Make transitions easier for you and your child (Using Schedule boards)
A mother recently came to me with a dilemma. She had just started a new job, which meant she had to leave her house before her four year old son went to pre-school. She relayed to me her situation.
“ My son is having a difficult time with my leaving, all of a sudden he doesn’t want me to go” She was clearly upset “He hangs on to my legs and cries “mommy ,don’t leave, please don’t go.”
I asked her to explain what she does when this happens and she went on to say “ I don’t know what to do! I kneel down and pick him up, I tell him mommy is sorry she has to leave, I try to calm him down. Then I have to go, he is upset, I am upset, Sybil I feel so guilty! What can I do?”
First let me say that it is always difficult for us as parents to see our children upset. We naturally want to comfort them (as well we should) what we have to look at is why this new behavior started and if what we mean as comfort is doing more harm than good. Young children have a tendency to look to us to see how they should feel, if you doupt this think of the last time your little one took a spill and landed on their bottom.., they look at you as if to say am I hurt? If your reaction is large “ Oh my gosh honey” and you look horrified what do they do? Right they start to cry. However if you make light of it “opps! Your okay, up you go” They are more likely to get up and go back to playing. (It goes without saying to use your instincts here, if it was a large fall, or you think they could be badly hurt)
THE SCHEDULE BOARD
Let’s talk about a wonderful tool that will help with the situation that this mother is in now and can be a wonderful addition to a morning routine. We as adults use schedules all the time to organize our time and thoughts. We find it easier to plan our day, get through situations that may be uncomfortable by looking to an activity later that will be more enjoyable , and alleviate stress by not having to keep it all start in our head. It works the same way for our children, using a schedule board is an easy way to help your child plan their day one activity at a time.
For the board we are going to talk about we will use the situation we have been discussing. For this particular situation we will start and end our day with an activity that involves Mom. It can be something simple, something that is already in your day or can easily be added. Some examples are; having breakfast with mom, getting dressed with mom, reading a book with Mom, you get the idea. The end of you day will look similar; bedtime story with Mom, play game with Mom etc.
Okay Now that we have some guidelines let’s look at the schedule itself. How do you start? Well first let’s say that your child does not need to be able to read. Written words can be used as an adjunct, they are also helpful for consistency between “schedule makers” this way everyone know what each picture represents. Next remember KEEP IT SIMPLE.! KEEP IT SIMPLE! KEEPIT SIMPLE! Oh and did I mention to keep it simple? This is the most point in making a good schedule board that is going to be used on a daily basis (and if it is going to be successful tool for your household). You want it to be quick easy to use and most importantly child friendly.
NUTS AND BOLTS
Gather your materials:
Sheet of poster board (you will cut this to make the board itself)
1 package of Self stick Velcro (Available at any office supply store)
Pictures of yourself, your family, and typical places and people in your children’s day (use your camera take pictures as you go. Also picture of your car, work, and child’s school the store, the TV. Dining room etc. use your imagination)
Small zip lock bag to hold all your pieces
Package of self adhesive laminate sheets.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Okay so now you have taken your picture uploaded them to your computer. I suggest that you print them nice and small. Wallets are a bit big but probably the easiest to use with regular software.
Print out the pictures that are going to use for your schedule. As you look at each picture pick a SHORT caption to go at the bottom of each one.
EX. Reading with MOM,
Mom Goes Work,
(Childs Name) Goes to pre-school,
(Child) is home from school,
Mom comes home
And so forth
Print out your captions and using your glue stick adhere them to the bottom of the corresponding picture.
Once this is done get out your laminate sheets and removing backing (be careful and take your time, if you haven’t worked with laminate it can be tricky! Place the piece sticky side up on a flat surface. Now carefully place your pictures one at a time, picture side down on the sheet until it is full taking care not to overlap pictures.
Take your next laminate sheet and begin to peel away backing, carefully rollout laminate sheet to cover the back sandwiching your pictures between. Repeat this process for all your schedule pieces.
CONGRATULATIONSYOU HAVE FINISHED THE MOST DIFFICULT PART! Now it is time to cut out each piece, cut your Velcro and finish up the actual board. Okay grab your poster board and decide where you want the schedules home to be. It needs to be easily accessible to you and your child so it can be referred to whenever needed. My favorite place is the fridge. It’s easy, central and you can use magnets to hold your board on it.
Decide how many pieces you want for your child’s day, again keep it simple as possible but gear it to you child’s needs. I have prepared a shortened example below:
MARK’S DAILY SCHEDULE
MOM HELPS ME GET
READY FOR SCHOOL
MOM GOES TO WORK
I GOTO SCHOOL
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Now that you have an Idea how you want your board to look. Cut the poster board to into a strip to the length you will need.
Next cut both sides of your Velcro into pieces (you will need a soft and a rough piece for each schedule piece)
Match your Velcro pieces together so they interlock keeping the peel and stick backing on each pair until you are ready for it.
They best way to have each piece end up exactly where you want it is as follows.., choose your first schedule piece, turn it over and peel off the backing of the rough half of the Velcro pair adhering it to the middle back of the schedule piece. Once adhered peel the remaining backing place on your board. Repeat this step for the remaining schedule pieces until all are in place.
The only thing that remains is posting your child’s new schedule on the wall or fridge. I think you will find your son/daughter will greatly enjoy using his/her new schedule!