We all have a daily schedule, whether it’s written down or not. Helping your children learn to create a schedule and follow it, will give them a skill to make life a lot easier.
- Family communication – In the morning, talk about what needs to be done today and what extra things are occurring (a dentist appointment or errands…). At the end of the day, talk about what happened during the day. These simple conversations develop communication skills about your family’s schedule that are so important in relationships.
- Bedtime Routine – Make a schedule that helps them get ready for bed. Work backwards with a time for bed and what needs to be done before they get in bed. Put the child in charge of checking off everything they need to do before getting into bed (bath, brush teeth, drink, story…). As a teacher, I strongly believe that many kids have difficulties during the day due to a lack of sleep. If in doubt, put them to bed earlier.
- Morning Routine – Make a schedule that helps them get ready to leave in the morning. Work backwards from the time you need to leave the house (get dressed, eat breakfast, make bed, brush teeth…) Include everything that might hinder them from walking out of the door on time. The biggest stressor for a working mom is running late with a screaming kid in tow. It’s worth it to make their wake up time a little earlier, if it will help them get ready on time.
- After School/Day Care Routine – Yes the kids need some down time, but they still need a schedule. What do you want them to do after you get home? (homework,free play, snack, empty lunch bag, chores, set the table for dinner….) They need to know what to expect after you pick them up. If you have extra errands or an event in the evening, tell them how that affects their schedule. For instance, their “free play time” might be while you watch big brother play soccer.
- Sequencing and Telling time – Use the words, “first, second, third….” or “before, next, after, then….” to talk about your schedules. This helps with their understanding about time. Make a schedule with time clocks on it to help them connect telling time to following their schedule. Make “time words” a part of your vocabulary to help reinforce the concepts to your children.
Visit my Pinterest Schedule Board for some more great examples of how to create these schedules with your kids: http://www.pinterest.com/kristina8133
My Story – I felt like the worst mom in the world when I would pick up my kids from their babysitter or after school care. They were perfectly content and happy until I showed up, then the tears and fits would start. It was a combination of both of us being tired and I had a lot to get done in the evening. My overwhelming stress was affecting my kids. It helped a lot when I scheduled their time after picking them up. We would have a snack while listening to a book on tape on the way home, unload the car, play outside, do homework/read, eat dinner, then bedtime schedule. Probably, the best thing I ever did, was to make bedtime a lot earlier. They needed a lot more sleep and I needed the time to get things done at home. I was letting my kids determine when they should go to bed. Once I set the bedtime, it became non-negotiable and eventually became the norm.
How do you make a schedule with your kids?