As a parent, you can create a daily schedule to add structure to your child's day, to help them practice and maintain learned skills, and to help your child anticipate which activities are coming next. For children who are deafblind, schedules can provide important communication opportunities for your child to make choices, request preferred activities, and help keep your child engaged and motivated. Depending on the needs of your child and parent preference and availability, daily schedules can be very structured or loosely structured. Activities for your child's schedule can be selected from the following three categories:
Since your children are not going to school, or participating in sports or community activities, it would be good to include some recreational activities in the daily schedule. Examples of this can include games (if appropriate) such as Jenga, board games, Bingo, playing outside, and coloring. If appropriate, it is best to choose activities like puzzles (eye-hand coordination) that have an element of fine motor skills that your child may be learning in Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Communication.
Many students are receiving resources and support from their schools via distance learning, however, skill building activities can be a part of the daily schedule as well. More importantly, it will ensure that your child does not lose any of the skills that they have been working on such as American Sign Language (ASL), sight words, sorting, and Activities of Daily Living (ADL) like handwashing, putting on a coat, or cleaning up after a meal.
Since most children are cut off from their friends, babysitters, caretakers, teachers, and their extended family members, it would be helpful to include activities such as FaceTime, Zoom calls, or phone calls to continue to support your child's communication and social skills.
Some Helpful Tips for Creating a Schedule
- Keep it simple
- Do not create more work for yourself
- Be flexible in the schedule so that you can provide your child with choices
- Make the schedule less rigid and more fun
- Be creative but keep skill building goals in mind (in most, if not all activities!)
- If possible, find ways to virtually connect with babysitters, helpers, therapists, and teachers.
And above all have fun!