There is no job in the world quite as busy, overwhelming, or rewarding as that of a parent.  As the long lazy days of summer have come to an end, and school has started, the family calendar is getting a work out.  It is easy for this time of the year to become hectic with practices, recitals, birthday parties and hundreds of other things that parents need to keep track of each month.  Add in homework, tests and other special projects for school, and parents and children can find themselves overwhelmed.  Thankfully this school year does not have to be hectic if parents and their children work together to create daily, weekly, or monthly schedules.  Studies show that there are many benefits when parents have a schedule for their children.  The benefits are greater for families that have more than one child.

When a family utilizes a schedule, stability is present in the child’s life.  Most children thrive when they have a predictable schedule.  No matter what is going on in a child’s world, they are happier when consistency is brought into their lives by becoming acclimated to following a schedule.

Benefits of making a schedule for your child/children:

  1. Bonds the family ties: When a child knows what to expect and begins to expect a time to do fun activities with their family, they begin to value family time.  This strengthens fundamental family beliefs, concepts and principles.  The child, for example, might notice that going to the movies together on Friday evening is important.  They can see that family time together is special.  Even younger children will pick up on these traditions.
  2. Initiate expectation: A schedule will eliminate power struggles between parents and their children.  It becomes routine for the child to know when to do homework, when to clean up their room, and when to complete other chores.
  3. Creates a peaceful household: When children know what to expect, stress and anxiety are reduced.  They feel valued because they are included in the plans and don’t feel as if they are being forced to do something.
  4. Developing healthy habits: From completing homework every afternoon to going to sport practices, routines help establish constructive habits.  Children who are familiar with these skills will be able to better manage their time as adults.

Have a weekly Family Planning Meeting:

Children thrive on structure and become anxious when they can’t predict what’s coming.   Have a family meeting once a week, maybe on Sundays, and discuss the upcoming week’s activities. This is a time to discuss what things should go on the family schedule such as time for homework assignments/studying, after school activities, sports activities, medical appointments, bedtime, family time, etc.  Also ask your child what he or she would like to do or add to the family schedule.  If it isn’t possible to have your child involved when a family schedule is created, take time to explain/review the schedule you’ve created for them, with them.  Will they be going to after school programs? To grandma’s? The zoo or park? Will they have a play-date with a school friend?

Schedules don’t have to be elaborate- a simple piece of paper or calendar with dates and times for all events will do fine.  Younger children may want to draw a picture of an upcoming event to get them involved and excited about using a schedule.  There are many scheduling apps such as Evernote, Trello, Cozi or Busy Kid that families can use as their scheduling platform.  Schedules should be located in a place that everyone can access and view, either hanging it on the refrigerator or creating a schedule on an app, giving all family members access to the schedule.  Parents will see an improvement in organization and time management within their family once a family schedule is put into place.  Make it an amazing school year by creating family schedules.  Happy planning!