The school year schedule.
My favorite family schedule is the school year schedule. It begins with meet the teacher, then back to school night where you get a feel for their classroom and sit in those precious little desks. Next is the fall festival or Halloween carnival. There are costumes to order and decorations to hang. Then you slide into Thanksgiving and start looking forward to the Christmas break.
The school year schedule has structure that not only benefits our children, but also us mothers. Their school day starts a certain way, and each period or subject is a likely happening, occurring one after the other. The kids can look forward to PE or music or art, if they are lucky and so inclined.
We look at the whole school year schedule the same way. The schedule is an anchor for our busy lives. A schedule provides the big picture. It also provides structure and momentum. “Momentum?” you ask. Doing the same thing repeatedly makes it easier to persist. Once things are well underway you feel the school year unfolding and see it working through your child. You begin to appreciate the progression of their learning and growing in competence.
Schedules shine lights on issues at school.
Do they like their teacher? Does their teacher reach them with his or her teaching? Are they learning and growing? Are they making new friends? Do they like the lunches at school? What time do they eat lunch? This determines how hungry they will be after school.
At the fall parent-teacher conference you learn how they are faring, and which skills needs extra attention. These conferences usually happen during the day and must be on the schedule to be planned for. Your work schedule must accommodate these special occurrences.
A schedule keeps everyone on track each day to accomplish certain tasks that are part of your family goals. The momentum that schedules establish sustains us and keeps us from the bad feeling of not accomplishing anything. If you set up a schedule that everyone can stick to, you will start to feel the effects of this almost immediately.
My favorite thing to schedule into my week, not often, but as much as I could manage, was to eat lunch at school with each child. They will not enjoy this forever, but when they are small, they love it!
There are staff/teacher workdays when school is out (so who provides childcare that day?). You must know about these in advance. There are fundraisers coming up and you will be asked to help, or to direct the whole thing. It must be scheduled.
Other aspects of the family schedule.
If you are great at multitasking, you already have a family schedule. You have learned that schedules create a sense of calm and order. I tried the giant one (3 feet by 5 feet) that hung in the hall so you can write, or erase, on it with marker and plan out the whole year. I found this to be too overwhelming.
The monthly schedule was my favorite. I used paper calendars to keep a monthly schedule, but there are better on-line solutions these days. Be sure to print them out in color, in bold letters so everyone can review.
The method you use to keep a family schedule is not important. It is the schedule that provides the structure, not only for you but for your whole family.
Schedules help your spouse or partner.
When my husband seemed clueless about the upcoming school happenings, I pointed him to the schedule. (After all, sho gets all those emails from the teacher? You or him?)
In addition, he seemed to have no concept of the time and planning that it took to pick up a child from school and take them to the orthodontist or their allergy shot appointment. He had some notion of the Saturday sports games and events, and birthday parties, but only because they were on the schedule. Moreover, he was agreeable to cart children to their activities on the weekends, which kept him involved and gave me a break.
Christmas break can be a huge problem for those of us with flimsy childcare resources. It is important to know when this is coming and to arrange childcare however you can. Before Christmas there will be choir, band, and orchestra concerts in the evening at school. Put them on the schedule!
Spring and summer breaks must be scheduled.
Knowing when spring break is to happen is paramount because of vacation plans. You must acquire your time off, and your partner must schedule their time off, and then you must design the trip – plane tickets, hotel, and activities. Without the school schedule this could never happen. This can only be managed by coordinating schedules.
The benefits of having a family schedule are huge. They provide structure for your children, for you, and for your partner. They allow you to plan in your mind what your week will look like. They allow you to ask for HELP from your spouse or partner when you cannot make it to every event on the schedule.
The benefits of a good schedule.
A good schedule establishes milestones that have been accomplished throughout the year and allows us to keep track of all the successes. Kids love structure and routine. It builds their self-confidence and reduces stress. They can read a schedule as early as kindergarten age, and they like to look forward to happenings.
When my granddaughter was only five years old, she knew that Fridays were the last “go to school day” and then Saturday was “stay at home day,” followed by Sunday which was “Mamaw and Doc Day.” I loved that she happily anticipated our weekly family dinners.
The best family schedule.
It allows enough time for essential tasks, and it helps you to avoid taking on more than you can handle. If you have three children and they each expect to be taken to more than two activities each week, this is a disaster waiting to happen. There is no way you can get to everything they want to do.
Schedules save us time and reduce our need to plan things at the last minute. Schedules instill good habits in our children. They know what to expect and where they are expected to be.
Finally, schedules allow us to prioritize things. If having lunch with you kid at school is important to you, then put it on the schedule!