Is change hard for your child? Do they become upset when things within their daily routines change? Do they question you, “When are we going…..”, “Why are we……”, “How much longer….”, etc? With summer approaching we wanted to take this opportunity to share with you a transactional support that may help your family: countdown calendars. Countdown calendars can help you and your child alleviate some of the stress that you may encounter throughout the year. The idea of a countdown calendar is to help your child understand when an event is going to happen. This can be an event that your child is excited about, an event that your child is nervous about, an event that you want your child to experience and more. Here are a few things that our clients have used a Countdown calendar for:
-Holidays (Halloween, Christmas, Hanukah, Thanksgiving, etc.)
-First day of school (of the new school year and during school breaks like Thanksgiving break, Spring Break, summer break, etc.)
-Birthdays (their own, family members’, friends’, etc.)
-Parents that travel
-Out of town guests
-What days they have therapy
-And much more
Here are a few tips when using a countdown calendar:
-Use a paper calendar or a dry erase board calendar.
-Place your calendar where the whole family can see it.
-Try to use a different color to write down the numbers (red, blue, green, etc.). This will help numbers visually will stand out.
-When you first start using a countdown calendar use low numbers to count back from like five and 10. As your child’s understanding of this increases, then you can begin to use higher numbers.
-Instead of numbers, you can also use pictures.
-You can use a pen or marker to cross off the finished days. Your child will love helping with this!
Here are a few examples:
Here is an example of helping a child understand when school starts again from summer break.
Here is an example of helping a child understand when Daddy will return from a work trip:
Here is an example of helping a child understand when it will be Christmas morning:
Here is an example of helping a child understand their family vacation (i.e., when they will ride the airplane, when they will be on a cruise, when they will be home, etc.):
Using a countdown calendar with pictures and/or with words will help your child understand more; therefore, relieving a variety of stresses within their lives and yours. What will you use a countdown calendar for this year?
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