A schedule is an important tool to develop self-discipline, encourage preparedness and build healthy habits in your child. These habits will come in handy as your child deals with the crests and troughs that life will bring to them.
Apart from being prepared and having a healthy lifestyle, schedules also bring in a factor of understanding time management, achieving targets and planning your day to have time to do everything you want to do as well as things you need to do. It is something familiar and in its own way, provides comfort of the known to your child. A schedule brings structure to your day. It is a means to have purpose driven actions that can change the course of your own day and it is one of the easiest ways to understand cause-effect relationships.
Be sure to sit with your child and plan the day with them rather than for them. This way, they understand why each thing has to be done. In the short term, it might be easier to just put your foot down and whip out a schedule for your child, but in the long run, helping your child stick to “their” schedule is much easier than making them keep to “your” schedule.
A healthy schedule has a few key points. To start with, have a fixed bedtime and a wake up time. It is recommended that children up to age 12 get 9-12 hours of sleep in a day. Ensure that your child gets sufficient rest to take on their day. Having early sleeping and early waking hours is helpful as the child is fresh and it gives you a sufficient buffer to get your child ready in time. Fix meal times. The biological clock of our body secretes digestive juices based on eating patterns. Eating at a fixed time ensures the best digestion and helps in good metabolism. Have slots for study, for outdoor play and fix screen time. These are all important factors in your child’s development. Don’t sacrifice one for the other. Have a slot for family time and ensure you spend this time with your child doing anything apart from the already completed activities, like arts, crafts, singing, games or even a good cuddle. Make space for the swimming lessons, martial arts or whatever else that floats your child’s boat.
A couple of things to keep in mind are that your child needs space and buffer time and freedom, so have a schedule that is clutter free with sufficient free time slots. On occasion, the schedule might be missed, but if it becomes a recurring affair, gently bring your child back into the schedule.
We hope these insights help in planning your days in future! Happy parenting!