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schedule board - transitionsTransitions, simply put in the preschool world, is moving from one place or activity to another.  Should be easy, right? Well, not so much for many young children.  The importance of learning to go with the program and follow the classroom routine is paramount to your child’s success as your child goes through school.  A child need to be “flexible” and “adaptive” to be ready to listen, learn, and follow the directions of the teacher.

Simple Steps to Keep your Child “On Track”

Personal Schedule
Create a “personal schedule” just for him.  The schedule can have picture cards or photos and be tailored to include his most challenging time of day.  For example, a child that is having trouble getting ready in the morning could have cards that show: brushing teeth, getting dressed, and eating breakfast.   Downloading clip art can make this quick and easy.   You can use a poster board from a craft store for the board.

Vertical or Horizontal
If your child is under age 5, place the pictures in a vertical direction, as it will be easier for their eyes to scan in this direction.  For older children pictures placed horizontally are fine.

Talk to your child before bed about “what will be happening tomorrow”.  Find out what the schedule is at preschool or school so you know what their schedule is like.  Engage him in the conversation and have him place the pictures or cards in order on his schedule board.

Working the Schedule
In the morning, ask him to check his schedule, do his job, re-check the schedule, remove or check off the job,  and move the next job on the chart.  For teachers, placing this schedule on a child’s desk can be done the same way.  Some teachers place these on a ring and hang off the side of the desk for all children in the class.

Children love completing their schedules.  It gives them a feeling of success when they are able to do all the jobs on the schedule.  Satisfaction in completing the schedule provides a natural reward that offers pride and a sense of achievement.  Rewards that boost self-esteem trump tangible prizes any day.

And, if you’re a busy mom or teacher who doesn’t have the time to make the schedule board, you can find these schedule boards pre-made.

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Jane Kaplan Hull, PT MPH, pediatric physical therapist and founder of Good Beginnings in Northern Virginia, has expertise in infant development, early Intervention, autism, gross and fine motor development and sensory integration. She has extensive experience as a guest lecturer for universities, HeadStart, Zero to Three, and for teacher/parent training. She is passionate about empowering families to get their kids on the right track for learning, play and social interaction. Visit Jane at Tips and Toys.