As our children progress from littles to elementary age, we see a lot of growth in their independence. They’re able to do much more of their self-care, engage in chores more independently, and more.
That makes this stage a perfect time to start helping them progress from the basic scheduling habits that we teach them during the early years to learning the nuts and bolts behind a solid schedule.
Although it will be a while before your child is ready to build a schedule on their own, this is a great stage to start implementing activities that help them practice schedule-building skills.
Tips for Strengthening Scheduling Habits in the Getting Excited Stage
Here are some tips for developing scheduling habits in the Getting Excited stage of learning.
Elementary children are beginning to understand the passage of time. This opens up a whole new world of options for teaching children scheduling habits, including using a schedule, telling time, and following a calendar.
In fact, during this stage it’s a great idea to start using a family calendar where everyone’s information is all in one place. Train your child to use the calendar to see when an upcoming event will occur and show them how to add important information to the schedule.
Here are some tips for strengthening scheduling habits during the elementary years while also laying the groundwork for later time management training.
- Continue to reinforce daily routines. They may increase in complexity or in number the older your child gets, but they should still fit well into the overall rhythm of each day.
- Use color-coding for each family member so that children can quickly find their information on the family calendar.
- Don’t over-schedule. Teach your child the importance of making choices, even between good things, instead of trying to cram the schedule full every single day.
- Teach your child the power of “no” when a request will result in over-commitment.
- Build in a habit of regular rest. Teach your student how to work hard while still scheduling down time and rest.
- Help your child learn scheduling habits for daily priorities. Show them how to decide how much time each task will take, rank tasks according to importance, and make sure that necessary items get done first.
- Model for them. Make sure you practice good scheduling habits by using your own planner and calendar. Let your children see how you do it. Let them also hear you tell others that you will need to check your calendar or planner before you commit to an activity.
- Purchase an alarm clock for your child. By the end of this stage, children should be able to get themselves up on time on their own. (Note: Be sure to pay attention to their sleep cycles. If the alarm is regularly jolting them out of a heavy sleep cycle, make appropriate adjustments to the schedule to ensure adequate sleep.)
Ultimately, though, remember that scheduling habits are not about creating a rigid schedule. Instead, it’s more about building a rhythm of daily life.
There are some things that have to be scheduled by the clock, and it’s necessary for children to learn that concept even as early as the elementary years. But, most of life can and should be less rigid. This is why routines continue to be an important component of each day.
By learning this concept at an early age, your child will be well on their way to learning health time management skills and scheduling habits that will carry them well into adulthood.
What kind of scheduling habits are you modeling for your child? How might you be able to teach a child who is more scheduled or more flexible than you? Take our Planner Personality Quiz to discover your planner personality type and learn tips for scheduling well as a family.