We live in a world where immediate gratification is the goal. Yet, learning skills takes time for parents, teachers and young children. Good News: in the long run, these skills will end up saving massive amounts of time and energy which is valuable beyond measure. When children learn to follow directions, understand what they are expected to do and are rewarded for making positive choices, those skills follow them through school and life.
Sometimes when adults implement something new such as a visual schedule, children might increase challenging behavior or seem uncomfortable. That is totally normal response to something new. If your typically grumpy and angry co-worker shows up with flowers and gives you a great big hug one morning, you might respond with hesitation and discomfort. Great! That means new paths are being created. Hang in there!
If there continues to be a struggle:
- Simplify: Sometimes, even older children might need just 2 tasks to complete at a time. You can always add more.
- Clarify: Are there cards/tasks that your child does not understand? Is your idea of clean different than the child’s? If so, make it as clear as possible. Take the challenging task and practice with the child together.
- Connect: Make the schedule a relationship-building tool. Do the tasks together the first few times. “The schedule says it’s clean-up time. I’ll put away one block and you can put away two.”
- Reinforce: Add positive reinforcement as much as possible. Hugs and high fives can go a long way. Or tell other adults about your child’s successes in front of your child. “You wouldn’t believe how amazing Lauren has been today. She is following our new schedule. It has been a wonderful morning!”