Kitchen: Visual Routine
How to Use a Visual Routine in the Kitchen
Visual Routines scaffold emerging Executive Skills like time management, organization and follow-through. Strong Visual Routines help model and build these skills for children. Times of chaos or struggle in your day are often a warning sign that a clear routine is needed.
Young children think in pictures, so it’s essential to provide as many visuals as possible to help young children be successful. As children grow up, they learn to read and think with words like adults, however, providing pictures of what to do continues to be helpful! The right hemisphere of the brain is in charge of self-regulation. The right hemisphere also processes information in images, making it important to show children visual images of acceptable behaviors. The more consistent and visually represented your daily routines are, the more likely children are to be successful in meeting your expectations (and the more smoothly and cooperatively your day will run).
The kitchen is a prime place to post daily routines like those for getting out the door and conducting mealtimes. Once you map out your routine, check to make certain it’s reasonable for your child. A routine that is too long, too vague, or too complex will only create frustration. If a routine seems to require a lot of steps, pause to figure out how to break it into two smaller routines. By elementary school, most children can handle routines that have expanded to 5 or 6 steps.
It’s helpful to post Visual Routines for everything from your daily schedule to your bedtime routine, and it’s completely essential to create clear Visual Routines for times/events that regularly create difficulty in your day. State your routines clearly in pictures and words, and post them throughout the home where those routines occur. Implement additional supports as necessary, like the timer Sophie uses to help manage her eating time in the morning. The goal is to scaffold emerging Executive Skills (time management, organization, planning, working memory, etc.) to ensure children’s success!
They say, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” and if you feel like you’ve reminded your child what to do 999 times, then a clear Visual Routine is an essential solution. Refer to the Visual Routine and soon your child will do the same.