We know children should follow a timetable for daily routine. As a schedule introduces children to the concept of time — and how to create order in lives by managing time effectively.
The schedule gives a visibility to focus on key activities like study, play, sleep, chores and other activities - it also makes life easy for parents and children.
However, It’s easy to draft a timetable, but rolling out and implementing schedules with children is a hard nut to crack.
I asked my children to come up with a timetable, which they happily drafted. I was excited to see them following schedule for the first few days, but as the days passed they were back to square one. Then I changed my approach and it worked.
Use these tips to help children follow a schedule:
1. Prepare a calendar and place it in a visible place:
You can fill in the daily chores, study, exercise, play time, etc.
But allow them to decide timing and duration, avoid enforcing your preferences.
Give them the option to decide for themselves, this helps them to build ownership. Often, you see the schedule broken within the first few days, instead of losing temper, try to get them back on track.
2. Set weekly targets:
How would you know how well children are performing?
The best way is to plan in advance and set the expectation straight from the beginning.
Sit with children, ask what they can possibly achieve in the weeks’ time and place the goal in front of them.
The goal should be based on the child’s capabilities: avoid being pushy and forceful.
End of the week review, see how well they performed and make changes accordingly.
3. Prepare a score card:
Prepare a score card for children where you can list out the achievement, stars or score to give them a visibility of their performance.
Visible performance helps in intrinsic motivation.
4. Set competition:
You can also introduce healthy competition. Avoid competing one child with another one, but use positive competition.
In the usual scenario, siblings try to outperform each other when there is a competition between them to score.
Keep the competition healthy, avoid developing jealousy and resentment among children.
Do not compare one with another. Competition should be in the form of the game, and activity to build excitement and fun.
Challenges bring excitement. Put a buzzer and ask - let’s see in how many minutes you can finish this task.
Let see how long will you take to finish the activity, set a timer
Ensure there are no harsh, negative words, comparison and criticism at the end.
5. Reward achievements:
Encourage them to practice positive habits: like clean desk, follow schedule, finish work on time.
Once they achieve, reward their acts.
A word of appreciation, like well-done notes, stars for activities helps in encouraging children.
When they accomplish their work on time, you can reward them on a weekend with their special treats. So they feel encouraged for the next time.
Reward builds association.
Children need to learn to hold accountability for their action. If there are no consequences, they take their actions lightly. They should know what are the consequences when they drop the ball.
So what if I do not finish my work, I can still watch TV.
Nothing happens when I do not finish my chores.
It’s Ok to snatch the toy - no one told it is wrong.
Be clear and communicate what you expect from them. What is allowed and what’s not. And follow consequences once you communicate. Otherwise, they won’t take things seriously.
If the rule is to finish work before TV, then strictly follow or shut it until the work is done.
The schedule is the way to teach them how to manage time and work hard to get good results. The whole objective of schedule is to help them plan their time better and make them feel responsible for their actions. We need to help them develop the idea that the onus lies with them and positive actions lead to positive outcomes.