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Whether the holidays are approaching, you’re getting ready for summer, your household is heading back to school, one year alone can have so many different times when life gets a little busier than others. Providing schedules and routines for children is so important to help them predict what will happen during their day. Having a schedule allows us to know what will happen first, next and last, providing structure for everyone.
Students follow schedules and routines at school, whether they attend pre-school or high school. The pre-school routine may involve circle time, songs, stories, and snack, while the schedule of a high school student may include morning announcements, chemistry, geometry, lunch, study hall, English, and after school activities.
Creating a written or a visual schedule can help a child become more independent and instill independence at home. Depending on the age of you child, you can create a picture schedule or word schedule focusing on certain parts of the day like before daycare or school, after school, and before bed.
Elementary-aged children may be able to sit down with you and create the schedule. Having an academic planner introduces the children to the upcoming skills of using a planner for their schoolwork and activities. Middle school-aged children may still need the color-coding visual support that student planners incorporate, while high school students can use a planner that grown-ups may use.
Sometimes schedules go out the window because of a new baby, school closure, sick child, or visitors. That’s okay. Life happens.
Having a schedule or predictable framework for your child helps not only with planning but can help foster language development. If the regular routine changes a little, then your child may ask questions WHY things are different, giving you an opportunity to elaborate and explain. Maybe dinner is still frozen, so it won’t be casserole tonight but quesadillas instead. Perhaps company is visiting so bedtime may get pushed back a half-hour. You can refer to the schedule and point WHERE in the day or the routine that the changes may be taking place.
Schedules also introduce language concepts like before, after, first, then, and last. For example, bedtime stories take place after brushing teeth and beds might be made before going to school.
Learning how to use a planner and schedules benefits all children.