Schedule It

More and more I am realizing that most of your issues can be resolved by simply scheduling your day more efficiently. What do I mean? Make the schedule, the calendar, the timer, SOMETHING CONCRETE, OUTSIDE OF YOU, THE AUTHORITY. Build into that schedule the activities your children are telling you they need BY THEIR ACTIONS (not by their words). Think pro- actively and do the activities at their scheduled time everyday to vent on a regular basis rather than trying to “fix” as things come up. Once the schedule is established and your children nag, or act out, you can be sympathetic, “Oh, I wish you could have a cookie now! Treat time is at 3:00.”

Here's how you do it:

Watch your children and notice what they and when they do it:

Melt downs and sibling hassles before meals?

Schedule “play alone time” for each half hour before meals.

Whining at 11:00 am and 4:00 pm?

Schedule “Whine time” at 11:00 and 4:00. Gather together, and marking the time with a clock/watch second hand, everyone whines at the same time for a full minute.

Child nagging you at every meal for a cookie/dessert?

Schedule “Treat time” every day, at the same time, apart from a meal, say at 3:00 pm.

Child wanting to be in charge all the time?

Schedule “Special days” on the calendar. Each person in the family gets one per week, parents too. On your special day you get to be in charge of all decisions that are practical: Meal planning, radio station choice, video choice, book choice.....

Children bouncing off the walls during chore time?

Schedule “Wiggle Breaks”. Set the timer for 15 minutes. When it rings stop the chores and wiggle together for 1 minute, then back to work for the next 15 minutes.

3 year old asserting himself and wanting to do what he wants, when he wants (usually at the worst time, such as when you are on your way out the door)?

Schedule “Do it by yourself” time. Everyday 15 minutes before departure time (or whatever time you've discovered your child most insists on doing it by himself) let your child do for himself one task he has his heart set on.

7 year old playing the dread game and not wanting to go to (fill in blank) ...go to school, dance, swimming...)

Schedule “Dread” time every morning and use the second hand while everyone shares their dreads for the day at the same time for a minute.

4 year old fascinated with monster play?

Schedule “Monster time” everyday at 3:30. Let him choose 1 monster accessory. Agree on monster play guidelines. Set the time for 15 minutes and let him go for it!

Grade, middle or high schooler balking at reading?

Schedule Alone book time for everyone from 5:30 to 6:00. (Between dinner prep and the actual meal)

Wondering how to get in more family time?

Schedule game time once a week, serve a special dessert. Special person's choice. Keep it short (1/2 hour) and FUN.

Wanting to connect more with your kids?

Schedule Share time before bed: Take turns sharing your happiest and saddest times of the day. Listen, DO NOT SOLVE, COMMENT OR FIX!

Things to remember:

Think CONCRETE: Use a timer, a calendar and a written, illustrated (for the nonreaders) and posted schedule.

Decide on the schedule at a family meeting. Introduce it as a fun thing to do. Try it for a week and fine tune at the following meetings.

Be proactive: Include everything you can think of. Add stuff as the need arises at meetings.

Limit the amount of time that the activity occurs: Use the egg timer or ticker timer to denote the beginning and ending times.

When folks try to negotiate a schedule change, be sympathetic and stand firm: “I wish we could change the schedule, but I'm not in charge, the family schedule is in charge. Bring it up at the next meeting.”

Follow the schedule yourself even if no one else is interested. You'll feel better and chances are they will come along for the ride when they see what fun you are having.


7:00 a.m.

Rise and shine. Get dressed, Make bed.

7:15 a.m.

Special day person and parent make, serve and clean up breakfast.

8:00 a.m.

Pep Talk: Plan for the day. Dread time.

Do it by yourself time.

8:30 a.m.

Off to school, work.... Special day person chooses music.

2:30 p.m.

Pick up: You share your day. Don't ask child about theirs. Wait until they offer on their own. Play alone time. Special day person makes snack for all.

3:00 p.m.

Special day person serves snack, treat for the day, cleans up.

3:30 p.m.

Free Play time. Monster time.

4:00 p.m.

Whine time. Homework. Each person makes lunch for next day.

5:00 p.m.

Play alone time. Special day person helps parent make dinner, set table.

5:30 p.m.

Alone book time.

6:00 p.m.


6:30 p.m.

Clean Up: Special day person and parent.

7:00 p.m.

Game time:Special day person's choice

7:30 p.m.

Baths and teeth brushed

8:00 p.m.

Clothes, books. supplies laid out for the next day

8:15 p.m.

Story: Special day person chooses. Share happiest and saddest times of the day.

8:30 p.m.

Lights out