Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Counting Down the Days

bedtime routine

Whenever I am away from home, I want to try to create a way for my 5-year-old son who is deafblind to understand when I will return.  This is the latest idea I am trying while I am away at a conference this week.  I wrote out instructions for my husband to follow during the bedtime routine, in the hope that this structured approach will help my son to understand.


  • board for background (This can be cardboard, wood, hard plastic or any firm surface)
  • small "envelopes" or "pockets"  (These can be made of cloth, paper or other materials strong enough to be a pocket.)
  • popsicle sticks (one for each pocket)
  • glue stick
  • print/braille labels



  • Create one pocket for each day you will be gone and place one stick in each pocket.  (I also "traced" the pockets with puffy paint to make the pockets even more distinct.) 
  • Pockets and sticks could be labeled with braille or large print numbers if desired.
The final pocket announces "Mom Home Day"  in Braille (or whatever event you are counting down to).


Countdown chart after completion

  • Allow your child to explore the chart and discuss together.  Make sure to point out the "Mom Home Day".  
  • Show the "pocket" that represents "today".  Take out the stick for "today" and count the remaining days together. 
  • Say, "_____ days until Mom is home"  
  • Create a consistent routine at the same time everyday to discuss the chart.  

Here's what the chart looks like at the end of the countdown on "Mom Home Day": 


Collage for counting down



Posted on March 9, 2015
Updated on: February 7, 2018

Previous comments for Counting Down the Days

Liamsmom commented on March 12, 2015

I have just returned from my trip and the chart totally helped :-) I was excited about that. He had a hard first day after I left. But I think that's a good sign because he recognize that I was going to be gone for a while. Then he was fine. And my husband told me every time he would ask about mommy being home, he would take him over to the chart and they would talk about it.  My husband told me, the night before I got home he was very excited because the next day was "mommy home day". I think that's a huge milestone for him.  I also discussed the chart with him after I was home and told them that it was finished. :)