There is no question that children bring a lot of joy into your life. However, typically, they experience greater success when they have a regular daily routine – which comes as a time consuming and tidious ordeal to parents. With age, particularly, the number of activities they become involved in increases. Which is why you may need to prepare a family schedule that accommodates and coordinates everyones schedule.
Here are a few tips for creating a schedule for your kids.
Work as a Family
You will have less resistance to your schedule and routine if you get your kids involved in the process. Gather as a family and discussing schedules, priorities and activities can be helpful.Ask your childrens preferences on what activities they want to participate in. You mayneed to make it clear that some tasks are not negotiable, such as homework, chores, family dinners, etc.
Listening to them with an open mind is a cruicial part of making it work – it may even surprise you by the amount of time they want to spend as a family. You may not feel as if their activities should be a priority or are important, but they are important to your child. For example, you may not think that playing with their best friends should be scheduled every Tuesday, and you may not always be able to accommodate this request, but being open to working with your kids is part of the process.
Write Down Your Daily Activities
First, you need to spend some time determining what you want every day. For example, do you want a family dinner, an hour of relaxation before bedtime, a morning routine, homework done right after school, chores completed each day or week, etc. Determine what time you want each of these tasks completed by each day. You may want dinner to start at 5:30 pm, homework to be done as soon as your children get home from school and bedtime at 8:30 pm. Then, use these times to figure out your other priorities, e.g., your relaxation and family time should start at 7:30 pm or 7:00 pm to allow your children 30 minutes to get ready for bed after family time and before bed time.
Now, it’s time to create a daily schedule for kids. Grab a planner or white board. Write down the activities your children are involved in. Don’t forget to add the times of each activity on your calendar. When you have conflicts, negotiate with your children. The just need to know what to expect.
Don’t forget that children thrive on routines. Knowing that a certain activity is sure to come at a certain point of the day has a calming and motivating effect on them. Make sure to introduce routines that will be both useful and amusing. One idea is going through a quality educational app that would meet your child’s learning goals at their stage of development. One example of a multi-topic learning app is Talented & Gifted by Kids Academy. Among the huge variety of subjects and lessons for kids from 2 to 9 years old, you can also find these time telling worksheets that will help your child develop their sense of time and become better organized.
If you have young children, consider using photos to show what is on the schedule rather than writing it out. This helps them recognise what their days will look like at a glance. Just make sure they clearly understand what is expected of them. You may even colour code your calendar for each child.
Build in Flexibility
Don’t overschedule your children or your family. Be realistic about what they can do, and prioritise your family tasks. Build in breaks and times where your children can choose their activities or you can have family time. You may also plan backup tasks or fun adventures when other plans fall through or you or your children have free time. For example, if one of your children has an unexpected accident that you need to clean up, get your other kids into a fun craft project or building a puzzle while they wait. Don’t be afraid to change a task.
Test and Rework Your Schedule
Your schedule will ultimately need to be tested. Give your family a week or two with the current schedule to see how it works out. Are they overscheduled or underscheduled? Do you need to move bedtimes or wakeup times? What activities can be added or removed? Observe how responsible your children are with their schedules. Do they do what is on their list when they are supposed to do it?
Consider conducting a weekly evaluation to determine how the schedule is working for your family. Then, make adjustments that fit your family’s needs. Eventually, your children’s schedules will become second nature
Review It Every Day
Each morning during breakfast, you should review the family schedule with your children. Ask them what they have to do that day. This review sets them up for a successful day.
Your children feel secure when they know what to do when and what is expected of them. Scheduling may seem extreme, but these are just some consiterations to give them comfort from consistency.