How To Set Expectations With Your Child

Preschoolers in the classroom working together

After sharing articles on how to help your little one manage anxiety on social media, I was asked about what exactly an expectation chart looks like and to explain that further.

If you missed those articles you can get them here:

Part 1: How To Strategically Manage Anxiety

Part 2: Strategies for Managing Anxiety

Let’s keep this simple. It is just like in the adult world. When you expect something out of someone else, the easiest way to accomplish getting those expectations met is by telling them exactly what you want them to do or in other words, what you expect of them. After all, you wouldn’t hire a babysitter or nanny for your child without giving them a list of what you expect to be done in exchange for their pay, would you? It’s the same for your child…

The difference is we are going to make it easier for them and limit it to 2-3 expectations at a time AND put them in pictures.

So what does this look like and when do you use it?

Let’s start with what it looks like. First, make the pictures for whatever your expectations are. My example will be what is expected when attending speech therapy or sitting at circle in school. So I might expect, a quiet body (meaning we keep our body in our space and hands and feet to ourselves) and a quiet mouth.

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 12.02.15 AM


Let’s start here…after these are achieved we can always add more (eyes looking at speaker, ears listening, etc). Those might look something like:

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 12.02.22 AM

After creating your pictures you would cut them out, laminate them and put them on a velcro board (so that you can reuse this for expectations in different activities, allowing you to change them out as needed).

At the start of a given activity you will put the pictures of the “expectations” on the chart with your child so they know what is expected of them. Then place this visual in a place they can see it throughout the activity. This will serve as a reminder to them as to what they need to do without constant verbal reminders from you or the teacher.

Note: You can add more of these over time but start with just 2-3 maximum!

Give this a try and let us know how it goes!
With Love,


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