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Creating Visual Schedules for Morning Routines

Posted by Christen Barbercheck on

 

Ease into the new year with a stress-free morning routine that provides structure and independence for your family.   

How do you experience this magical unicorn, you might ask? Visual schedules! 

Visual schedules are easily understood by all ages and abilities, making them a great option to represent your morning routine with the activities or steps needed to get ready for the day.  

 

Benefits of Using a Visual Schedule 

While visual schedules are beneficial for everyone, they can be especially helpful for autistic individuals and those with ADHD, anxiety, learning differences, and different communication styles.  

Visual schedules support: 

      • Clear expectations  
      • Executive functioning 
      • Healthy habits 
      • Independence 
      • Stability 
      • Structure 
      • Transitions 

     

    How to Create a Visual Schedule  

    The best visual schedule for your morning routine is one that considers your family’s unique needs. To create a visual schedule that works for you, we recommend the following steps.  

      1. Consider your family’s needs, preferences, and communication styles. 
      2. Write down the daily activities and tasks that are already part of your morning routine and ones that you would like to incorporate, including favorite activities for your family to ensure a positive experience. Note down how long each task will take – using a visual timer for activities provides a clear beginning and end and makes for smooth transitions.  
      3. Set up your space to make it easy for your family to complete their routine independently, i.e. make sure that your child can reach their clothing, provide a bench or chair to put on shoes easily, etc.  
      4. Put your visual items together, ensuring that they are clear and easy to recognize and understand. You can create your own, as well as using premade sets 
      5. Use a dry-erase board to display your schedule.  
      6. Introduce the visual schedule to your family. Explain how the timer will be used to transition between activities and talk about each of the visuals you are using. Be prepared to provide gentle reminders and prompts to help your family follow the routine at first.  
      7. Be flexible – as you learn what works best for you and your family, you can communicate adjustments with your family and refine your visual schedule to better support a happy morning routine for all.   
     

    Example Visual Schedule for Morning Routine  

    Ready to get started? Our clinically proven Time Timer® Original 8" visual timer + Visual Scheduler offers a one-stop solution for implementing a visual schedule at home. This set includes the Time Timer® Original 8" 60-minute visual timer, a set of 36 activity cards, clips to hold activity cards in place, a dry-erase board, and a red dry-erase marker to help you create a visual schedule for your morning routine.  

     

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