Preparing a Schedule to Beat the School Time Struggles
–Tara J. Boerner, LMFT
As I am sure you have heard before, a schedule is highly important to follow during the school year. There are many benefits of a scheduled routine, most importantly teaching our children time management skills. The importance of time management skills comes later in life for the children, but the time management helps parents stay on top of things and deflate battles.
How does time management in kindergarten relate to college time management? Let’s say your 5 year old is going to full day kindergarten, they receive a small homework packet for the week. As the parent we know we have dance on Tuesdays, and baseball on Thursdays. To a child the days mean nothing, through time management we are teaching the children to plan ahead. Talk to your child, explain the week and ask how your child would like to do Tuesday and Thursdays homework. Possible options: complete all HW on Monday so the rest of the week is free, complete Monday and Tuesdays homework on Monday, and Thursdays homework on Wednesday? Offer these choices, and let your child choose!
What is the relevance of routine? It is to allow your child to gain the concept of time. Explain to your child, using a clock. We get home from school by 3:10, you can have a snack and relax for 20 minutes then start your homework. Getting your child into this routine starts the process of managing increasing workloads in college, and when they hit the real work world. Create a set space for homework that is complete with all the tools they need to accomplish their task, pencils, crayons, calculator, ruler, etc. Once HW is complete, your child has playtime. Of course I will encourage outdoor time versus screen time, but know as a parent you also need to accomplish things, especially if you are a working parent.
What time should we plan dinner for? Plan dinner for a set time, lets use 6:00PM, all homework should be completed by this time, with perhaps the exception of reading for 30 minutes, which can be incorporated into bedtime routine and winding down. Family time is more difficult in this day and age but do your best to at least sit with your child during this time and engage in conversation. Have your child help with home responsibility by clearing their place. Once their place is cleared, it is time to either complete the homework, or bath time. Once this is done, your child has free time for 30-60 minutes, allowing for them to relax and their brain to turn off.
Bedtime routine, for young ones should include story time, as the child learns to read you can alternate who is reading a page, to eventually silent reading time before lights out. This routine is two fold. We are spending quality time with our children and secondly, deterring away from the use of screens before bedtime.
As a parent, you will find the battles decrease as there is a set time in play for everything. You will gain quality time with your child, and be able to take care of things while your child is doing their homework, and a set bedtime routine allows for you to have some down time once you child is asleep. I know this is not always smooth, but appreciate and reward the times that are and slowly everything should fall into place. If you need help accomplishing this please call SO Cal Therapy Center 818-804-0322, and we can help you establish this routine and deflate battles.