As humans, we all could do with some structure in our lives, which is what a regular schedule could provide for us. This is just as important in a child’s world as well and should ideally begin from day one. This could be something done subconsciously, as we follow the natural pattern of some of the habits, our children exhibit – we tweak and structure them to create that more manageable flow of events. For example, a baby would have a planned schedule from regular sleeping to feeding times.
This would also be the case as the baby grows into a child, he/she gets used to the way things are done, especially as they initially won’t have any concept of time and (as such) will do things at a certain time they have become familiar with e.g. homework after lunch, which would probably happen when they get back from school. Or nap time after lunch - when they get back from playgroup/nursery. Once they get used to the schedule, any disruption could lead to them becoming a bit confused and possibly irritable and needless to say, this might be a bit of an issue getting them back on track, schedule-wise.
A planned schedule for your child also creates that element of organisation, and helps eliminate conflict and reluctance to do certain things e.g. homework.
It also an idea to create that element of interest within the schedule to make it more attractive to your child. Your child would be more likely to do their homework when they know that an hour of tv (or game) time will follow afterwards. Or when they know that lunchtime will involve them helping out and getting to take on some degree of responsibility e.g. setting the table or helping to clear up.
The schedule should also include the preparations for bedtime at the end of the day. This is quite important as it would make the actual ‘going to bed’ much easier, without the fussing and fighting that could happen. So have the winding down process planned, whatever that would entail, it will be well worth it!
And yes, even though schedules can be very useful and produce great outcomes, they are not always easy to implement and can still come with aa bit of resistance. But hang in there – persistence does pay off and you will find yourself reaping the rewards in no time.
A great way would be to share/alternate the tasks between yourself and your partner. An advantage of this is that your child would get to experience each of you on a one-to-one level.
In conclusion, even though routines are great and bring about a lot of structure, don’t feel enslaved to them. A bit of flexibility should be allowed every now and then, as circumstances beyond your control could cause this – a family outing or guests over for a visit and leaving late etc.
Don’t treat such situations as too big an upset in the process as you can always get back on track the following day, and explain it to your kids as well, so they don’t feel as if things have been thrown into disarray.
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