Managing a Schedule

May 20, 2020
Managing a Schedule

Many of us along with our children are navigating a new situation at home; balancing different schedules and routines. Read below for a few tips on how to manage a schedule during this time:

1. Communicate – Parenting does not happen in a vacuum. Though things may be organized in your head (fingers crossed), there is another important human who has no idea what you are thinking. Communicate plans clearly with your child. Young children can benefit from a written schedule or picture chart, but older children still need clear conversations around expectations and responsibilities before the day begins.

2. Set a Routine, Not a Regimen  Let your feelings – and your child’s reactions – be a guide. While children love routines, enforcing them too strictly can cause anxiety and stress for both parents and children. Make the day appropriate for your household. Consider who is there, what other opportunities your children have for activity or interaction, what mental and physical space you have that day and how you and your child are feeling.

3. Let go of what you think is “normal” and re-establish what works for the current circumstances – Accept that there may not be a normal routine based on circumstance. Allow yourself to make a new normal with whatever you have. Children need to know what to expect, but they are able to accept new information and make it consistent through practice.

4. Avoid Threats – Forcing or bribing your children into compliance causes more angst than reward. Try making a contract, even with very young children, where you both agree on what the day will hold. By letting our children make choices and be involved in the plan it is more likely that children will comply. AND, by honoring their requests and desires, you model mutual respect and sensitivity to signal when you are really “there” or need to be “away.”

5. Enlist their Help – Things are stressful in many households. Using schedules or routines in another place in which you can help to promote your child’s autonomy. Use this as an opportunity to discuss family responsibilities and assign new tasks to children young and old. Have your child think of a few things they CAN and would LIKE to do. Every effort counts and will help promote the “all hands on deck” mentality that helps build communities and relationships.

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