Children need routine because they need stability.. They usually become frustrated by unforeseen changes in their schedule and struggle to adapt to new circumstances. This could make them irritable and uncooperative as well as lead to behavioral problems, like refusing to follow instructions.
Your fast-paced lifestyle and many responsibilities may make it hard to create consistency in your child’s daily schedule. However, this is something well worth putting work in because it could make parenting much easier. Here are some things you can do to establish a clear schedule that will suit both you and your child.
Allow your child to have a say
Children enjoy being included and this also contributes to building independence and confidence. Involve them in the planning process by presenting them with a clear and simple choice. For example, ask them if they’d like to do their Art project or Math homework first. If they’re allowed to make certain decisions themselves, they’re more likely to follow through with the activity.
Don’t overstuff the schedule
When you’re setting the time frames for any given activity, consider how long it usually takes the child to complete it. The goal of having a routine is to make it easier and less stressful for them to stay on top of their responsibilities. If the schedule puts too much pressure on them, it’ll cause the exact opposite effect. This is why you’ll need to be realistic about what they can achieve in a day without getting tired, bored, and cranky. Also, don’t forget to leave some time for fun, like playing computer games and having a blast at their favorite trampoline playground.
Decide on the priorities
Children thrive when parents expose them to as many experiences as possible. Kids are also naturally curious and it’s not uncommon for them to want to try a new hobby each week. However, having lots of extra-curricular activities while also helping around the house and being top of your class is rarely doable. This is why it’s important to focus on a few priorities only. You should also talk to them about their interests and preferences to decide what sports or other after-school activities they should take up.
Make it simple to understand
Explain the order of activities clearly, so children can understand what you expect of them. You can also practice the elements of the routine in advance, especially with toddlers. For example, if you need them to brush their teeth, wash their face, put on clothes, and have breakfast every morning before you go out the door, go through these steps beforehand so they know what they have to do and in what order.
Create a physical calendar
Your child can help you make an actual calendar that you can put up on the wall. This will be a great reminder of daily activities and can help them get a clear picture of their routine. It’s also a creative project because they can fill out and decorate the calendar every week. They can draw pictures, cut them out, and paste them onto it, so that they can be easily switched next week. Encourage them to cross off items as they complete each activity, which can give them a sense of accomplishment.
Be patient and optimistic
It usually takes some time for children to get used to a routine, so don’t be disheartened if it doesn’t catch on in a day or two. Stick with it because your child will benefit from it in the long run. Watch out for the things that need changing and make small tweaks along the way. Most importantly, stay positive and do everything from a place of love and understanding.