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Structure is often a necessary security blanket for small children. Knowing what will happen and when helps them feel secure and relieves anxiety. Daily predictable routines can eliminate a lot of unnecessary stress on parents and children. The added benefit is language and concept development that can come from reviewing the expected routines of the day, before and after they occur. A camera is invaluable, especially a Polaroid type. Since the picture develops instantly, it is easier to attach language and meaning to it as the experience is fresh. Take snapshots of everyone and everything in your child’s daily routine.
ACTIVITY POSTERS are fun and educational. Hang a large poster board or pocket chart on a bedroom or kitchen wall with times beside appropriate clock faces. Take a picture of various activities and place them next to the time they will occur. Include the normal daily activities such as waking up, getting up, dressing, eating breakfast, grooming, play time, TV (time of favorite programs), going to school, store, grandma’s house, church, nap time, eating lunch, changing diapers, potty time, dad, mom, brothers or sisters coming home from school or work, eating dinner, bed time, and so forth. Start simple with a few favorite activities that your child looks forward to, then as his interest and maturity grow, add more and more pictures. When leaving for the day, put the pictures in a folder with Velcro or Sticky Tak and let him take it with him to refer to and show others during his day. Sign with him the expected activity and time, using the Activity poster, the large calendar, as well as your wrist watch. As an added benefit, it gives others more opportunity to sign with him and reinforce the concepts you are teaching. The challenges of potty training or leaving your child at school or a baby-sitter’s might all be a little easier using the chart, the pictures, and the child’s growing concept of time.
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