Visual Supports: Calendars

A calendar is a good way to help your child understand what is happening on a larger scale than a daily schedule. A calendar can tell a child which days are school days and which days are not. It can also inform a child when an unusual event will take place such as going to the doctor on Thursday or to the mall on Saturday.

Unusual events which interrupt the regular routine can confuse children, resulting in behavior problems. Calendars allow you to present these changes in a clear, simple way well in advance using a picture symbol. Because the information is there on the calendar the child can refer back to it as often as they need to. Whenever there are going to be such changes it is important that your child physically take part in changing the calendar. For example, if your child usually has swimming lessons on Thursdays but this Thursday she has a doctor’s appointment, she should be the person who removes the swimming picture from the calendar and replaces it with the doctor.

A calendar can also be used to show:

  • When someone is coming to stay for a visit
  • When the family will be taking a trip
  • When your child might be staying at another house
  • Doctor or dentist appointments
  • When the babysitter is coming

The calendar should be kept simple and be geared toward the child. Put only what is important for the child on her calendar.