Let me share a little secret – I stink at waiting. I get anxious. I get bored. I fidget. Waiting is hard for me. It’s hard for many of our students. Waiting is a skill that needs to be taught. But we want to ensure that we are teaching waiting and time management in a way that is real world based and functional. No – “waiting just to wait” – there are plenty of opportunities to practice and working on waiting in ways that aren’t contrived. Wait for the bathroom, your turn at a game, or the lunch line. Today I am going to share some of my favorite visual tools to use for working on this skill from my Time Management and Waiting Visuals pack.
Teach the skill.
Show the steps of how to wait. Break it down using simple and straightforward language. Practice, practice, practice!
Give visual transition cues.
Part of the struggle with waiting and transitions is the unknown. Add in visuals cues of when a change will occur or when waiting will be over. Use these mini puzzles or countdown clock to add a concrete and visual component to breaking up chunks of time. For some of our kids, saying “5 more minutes” means the same as saying “5 more hours.” So include a more visual approach here as well.
Give options while waiting.
Remember the last time you were sitting in your car at a really long traffic light or railroad crossing. Once you got bored, what did you do? You probably pulled out your phone and scrolled social media, day dreamed, or looked on the radio for a new song. We rarely sit and wait while doing nothing. Try it. It literally feels weird. So give your students some options of things to do while they wait. I love visual choice boards here and giving students some control in what they do while waiting!