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HOW TO USE A VISUAL SCHEDULE for kids: Planning your week just got WAY EASIER! - Tips from a Speech Therapist

toddler toddler ideas Aug 02, 2023

☀️Click here to watch the video☀️

Now that you've watched the video, here are 8 helpful links to all the resources I mentioned in the video:

1. The Weekly Visual Calendar Get 10% off the calendar with code: 10LEARNWITHADRIENNE

(NOTE: I recommend selecting the "Deluxe Version" from the drop-down menu when purchasing so that you also get the card organizer binder included)

2. Weekly Visual Calendar Extension  (this makes the calendar longer so you have more spaces for icons)
Get 10% off the calendar with code: 10LEARNWITHADRIENNE



3. Start learning Sign Language today!
Click here to watch the first sign language lesson in Adrienne's class

Watch the video below of Evey, a 3 Year old student in Adrienne's Sign Language Class who learned to sign her name!

Click here to watch the first sign language lesson in Adrienne's class 


4. Help your toddler learn to talk here: Steps to Help Your Child Learn To Talk Online Class


5. Wall Clock with dry erase surface* 



6. Visual Timer



7. Smoothie Container I love*

 *Amazon Affiliate links



 8. Adrienne's FREE Speech Therapy Printables to Help Your Toddler Talk

☀️How Kids Learn to Talk: Speech Therapy Strategy Icons
☀️Word Milestones from 12-36 months
☀️The Blueprint for Helping Children Learn to Talk
☀️Communication Milestones from birth to 5
☀️ What to Do if Your Child is Falling Behind on Talking

Here's a video explaining how these printables help your child learn to talk:


Enjoy all the resources! 

With Joy,

Adrienne, Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist

Connect with me here: 



Transcript of the Visual Calendar Video

Shop the Calendars: ( Get 10% off the calendar with code: 10LEARNWITHADRIENNE )

I was craving more structure in our weeks and less chaos, as a stay at home mom with my 2 sons who are 20 months apart, so I scoured the internet and found exactly what my brain was needing. I like routines that can put my brain on autopilot, but if my routines aren't visual, I really have trouble remembering to follow them. This weekly visual calendar not only is an amazing addition to our home for my sons, but it also majorly has helped my own brain to plan ahead in an effort to steward our time wisely and intentionally in these little years.


My 2 sons are currently 2.5 and 4.5 years old and they both are LOVING this weekly calendar and daily schedules we got on Etsy and I just have to share about it!! Both boys understood how to read this calendar within one day of introducing it to them.


If you're like me, it can be a struggle to get out the door on time with your kids. Do you wish you could just point to a calendar with picture icons to explain what is going on each day instead of verbally saying the plan or drawing it out on paper?


Whether or not your kids can read yet, if you are looking for a way to let them know what to expect for the week, this visual calendar from Etsy has become a family favorite for us and is displayed right by our kitchen table so that we all can reference it several times a day. Not only does it show each day, but it shows the whole week at a glance.


Time is a really abstract concept for toddlers and young children, this can make it hard for kids to know what to expect in a week. As parents, WE know what is coming up on the calendar, but do our KIDS? One way to reduce anxiety and challenging behaviors in children is by providing a clear roadmap of their day and week. By providing a visual representation of the flow of the day and week, kids feel more secure and have a better understanding of what to expect, which can help minimize anxiety-related meltdowns or difficulty transitioning from one activity to the next. Have you ever seen your kids crumble when something they were looking forward to gets cancelled unexpectedly? This calendar can help when plans change, you can have them physically take off the icon and replace it with the new plan.


In this video, I'll share how we use this calendar, the benefits of using visual calendars from a language development and cognitive perspective, and explain how I use two other visual tools to help the flow of our days as a family. I hope this video is a blessing to you if you are like me and craving structure and simplicity in your weekly scheduling.


Hey, I’m Adrienne, from You want to help your child communicate clearly, listen well, and gain life skills for the future. As a Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist with my Masters Degree in Communication Disorders AND as a mama, I share strategies to help children communicate that are rooted in research, by demonstrating activities that work in our REAL day-to-day life with our REAL kids on an ordinary Tuesday afternoon at home. I believe that your thoughts matter and your child's thoughts matter.


This schedule is designed and made by Wendy on Etsy. She is amazing, so creative and kind! I'll link her Etsy storefront below as well as the calendar that we have, so you can find the exact products I have and also browse her other options in her Etsy shop...she has so many helpful products in her shop! This is the Weekly Visual Calendar (with the extension below).


It has been so fun for me to plan our days, especially in the summer when each day looks a bit different, it is easy to change out the icons each day. I put our general plan on the calendar for the week, and then, the night before, I add more detail to the upcoming day to include things like getting in the car, nap time, lunch time, etc. We can look at the calendar before bed so that they can rest well knowing what to expect the next day. It really has helped my sons with transitioning from activity to activity and understanding what to expect! Every morning at breakfast, I put the gold sparkly star on the table where my 4 year old sits. He is the first one to come downstairs and join my husband and I in the morning, so he loves getting to put the star on the correct day (this is helping with sound and letter recognition...because we say, "today is Friday, look for the date that starts with the "f" sound"...and he can do it!). Then we look at the weather. We have the binder that Wendy sells and it has so many choices and I love how organized it is.


I overheard my 2 year old standing at the calendar pointing to the pictures with his fingers talking to himself and saying: "Yesterday we went to the farmer's market and played in the creek, and today we are going to go to church." (that's a 21-word sentence from a 2.5 year old! Pretty cool that he is reminiscing about yesterday and looking forward to what will happen today). 


Real quick, I wanted to introduce myself, I’m Adrienne, I’m a pediatric speech language pathologist and my passion is to help children learn to talk…to go from not saying any words to starting to babble to starting to imitate you saying words and then talking in phrases, sentences and then having conversations with you. It's my favorite thing ever to intentionally support that progression of language development and explosions that can happen. It is like planting seeds of words every day with your young child and then watering them…when they start talking and putting together their own thoughts into words, it is incredible to hear what is on their mind!


And so I want to equip you as parents or caregivers of toddlers and small children to understand how to help your children talk clearly listen well and gain life skills for their entire future. Skillful Communication is important for family life, friendships, and relationships and it is THE top skill that employers are looking for.


Communication is a two way street. 


And so by setting our children up with a solid communication Foundation, from the start, you're really setting them up with a solid foundation of communication for their entire life. If your child isn't talking yet, and you're concerned, I have a resource that I highly recommend for you. My online class takes you step by step from no words to babbling to talking in phrases, sentences, and then conversations with you. So that's all at the online classes helped THOUSANDS of people around the world help their toddler learn how to talk. 


So if you like learning from me in this video and the other videos on my channel, I think you would really benefit from this class. So whether you're wanting to be proactive, and you have a tiny baby and you want to know what kind of language development skills your child will be learning and how to best support them in that. or if your child you feel like they're falling behind and they're frustrated, and they're not talking yet and you're worried and concerned and you're trying to get in to see a speech therapist, but there's a long waiting list… My class is here for you to guide you step by step through the babbling and imitating words to sentences to conversations and that just beautiful conversation with your child is so connecting and bonding that I want that for every parent. I also teach an American Sign Language Class for beginners where you learn the 300 most used sign language words in 30 days.


Alright, let’s chat more about the brain development and language development benefits for your child when you use a visual calendar.


There is a settled feeling you get when you know what to expect and what is coming up next and I love that my children are able to use this calendar to expand their language and memory skills in a practical and fun way. You could even use the calendar at the end of the week (maybe every Sunday night at dinner?) to look back on the previous week and reflect on the highs and lows of the week. This is great for strengthening your family culture by reminiscing together, it is great for modeling storytelling skills, and also for moving memories from short term memory to longer term memory through repetition.


We haven't quite decided what we are going to do for schooling in the future, but this would work well for school or homeschooling. It would be great for toddlers who can't read AND older kids who can read, and all stages in between.


Ok, now I am just going to rave about all the reasons why I love this particular calendar and the binder with all the icons. Rewinding to about 2 years ago, it was wintertime and I felt like each day was just a blur of chaos, so I was craving structure. went around our house and took pictures and printed them out and put together a visual picture schedule for our daily routine and taped it up in our playroom to reference throughout the day. But our rhythms have changed big time and I was searching for a visual way to represent our week. I tried drawing pictures each day on a little dry erase board we hung up in our kitchen, but some days were very much the same as other days but not quite exactly, so I found myself needing to redraw things over and over. I wanted something with more structure.


I looked high and low on Etsy for a visual calendar and this calendar designed by Wendy was my absolute favorite for several reasons:


1. I LOVE that this can grow with them as they age into new and different activities, for example, we recently started Taekwondo and will be doing swim lessons this week, and maybe a music class next year, and there are icons for all of those activities! It can be used in many seasons of life (school, summer, winter break, etc).


2. I love the fact that it allows children to help in the planning process, providing daily opportunities for language development, eye contact, connection, planning skills, and gives children a sense of control and understanding about the flow of the day, instead of things just randomly happening and not really knowing what to expect next. 


3. I love that it is already assembled and ready to go. Most of the other options I have found are simply the digital download and then you, the parent has to do ALL the assembly. This is such a time saver for busy parents!


4. I think it is amazing that the illustrations are 100% hand-drawn by Wendy! As a visual learner, I am impressed by how visual everything is and the fact that everything is hand-drawn by Wendy makes it even more incredible. The cards included in the binder are so comprehensive that it already has almost every icon you could imagine, and it even comes with some blank cards that you can write or draw on, but if you find yourself needing a specific icon or something customized for your family, Wendy even has an offering on Etsy where she can also hand-draw icons for you to customize them for your family's needs.


You'll notice that in my video, there are some of the calendar squares photos. Since I have a laminator at home, I decided to print out a few pictures of people in our family, pictures of places we regularly go, our breakfast food weekly rotation, and items we use throughout the week and I laminated them myself just for fun to add to Wendy's calendar so the boys could see actual pictures of their grandparents, our church, and a few of our favorite playgrounds, etc. But that isn't necessary to do at all, just something I enjoyed being creative with since we look at our calendar multiple times a day, like I said, Wendy is available to make custom drawn icons for you if you need!


Love that a babysitter can follow plan


Spot for the weather, repeating icons for repeating events. I really like that my sons are starting to understand the concept of the work week and the weekend. They can see what days Dada goes in to work. Before having this calendar, they would ask, "Is Dada going to be home today?" and I would say, well, today is Tuesday, so we have Wed, Thurs, Friday and then on SATURDAY, he will be home all day with us. That is a lot of ambiguous words that don't mean much to a toddler...but with this visual schedule, it is so easy for them to grasp. They look at the gold star and can count how many days until the weekend or count the days until something they are looking forward to, like a birthday, playdate, holiday, or swim lessons.


I got the week extender because I like to be able to add more of a detailed routine for the day onto the calendar. There also are the Morning Afternoon Evening routine pages that you can get. I think those will come in handy when the boys are more school aged and our schedule is more consistent from day to day. For now, I treat the Weekly calendar as our hub for the boys' schedule and I keep things on the Morning Afternoon Evening routine pages velcroed there for easy access to add to our weekly calendar.


You can also get the binder that holds all the icons, which i highly keeps everything neat and tidy and in categories, and I can just pull it out and flip through easily to find exactly what I need. I can't imagine not having this binder, and just having all the icons in a bag, It would take a lot longer to find every icon you need. So fun and what a great way to visualize the week!


Finally, I want to share two more tools we use throughout the day:

This Clock that has a surface that can be used with a dry erase marker and a Visual Timer


See this clock? It's not just any clock; it's a dry-erase clock. It isn't marketed as dry-erase, but I originally bought it on Amazon just to have a simple clock in our kitchen. When I opened it up, I noticed the texture of the surface seemed exactly like a dry erase board, so I decided to test it out and it works super well with dry erase markers! On this clock, I created a visual representation of our daily rhythm, making it so much easier for my sons to understand what's happening throughout the day. I put 'Snack Time' at 9:30 AM, 'Nap Time/Quiet time' at 12-2 PM, and 'Dada' at 4:15 PM. You could even draw little pictures like I did with the crib to show naptime. You could draw a plate and fork for dinner time, etc. When my kids ask me for a snack at a random time, I tell them to look at the clock and see if it is time yet. Usually it 4 year old has gotten so used to the schedule of having a morning snack at 9:30, that even when we are out and about somewhere, like when we had VBS this summer, he came up to me and told me he was hungry during VBS and I looked down at my watch and it was 9:31. Haha!


We use this visual timer when we are transitioning between activities: We sometimes use this visual timer to help our boys know when it's time to transition from one activity to another, like when it's time to clean up toys, move to mealtime, or get ready for bed. This is helpful for teaching patience and waiting: If it isn't quite time for dinner yet, but it's almost ready, setting this timer can provide a visual for how much longer until it is ready. You could use this during potty training, setting the timer as a reminder for regular potty breaks can help your toddler get used to the routine. It is also helpful for quiet time or nap time: Use the visual timer to indicate how long your toddler needs to stay in their room for quiet time or when it's time to nap. The only drawback with this one is that it is only one hour maximum, so if you need it for a longer time period, that wouldn't work. It has a toggle switch on the back where you can turn on and off the alarm sound.


I have written a blog post with all the links to everything I mentioned in this video so you can find everything easily to see if any of the tools I talked about would help bless your family and encourage a smoother flow for your daily routines and rhythms. You can find that in the link in the description below this video!


Benefits of using a visual calendar: 

Using a visual weekly schedule with icons or pictures to represent daily activities for toddlers and young children offers several benefits:

  1. Enhanced Understanding: Visual schedules help children understand their daily routines and expectations. The use of icons or pictures provides a clear visual representation of each activity, making it easier for children to comprehend and follow along.

  2. Improved Transitions: Visual schedules assist in smooth transitions between activities. By visually seeing what comes next, children can mentally prepare themselves for the upcoming change, reducing anxiety and resistance.

  3. Language Development: Visual schedules promote language development by associating words with corresponding images. As children observe and discuss the pictures on the schedule, they learn new vocabulary and improve their language comprehension skills.

  4. Independence and Autonomy: Visual schedules empower children to take ownership of their daily routines. They can refer to the schedule independently, gaining a sense of control and responsibility as they move through each activity.

  5. Structure and Consistency: Visual schedules provide a structured framework for children's daily lives. Consistency and predictability are crucial for young children, as they thrive in environments that offer a sense of order. Visual schedules help establish a consistent routine, providing a sense of security and stability.

  6. Time Management Skills: Visual schedules introduce the concept of time and sequencing to children. By visually representing the order of activities, children learn to gauge the passage of time and develop a basic understanding of scheduling and prioritization.

  7. Improved Focus and Task Completion: Visual schedules assist children in staying focused on the task at hand. By breaking down activities into manageable steps and displaying them visually, children are more likely to complete tasks without getting overwhelmed or distracted.

  8. Visual Reinforcement: Visual schedules serve as a visual reminder of expectations and tasks, reinforcing the information through repeated exposure. This visual reinforcement helps children remember and internalize their daily routines.

  9. Flexibility and Adaptability: Visual schedules can be easily customized to accommodate changes in routines or unexpected events. This flexibility allows us to adapt the schedule as needed while still providing a visual guide for children.

To sum it all up, visual weekly schedules with icons or pictures benefit toddlers and young children by improving their understanding, promoting language development, fostering independence, providing structure and consistency, developing time management skills, enhancing focus, reinforcing expectations, reducing anxiety, and allowing for flexibility in daily routines.


Did you download your Milestones Checklist for your toddler yet?

Are you worried your child is falling behind in talking skills?

These free checklists will help track your
child's development in the areas of talking + social skills.
And if your child is a bit behind, the lists give you action steps to catch them up!

Send me the free printable checklists!