Hi everyone, I’m so exited to be joining you here at Child Led Life. I want to start off by sending a big thank you to Marie for having me here. I’ve been a huge fan of Child Led Life from the very beginning. I always find wonderful inspiration in Marie’s posts. I’m thrilled to be here today sharing my top three tips to build a kid friendly schedule. One that works not just for you, but for your kids too. I believe that it is never to early to teach time management skills.
From the moment we first find out that we are expecting our little bundle of joy we are immersed in a quagmire of conflicting information. Creating schedules for our children is just one of the millions of topics that parenting experts just can’t agree on. I don’t believe that there is one right way to approach creating schedules with/for children, but I do know that my own kiddos seemed to like having some structure and routine to their days.
When it comes to creating a schedule for our kids, especially when they are little, I have a few tricks that I used to make it easy on myself and easy on my kiddos. I didn’t want to create something that meant I had to watch the clock all day long and become a task mistress. I wanted to allow room for our days to evolve and change but still have a way to keep us on track.
Tip #1 – Use Guide Posts
A guide post is simply a part of the day where you know the same thing is going to happen almost every day. For us it was meal and snack times because they seemed like a natural way to change focus and move on to something new. They also gave me a time frame to work within, which came in really handy when we started preschool at home. Choose a few points in your day to be your guide posts. Maybe for you it’s nap times (though be prepared to change those when nap times end, because at some point they will end) or maybe you’re out and about each day. Choose what works best for you and your family.
Tip #2 – What Do You Need or Want to Accomplish
Take some time to think about the things you want to or have to do each week. These can be activities you want to do with your kiddos or certain household tasks. Perhaps you homeschool and need to account for a certain number of lessons for each subject in a week. They don’t have to be things you need to do ever day, but they are something that happens or that you want to happen frequently. Take a few minutes and jot them down. Now think about your guide posts and figure out where these ‘must’ items fit best in your days.
I’ll use story time for example. I’m a huge bookworm, so reading stories and looking at picture books was, and still is, something I feel is important for me to do with my kids. I made it a point to have book/reading time with them throughout the day. So one book between breakfast and lunch, one between lunch and dinner and one at bed time. I didn’t have a set time, I just tried to fit them in between my guide posts. Housework was always an afternoon thing for me, and my kiddos, especially my youngest, LOVED to help me with the housework. So I made sure I saved something he could help with for when he woke up from his afternoon nap, or after quiet time when he got older. Including your kiddos in household activities is a great way to teach them about responsibility, but it’s also a great way to bond and spend time with them. Which leads us to my final tip.
Tip #3 – Be Flexible and Allow Room For Your Kiddos to Make Decisions.
I believe that our children need to have a say in what they do each day. We need to allow them the freedom to explore, create, have fun; simply put, to be kids! Allowing room for our kids to lead the way in how they want their day to unfold is something I truly believe helps them grow and learn in the ways that are best for them. Now, this doesn’t mean I forget about the first two tips. I use the first two to make sure I have the time and freedom to honor this one.
I’m a bit of a printable junkie. I love creating and using them to help us organize our time, information and in a very real way our lives to some extent. Rather than creating a printable with a daily schedule on it, I used something similar to the one you see below.
Instead of filling it out for each day, I set goals for the week, and was able to keep us on track and still allow room for my kiddos to have a say in how their days went. Here’s how to use it.
- Write your child/children’s name in the top row above the last two columns.
- Decide what tasks or activities you want to do each week. Those go in the first column
- Decide how often you want to do them and write that in the second column. Using my story time example, I would jot down 3/day in this column.
- As you complete them, check them off in the third and final column. Just a check mark will do, or you could get really fancy and use stickers or stamps.
- At the end of the week you can see what you’ve accomplished, and make changes as you see fit.
Using a schedule like this one, allows for lots of flexibility, because lets face it, life happens! It also allows you to evaluate your to-do list on a weekly basis and make changes that you think are needed. Maybe you can’t fit in three story times in a day, it might be time to rethink that one. Or perhaps you homeschool and doing five math lessons in a week is just not working for your kiddos. You can adjust it as you need, and keep moving forward.
Whether you choose to create a schedule for you and kiddos, or prefer the go with the flow approach, make sure the choice you make works for you and your family. In the years since I first became a mom, if I’ve learned only one thing, it’s that following our hearts and intuition generally lead us to making the best choices for our kids and ourselves. There really isn’t a right and wrong way to do things when it comes to routine building and teaching time management. Just ask the experts! If there was, they would all agree!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic of schedules and kiddos. Do you have a schedule that’s working for you?
About Alli from Scattered Squirrel
Hi there, I’m Alli, from Scattered Squirrel. Being slightly scatter-brained and a recovering clutterbug, I know what a struggle it can be to find harmony in the chaos. It is my hope that by sharing ideas and printables, I can help others find their own path to living a more organized life on their own terms.