You may recognise this.
The first day of school is looming. Anxiety levels are high, excitement and dread mush into one giant mess and maybe a meltdown (or three).
For my family trying to have everything organised ahead of time is key to school start success.
So, this year me and my mermaid did her routine (as we always do!) together using different media. And I wanted to share it!
I have found that when we work together in this manner, she feels like she has control, she can envision her school days and therefore can also look beyond her school day and the anxiety bombs and see the positives, such as:
- Playing with friends
- After school activities
- Favourite lesson times
- New cool school items & stationery
Tailoring this activity to the child’s needs and abilities is key. It’s important to state that although I believe every child can participate in this type of activity (arts and crafts) to some degree, depending on your child’s diagnoses, you may have to be more involved in the creating or decision-making part. The point in the activity is to help prepare your child for the first day back at school, getting over the threshold so to speak, by taking control of their routine.
Creating the Poster Schedule
Write down a list of everything that SHE/HE says that they need to do on their routine. I usually say things like “Hm, what about making your bed” or “Don’t forget, brushing your hair!” to help prompt her. (I usually write the list but if your child is able, let them write it!)
Essential for this first step is that you are both calm and having a bit of fun while you make a list. My daughter doodled and cut up pieces of paper while we spoke!
Together go and get all the materials you will need. This is our typical type of list:
- A3 sized white card
- A4 sheets of paper
- Colouring in pens/or paint
- Marker pens
- Glue and tape
- Extra: Sometimes we use glitter, pictures, stickers and other items to really brighten up the poster.
Assembling the schedule. This is the therapeutic part. 😊 I like to play some music (unless this over stimulates your child, some calming music may help her/him stay focused) and then we get to cutting up all our pieces.
We have worked out how many things we need to do so we double it and cut out the number of squares we will need. She starts drawing, while I set the clocks! The reason we create the schedule in this manner is that if something becomes ‘hard to do’ or a goal that surpasses her ability then we just take it off or replace it.
Sticking and glueing. All our pieces are done so now we will together arrange them in order. (This is a good exercise as we are practising maths, telling the time and reading).
Let them choose the perfect place to hang their poster schedule, a place where they can easily see it and will feel confident in what they need to do.
The great thing about this schedule is the fact that you customise it for your child’s’everyday needs, but most importantly you can make this a routine with as many or as few points as you feel they can achieve. The schedules purpose is to help guide and prepare, not meant as a list of chores.
Have fun creating!!