Mini-Schedules: Church

  • Situation

    Going to church is so stressful. My child is very noisy and fidgety, and keeps asking me when we are leaving. How can I make going to church less stressful for our family and those who sit around us?

  • Summary

    Provide a short picture mini-schedule that shows a few sequences;

    1. sit in pew
    2. sing
    3. pray
    4. play with quiet toy/listen
    5. go for treat

    You can draw the pictures, write the words if your child reads, use pictures from the internet, Boardmaker visuals, or use objects. As you do each activity cross it off so your child can see what is next and when he is finished.

  • Definition

    A mini-schedule is a visual schedule or visual sequencing of events for a short period of time NOT a day schedule. It can be in picture, object, word, or numeral format. A mini-schedule can give a sense of time and when an activity will end. Knowing what and when things happen can prevent many behavioral issues.

  • Quick Facts
    • Child's Age: 3-5, 6-10, 11-13, 14-17, 18+
    • Planning Effort: Moderate
    • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Pre-requisites

    Ability to understand pictures, or words, or objects, or numerals

  • Process
    1. When possible make sure your community outings are not lengthy.

    2. Think exactly what you will be doing – when going to church, think of the usual routine or refer to the bulletin/order of worship to determine a few things you will be doing there (sit in the pew, sing, prayers or readings, listen to speaker/play with quiet toy, go home or go for a treat).

    3. If possible put something preferred for your child at the end of the mini-schedule.

    4. Show your child how to cross off each item as it is completed – or you cross it off.

    5. Try to include items in your mini-schedule that are not likely to change so that you can follow through with the listed schedule.

    6. If your church has a ‘program’ to follow along and your child has high reading skills you can use the ‘program’ as your mini-schedule, writing a preference at the end.

    7. Check out the answer Seat Sheet – Church for additional ideas.

  • Documents and Related Resources

    website for picturecards


    website about using visual schedules


    If you have questions or concerns about the Watson Institute’s use of this information, please contact us.