A daily schedule benefits kids by providing the structured environment that is critical to elementary children's sense of security and mastery. If you spend any time in a kindergarten or elementary school, you will marvel a the teacher's ability to organize the children's day.
When you understand the nature of attachment in older children, you realize that shared communication and goals replace the attachment patterns of very young children. The daily schedule communicates the family's shared goals and allows children to contribute to their accomplishment. Each time he follows the schedule, the child has a small, but cumulative, experience of mastery of his environment.
Follow these simple steps to create a daily schedule for your family.
Step 1 - Analyze Your Day
Do a simple, but consistent time study. The easiest way to do this is to print a daily calendar. Here's a good one from My ParentTime. Note what each family member is doing at each time of the day. Look for the problem times, and think about how the schedule can be structured to eliminate problems related to behavior, stress, fatigue, hunger, and disorganization.
Step 2 - Brainstorm What You Want
Less confusion in the morning, homework done by dinner, children in bed by a certain hour, family play time, relaxation, a clean house - this is the time to think about what you want in your family life. Focus on a balance of activity and rest for your family. Take an honest look at both parents' and children's needs.
Step 3 - Write It Down
Follow the example you see in SuperNanny! Get a poster board and a marker, and write it down for all to see. Post it in the kitchen, and tell the kids that you will now be following it. You're likely to get some opposition, so parents need to stand firm.
Step 4 - Follow the Schedule for a Week
Check the schedule often, and let it guide your days for at least one week. Instruct the children to check the schedule and follow it. If you must remind them, do so; but, your goal is for the children to learn to take responsibility for their part of the schedule.
Step 5 - Tweak the Schedule
After the first week, take a look at what is working and how the schedule need changing. Make changes in the schedule, and write it on a new poster. Continue to follow your daily family schedule until it is second nature. In a few weeks, you'll marvel at how this simple tool has changed your family life for the better.