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Family Routines: Our Visual Schedule

Over the years we have rotated through multiple family schedules and routines to meet the needs of everyone in our family.

Our family routines are organized on our visual schedule that hangs on the wall in our front entryway. 

It is changed out every day to reflect the schedule and routines of everyone in the house.

Family Routines: Our Visual Schedule


Our Visual Schedule


Each person receives their own column of the visual schedule.  There are ten events throughout the day.  (More than ten always ends up being too overwhelming.)

Columns go from left to right, oldest to youngest, starting with my husband, all the way down to Sunshine.

The visual schedule shown in the picture is one from when Sunshine was in her first residential placement. During therapies and chats we would discuss what she would be doing if she were here.

When she did return home, Sunshine LOVED this visual schedule.  

ALL of us love this visual schedule.  There's just something about it that is so comforting.

It makes such a difference throughout the day to know what comes next, but to also know what's going on with everyone else in the house. 

For my husband and I, it's a great way to remember who's doing what when, and who's responsible for appointments and extra curricular activities.

You'll note that the schedule does not include time or clocks of any kind.  We've found that putting times in our schedule just adds to more stress, anxiety and meltdowns.

The kids know the time schedule for the day, but they also know that flexibility in those times is important.

What I love most about the schedule is that I can change it daily to reflect whatever is going on.  It doesn't always stay the same, especially on the weekends.  

If there is an emergency or a chance for spontaneous fun or service, we can change up the rest of the schedule right away without too much work so everyone knows what is happening.

The ability to change the schedule daily, and when things come up, has helped the kids learn flexibility.

Now that we've been using the schedule for almost a year now, my kids can build their own schedule for the day which is so awesome!


What You Need to Create Your Own Family Visual Schedule


We have tried many different display options for our schedule, but the one we're showing you in this post always works best and is most durable.


What You Need to Make a Family Visual Schedule Like Ours


Here's what you need to create one yourself:


Pocket Chart 

I specifically chose the one I did because of the option to use ten spaces, with room enough for six people.  You can choose whichever style and size you want.  Just make sure the pocket chart fits 3x3" cards without overlapping.


Packaging Tape 

It's inevitable that the weight of the cards will cause the pockets to stretch out. We use the packaging tape to create pockets in the chart so cards don't fall out and lay flat.  Tape is placed in between each column of cards.


Screws or Nails 

Due to the weight of the pocket chart when filled, you'll want to use screws or nails to attach it to the wall.  We personally prefer screws so when pulled on, the pocket chart doesn't come out of the wall.


Screwdriver or Hammer

You will need one of these basic tools depending on if you use screws or nails to attach the pocket chart to the wall.


Family Visual Schedule Printable Pack 

This product has not been released yet. 

It is our goal to release it as quickly as possible. If you are interested in the printable pack, be sure to send us a comment or message to push us along. 

If there are specific cards you're looking for, be sure to leave those in a comment and message to we can include them.


Cardstock 

We always use cardstock to print our visual schedule pictures. Cardstock improves durability which is important when cards are handled daily.


Printer and Ink

Many people wonder what we use to print all of the printables we create.  Our secret is using a cheap portable photo printer.  It can handle the cardstock without issues. The ink is very inexpensive. It has lasted longer than any other printer we've ever had, even professional grade ones.


Scissors or Paper Cutter

You'll be cutting out a lot of cards, so be sure to choose scissors that are comfortable or invest in a paper cutter to make the job easier!


Laminator

To increase durability and to ensure that we can use our printables over and over again, including our visual schedule cards, we laminate everything.  Just like our printer, we don't use anything fancy.  This laminator is great at getting the job done!


Laminating Pouches

If you choose to use a laminator, you'll need laminating pouches. These are our favorites! 


How to Store All of the Visual Schedule Cards


It's one thing to create an awesome visual schedule for family routines, but then comes the reality of figuring out how to store all of the visual schedule cards. 

The task can feel completely overwhelming, especially if you use as many cards as we do.


Here's our solution:

Visual Schedule Card Storage

This is our handy dandy Note Card Holder

We absolutely love all the room it has to store all of our cards.  We divide visual schedule cards into three sections:
  • Daily Schedule
  • Eating Out
  • Out of Home Activities and Events
Each section is organized in alphabetical order so it's super easy to find the cards we need each day.

Visual Schedule Card Storage and Organization

The kids take turns returning the cards to their place when we're finished using them.  

I can't stress enough how much everyone in our household loves our visual schedule. It helps to organize family routines and schedules so much!

Everyone loves that they have a column just for themselves, but they can also see what's going on with everyone else.  

All images are true to life, not drawings, cartoons, or PECS, which we feel is really important for all in the house diagnosed as autistic.

Breaking Down Routines and Schedules


You'll notice on our family visual schedule that there are cards that say:
  • Morning routine
  • Bedtime routine
  • Chores
  • Play outside

Our kids know what each of these cards mean because we have separate portable visual schedules that break down these parts of their day down into smaller more manageable parts.

These visual schedules are the size of a regular piece of letter paper and include true to life images that are 2x2 inches in size. There are multiple templates to choose from to meet your child's needs.

My kids love that not only do they have a family visual schedule that shows an overview of their day, they also have individual visual schedules and supports to help them through each card on the visual schedule.

Three of our individual visual schedule and supports printable packs are now available for purchase.

Be sure to grab yours today, while you wait for the Family Visual Schedule to be released. These printable packs are a great way to start your journey with visual supports.

Morning and Bedtime Routine Visual Schedules and Supports


Chores and Practical Life Visual Schedules and Supports for Kids


Outdoor Visual Schedules and Supports for Kids



We have used all of these visual schedules and supports for kids in our home with huge success. Stay tuned for more details about the Family Visual Schedule and other visual schedules and supports printable packs coming soon!

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the resources below.
Free Christmas Shopping Planner Free Christmas Visual Schedule for Kids Special Needs Event Planner Trick-or-treating social story

Family Routines: Our Visual Schedule

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