Activity schedules are amazing tools that can benefit a household in many different ways. Activity schedules can:
Teach leisure skills
Teach independent play skills
Decrease unsupervised "free time"
Teach following a schedule
Teach completing routines
Teach choice making
When we first meet a child, we often ask them or their parents what the child likes. Do they have a favorite toy? Can they play? Sometimes parents ask us what they can do to "keep the child engaged”. This can often be solved with an activity schedule.
Challenging behaviors can occur when a child doesn’t know what to expect. This can sometimes occur at home because the home environment does not provide the same level of routine and structure as school and therapy sessions. That’s ok!!! In the current situation, a pandemic, for most families there is more down time and less structure in all of our lives! However, we need to remember, structure is truly something that all children crave. This is because they like to know what to expect.
Implementing a basic activity schedule will help to give your child some of the structure that they (maybe unknowingly) desire. To set up your activity schedule, choose 8 to 15 activities to keep in rotation. You can then set up the schedule to include 3 to 5 activities at a time, rotating the activities to prevent satiation.
When creating an independent play schedule, make sure that the activities that you select are simple. They should be ones that your your child can already complete independently. It is also best to select activities that have a clear beginning and end. This can include things like a puzzle. Once the puzzle is back together, the activity is done and the child can move onto the next activity. Activity schedules aren’t only used for independent play; they can be used for any part of your day to help your child know what to do and what to expect
Check out a few examples! If you need help creating one please email Kstrano@tlcaba.com. I love, love, love activity schedules! There are many free versions of activity schedule templates that can be found online but it may be beneficial to create one that is individualized to your child.