Free Visual Schedule for Kids

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Have you ever used a visual schedule for kids? Ideal for ages 2-12, visual schedules can bring security to a child’s day and help the adult organize and create a routine for their classroom, or home.

Although visual schedules are typically thought of as a benefit for kids, adults can benefit from them too! It’s a great way to have children stop pestering you with questions about their day. Creating a structured and predictable environment for children can be essential for their growth and development. One of the most effective tools for achieving this is a visual schedule. As you read we will dive into the benefits of a visual schedule, how to start using one, and provide a free visual schedule for kids that you can download and use right away!

visual schedule for kids

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10 Benefits of a Visual Schedule

There are so many benefits of a visual routine or schedule for kids. Here are a few of the top benefits.

  • Provides a clear external structure for the school day
  • Psychologically calming for children
  • Provides safety and predictability
  • Supports literacy development
  • Reinforces verbal instruction
  • Teaches sequencing
  • Eases transitions
  • Reduces anxiety (for parents/teachers too!)
  • Provides independence
  • Allows for change to be introduced easily

Visual schedules can be extremely helpful for children with disabilities, but any child can benefit from a visual schedule structure. Each card has a visual picture and simple wording that emphasizes what the child needs to work on or do next.

However, homeschool mama, I want to emphasize something to you. You are not married to any of the homeschool decisions and routines that you start at the beginning of a school year. If a visual schedule does not seem to work for your family, or it becomes a burden, then change it! Junk it! If you need to pivot, then do so. Remember, you are in charge.

Enhances Understanding and Predictability

Visual schedules use visual cues and picture symbols to represent daily routines and tasks. This helps children, especially visual learners, understand and predict what will happen next, reducing anxiety and providing a sense of safety and security.

Supports Special Needs

For children with special needs, including those in special education, a visual schedule can be a critical tool. It helps them follow a sequence of events and provides additional functional support to complete tasks independently. Occupational therapy professionals often recommend visual schedules for these reasons.

Facilitates Routine and Independence

A visual daily schedule helps children manage their day by breaking it into manageable segments. This not only makes daily tasks more approachable but also fosters independence as children learn to follow the schedule without constant adult intervention.

Encourages Time Management

Using a visual schedule can teach children important time management skills. Honestly, this benefit is my favorite for my oldest. He seems to thrive when he understands his time boundaries. When he doesn’t it leads to more undesired reactions.

By following a structured routine, kids will learn to allocate appropriate time for each activity, whether it’s morning routines, social studies, or personal hygiene.

Promotes Communication and Social Skills

For young students and those with communication challenges, visual schedules provide a non-verbal way to understand and communicate daily activities. This can be particularly beneficial for field trips, social-emotional learning, and other social activities.

Boosts Academic Performance

In a classroom setting, visual schedules help students stay focused and on task. The cards can provide a clear outline of the day’s lessons and activities, making transitions smoother and reducing downtime. This is especially useful for primary classroom and middle school settings.

How to Start Using a Visual Schedule

When you first start using a visual schedule for kids, you will notice some ‘growing pains’. These are great for everyday use, but you’ll need to take time to adjust to the new visual aids. You might still get peppered with questions about your day, but remember to physically take them back to your visual schedule and show them where they are in the day. Show them what has happened in the past, and then look down the list and see what is upcoming. This sequencing help with reinforcing how to do this themselves.

Remember questions are not bad, but if you don’t want to be consistently asked about your school/homeschool schedule, then start bringing them back to the visual schedule to reinforce how you want them to process it.

Here are a few other tips.

  • Make sure your master schedule is in a central location.
  • If your schedule changes daily, make sure you are changing it at the same time each day.
  • Review changes that happen throughout the day with your child(ren).
  • Assist and support your children when they need help to grow accustomed to the visual schedule.
  • Avoid using too many words when referencing the schedule
  • Be consistent in your use of the schedule.
  • Allow your child to help change the schedule or manipulate it when your day changes.

Kids Daily Schedule

There are three categories that these cards cover:

  1. Daily tasks like getting ready for the day or eating meals.
  2. School subjects like geography, history, reading & writing, and math.
  3. And family activities like going to Grandma’s house, field trips, errands, and outings.

Creating a detailed daily schedule for kids helps them organize their day effectively. Here’s a sample daily schedule that you can customize to fit your child’s needs. This is just to get some ideas going!

Morning Routine

  1. Wake Up: Use picture symbols for waking up.
  2. Brush Teeth: Include visual cues for personal hygiene.
  3. Breakfast: A picture of breakfast items.
  4. Get Dressed: Visual supports for choosing clothes.
  5. School Prep: Icons for packing a backpack and putting on shoes.

School Activities

  1. Morning Circle: Visual schedule cards for the morning meeting.
  2. Math: Picture cards for math activities.
  3. Reading: Icons representing books and reading time.
  4. Recess: Outdoor play visual cues.
  5. Lunch: Picture symbols for lunchtime.

Afternoon Routine

  1. Art and Crafts: Visual arts icons.
  2. Science: Picture cards for science activities.
  3. Social Studies: Visual supports for learning about Native Americans and other topics.
  4. Free Play: Icons for free playtime.
  5. Homework: Visual cues for homework time.

Evening Routine

  1. Dinner: Picture symbols for dinner.
  2. Bath Time: Visual supports for taking a bath.
  3. Story Time: Icons representing bedtime stories.
  4. Bedtime: Visual cues for going to bed.

Free Visual Schedule for Kids

There is so much you can do with a visual schedule cards. You don’t necessarily have to hang them up. You could also place them in a pile and review them at breakfast time, or use them throughout the day to indicate what is next. I do find that allowing the child(ren) to see them throughout the day, is most effective for us.

We like to hang ours with velcro, but you could also get pocket charts like this one, that you can hang over a door or in your school area.

When you print out your visual schedule cards, I recommend using the highest printing settings to ensure that you get the best results. We also like to laminate ours because it keeps them nice for much longer. This also ensures that we can use Velcro with our cards.

In the free visual schedule PDF, you will get 20 cards that are ideal for ages 2-12.

Ready for the free download? This is must-have resource for little learners in a busy home, or at least I think it is! The links below will take you to my Gumroad shop which will have the free or upgraded version for the schedule/routine cards. However, if you are interested in getting more kids’ printables, check this out.

Want more? I have 76 (and counting) visual schedule cards available on Etsy and my Gumroad shop. These cards are added to and once you purchase you get any updates for free!

19 pages of cards (PDF) + Canva blank template + 1 folder of JPGS

The upgrade download includes blank cards and editable schedule cards from Canva.

Implementing a visual schedule can significantly benefit your child by providing structure, enhancing communication, and fostering independence. Whether you’re a parent, teacher, or caregiver, a visual schedule is a valuable tool that supports the unique needs of children, especially those in special education. These free resources like our visual schedule cards are a great way to start implementing a visual schedule!

For more great visual schedules and additional resources, keep an eye on our blog posts. And don’t forget to check out the free visual schedule cards, free printable visual schedules, and other helpful tools we’ve mentioned. Happy scheduling!

Don’t forget to Pin for Later!

Visual schedule cards

Find other Preschool and Early Child Development Printables and Resources below!

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