Without a home schedule, it's easy to let the entire day slip away without really accomplishing anything. Kids thrive with a daily routine that gives them a predictable frame of reference. Creating a schedule at home doesn't mean you have to stare at the clock all day long. The schedule plans bigger events in the day, such as meal times and bed time, while keeping flexibility in other areas. Working around your existing family activities and habits allows you to create a functional schedule that is easy to follow.
Track your natural schedule for several days to see when you tend to eat meals, go to bed, be active and slow down. Note your child's behaviors to get a sense of when he gets tired, hungry or bored. This information helps you create a more structured schedule that is compatible with the natural rhythms of your family.
Set your child's bedtime on the schedule. Getting her to bed at a consistent time helps her fall asleep easier. A scheduled bedtime also ensures she gets enough sleep each night. The specific bedtime depends on your child's natural sleep patterns and the time she wakes up in the morning. According to WebMD, kids from age 3 to 6 need between 10 and 12 hours per day and a child between 7 and 12 needs 10 to 11 hours daily, while adolescents between 12 and 18 only need about 8 to 9 hours of sleep.
Pencil in recurring events or commitments on the family schedule. Consider regular meetings you have, practices for kids' activities and family activities, such as church or regular gatherings with extended family. Seeing these activities on the calendar helps you schedule the rest of the weekly routine around them.
Add meals to the home schedule. Regular family meals can improve eating habits and build family bonds, according to Kids Health. Schedule the meals at a convenient time that allows all family members to eat together without feeling rushed. For example, if your teen has basketball practice right after school, schedule dinner time for 6:30 so he has plenty of time to get home and shower before he eats.
Set aside quiet time for your child, even if he doesn't take naps. The quiet time helps him relax and rest between active periods of the day. For an older child, quiet time may simply mean reading a book in his room or playing with a quiet toy. Younger kids may fall asleep during the quiet time.
Schedule active time to ensure your child gets the physical activity she needs to stay healthy. Kids and adolescents need at least an hour of exercise each day, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Schedule the hour in one chunk, or break it up between two or more times of the day.
Reserve time to spend with the family without distractions like the TV. Dedicated family time encourages you to spend quality time together instead of rushing everywhere or zoning out with electronics.
Leave room in the schedule for family members to do independent activities. This gives some flexibility and encourages your child to create his own entertainment.