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Family Routines: Our Visual Schedule

Over the years we have rotated through mulultiple family schedules and routines.

So much depends on the age of our children, who's working outside of the home versus at home, if the children are attending school or homeschooling, and how many extra curricular activities the kids are involved with.

We keep our ultimate goals and desires front and center in our family routines.  

The heart of our plan is our visual schedule that hangs on the wall in our front entryway, 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 many for a single day.)

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 still in residential treatment in the state of Virginia. We practiced creating her visual schedule each day while she was gone, as if she were home.

When she did return home, even for a short while, 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 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 

On March 10, 2021 we will be releasing our NEW Ultimate Visual Schedule Bundle.  This bundle will include the Family Visual Schedule Printable Pack that includes all of the cards you will need and want for your schedule.


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 turn 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.

Our Current Family Routines and Schedules

Since Sunshine has returned to residential treatment, there are only five of us in the home.  The five of us have worked hard to create a schedule that works for us in our current circumstances.

Here's what it looks like:
Our Current Family Schedule and Routines

From left to right you can see Dad's, Mom's, Dinomite's, Bulldozer's, and Princess' schedules and routines for the day.

Some days most everyone's schedules look the same. Other days they look completely different.  It just depends on what's going on.

The kids' schedules and routines during the school week are pretty much the same as what's shown on the schedule above, give or take a few morning appointments.

If you're looking for a way to put together a Family Visual Schedule to help with family routines, stay tuned for the release of the NEW Ultimate Visual Schedule Bundle.  It will debuy on March 10, 2021!!!

Meanwhile feel free to grab all of the supplies you need, so you're ready to go when the product launches. 

We have used this visual schedule set up for years and can't recommend it enough!


Family Routines: Our Visual Schedule

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