences and what has worked for you! This is, after all, a beg-borrow-and-steal community.