Summertime brings about a more relaxed schedule that is filled with fun activities: camp, family vacations, trips to the water park. However, children with sensory processing difficulties or any anxiety tend to prefer a very predictable schedule and may feel uneasy during this time. When there is a change in routine or something new is thrown into the day, that element of predictability disappears, and the child can become anxious, upset and possibly act out as a result. He or she may not know what to expect and how to plan for new sensory experiences. After all, with each new activity comes a plethora of new sensory input such as sound, touch, movement, and sight. A visual calendar that identifies daily and weekly schedule changes can help children with sensory processing difficulties or children who have a hard time transitioning feel more comfortable with their summer routine.
Tips For Using A Visual Calendar Or Schedule With Your Child:
- Use a calendar large enough to write down daily and weekly activities.
- Review the calendar with your child daily so he knows what to expect for the day and for the weeks ahead. For example, “Today we will go to the beach. In 5 days, you will start camp.”
- Cross off the days as they conclude and review what is on the schedule for the next day at bedtime, and again in the morning.
- Be sure to include the first day of school on the calendar to indicate the end of summer.
For children with sensory processing concerns, thinking in the future can be very abstract and overwhelming. The visual calendar will be beneficial to make your child’s day to day and week to week schedule more concrete and help him or her be more organized.