I am always amazed at how busy kids are during the school year and it seems as the year progresses they just get busier. Now is the time to get a schedule together to keep kids on the right track. Make a schedule with your child to create ownership on their part and have them contribute to the schedule so it is a mutual agreement and not something your command them to do. When your child participates and adds activities that are fun to the schedule they will be more engaged in the process.
Here are a few easy steps to create your DIY schedule as seen on PBSkids.org:
- Take a sheet of paper and a ruler. Draw a chart of all your waking hours, using one square for each half hour. If you’re awake for 16 hours each day, you’ll need 32 squares: 8 across, 4 down. Using graph paper can help.
- Label each square with the starting time for that half-hour block of time. For example, if you wake up at 6:00 in the morning, label the first half-hour square 6:00 a.m., and the next one 6:30 a.m., and so on.
- Sit down and examine your day. Make a list of all the things you need to do, from taking a shower to doing homework and afterschool activities.
- When you begin to write things into your schedule chart, start with those things that have specific start times. For instance, if you know you have to be at the bus stop at 7:00 a.m., fill in that square with “Bus stop.” If you have to be at band practice from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., write “Band practice” across both the 5:00 and the 5:30 squares.
- Next, move on to the things that don’t have specific start times, but that you have to get done. When finding squares of time to fit them in, think about the time of day. For example, it may be a good idea to schedule homework before dinner, since after your meal you may get too sleepy to concentrate.
- Give yourself a break-or several! If doing all of your homework in one chunk is too much for you, schedule a little bit of free time between subjects.
- If you have an important event like band practice that falls right in the middle of your evening, talk to a parent about adjusting other things, such as dinnertime, so you can make your schedule work out.
- Consider using a different colored pen or marker to color in different types of responsibilities. You could use yellow for family chores, red for school events, blue for sports and activities, and so on. This way, you’ll get a good sense of how your day is planned out just by glancing at your schedule. If there’s way too much blue, for example, you’ll know that you’re probably overloaded with sports and activities.
- Remember that we can’t predict what’s going to happen every day, and time management involves being flexible, too. If you hurt your ankle on a Wednesday afternoon and have to spend two hours at the hospital, you probably won’t be able to stick to your schedule-and that’s okay. When this type of thing happens, use that schedule to help you juggle your time. For instance, your trip to the hospital may have cut into your homework square, but you can make it up by giving yourself an extra homework square the next day.