10 Tips for Making A Daily Schedule for Kids When School’s Out
April 29, 2020
When kids are in school, they rely on a routine that guides them through the day. But what happens when they are out of school for Christmas break, summer vacation, or because of special circumstances like a public health crisis? It’s important that kids still have a steady routine when they aren’t in school.
They should wake up around the same time each day and then have some guidance for what they should do throughout the day. This is especially important if you are having to do some homeschooling. It can be difficult getting everyone in sync, so here are some tips for making a daily schedule for kids when school is out.
1. Be Realistic
The kids being home is going to affect your work schedule even if you work from home. Be realistic about what both you and your kids can accomplish in a given time period. Include a bit of wiggle room and don’t overload the schedule.
2. Consult the Kids
Let kids contribute to making the schedule. You might want to try and model the timeline after what they’re used to at school, but that’s not set in stone. They might have preferences for when they want to do certain activities.
3. Hang Your Daily Schedule for Kids to See
Make sure your kids know the schedule by hanging it somewhere the whole family can see it. Good places include the kitchen or the room where kids spend the most time. Let the kids help decorate or design it to make it look fun. Or get a whiteboard or chalkboard version that you can add things to as they come up.
4. Include “Unscheduled Time” On the Schedule
A daily schedule for kids should include periods of time where they should be doing specific things and periods of time when they can decide what to do. Routine is important, but you can’t schedule every minute. Both you and the kids will become burnt out if you overschedule. And it’s unlikely you’ll stick to a packed schedule every day.
5. Put Limits on Screen Time
Limiting screen time is important for children whether they are in school or not. In fact, when they’re not in school they have more opportunity to become glued to a screen. Nip that in the bud by putting firm time limits on screen time. If school time is included in the schedule, you may have to make allowances for online learning.
6. Stick To It – But Be Flexible
Keeping to your schedule is important, but as a parent, you already know tho expect the unexpected when kids are involved. Someone may have an off day or a tantrum. Or some fun opportunity may present itself. Remember that just because you make plans, sometimes you need to roll with the punches.
7. Plan Social Time
Something that kids miss when school is out is socializing with friends. If you’re able to, set up play dates or encourage kids to make friends with other children in your neighborhood.
IMPORTANT: During times of social distancing, you’ll need to make adjustments to social time and follow all guidelines. You can still have social time on the schedule, it’s just going to look different. Schedule phone calls or video chats with friends and family members they don’t see in person.
8. Don’t Forget Meals and Snacks
When kids are out of school, they can become bottomless pits that always think they need to eat something just because they have access to the fridge. If they’re hungry, by-all-means feed them. But try and stick to a schedule for breakfast, lunch, and dinner plus several snacks throughout the day.
9. Include Quality Family Time
When kids are out of school, your family will spend more time together each day. You may feel like you’ve had more than enough time with them, but it may not have been quality time. Make sure you have time each day when you relax, have fun, and really connect with your kids. One way to get this into the schedule is to have dinner at the table each night and share stories about the day.
10. Leave Room For Quiet Time Before Bed
A daily schedule for kids needs to include some quiet time so they can wind down before bed. Leave at least an hour at the end of the day for everyone to ease into bedtime. Watching screens too close to bedtime can disrupt sleep, so keep it screen-free.
Holly Springs Pediatrics is committed to providing quality care to your kids at all times. That includes being there in uncertain times. We will always prioritize the health and safety of your family. Call our Holly Springs, NC pediatric office at (919) 249-4700 to schedule an appointment or talk to a staff member.