Life with kids is typically super hectic. A full day caring for a little one can be incredibly draining because they you to get their clothes on, change their diapers, prepare their meals, play with them, and more. Not to mention all the chores that keep your home running. It can seem like there's never enough time to get it all done, but you somehow have to find a way anyway. That's where a schedule might come in handy. If you're wondering how to get your kid on a schedule when you don't do schedules well yourself, don't worry— it's totally doable.
I've never been the kind of person that needs to do things on a timetable. I don't do laundry on a specific day, but rather when someone's out of clean clothes. I don't have a designated day for grocery shopping, but go whenever I realize I need something. Since having a child, however, I've needed to make some changes to my freewheeling approach. Our day can be ruined if my daughter doesn't get a nap at a certain time, and we may have to cut an outing short if it's interfering with her mealtime. It may seem like a pain, but doing certain things at scheduled times really does just make everything smoother for us.
Here are nine ways to make a schedule work for you and your family.
1. Find A Method That Works For You
There's no one-size-fits-all solution to get your kids and yourself on a schedule. According to Baby Center, there are different kinds of child schedules to choose from and one may suit you more than another. You might go with a more rigid parent-led schedule, a more flexible baby-led schedule, or take elements from both to design something just right for you.
2. Have A Bedtime Routine
Sticking to a schedule is going to be really difficult if you and your kid are both a sleepy mess during the day. That's why Aha! Parenting suggested having a bedtime routine in place first and foremost.
3. Ditch The Devices
Smart phones and tablets can make our lives easier and provide hours of entertainment, but they can also be a huge time suck. Sticking to a schedule will be much easier if you and your child aren't wasting too much time on a device, according to Everyday Health.
4. Prepare Ahead
Sticking to a schedule can be tough when you're so busy it feels like they're just aren't enough hours in the day. According to Parents, you can make your life a bit easier by doing things like preparing meals ahead of time or laying out clothes the night before to get out the door faster in the morning.
5. Visualize It
If your schedule is always right in front of you, it might be easier to stick with it. PBS Kids suggested helping kids make their own schedule so they can take charge of their tasks and start learning time management.
6. Adjust As You Go
Trying to force your kid to stick to a schedule that isn't working is going to leave you both frustrated. Baby Center noted that as a child grows up, their needs are going to change and their schedule may need to change, too.
7. Be Consistent
If you follow a rigid routine one day only to throw it out the window the next day, your child might have trouble keeping up. What To Expect noted that consistency is key, even if your child is way too young to even understand what a schedule is.
8. Expect Setbacks
In an ideal world, your home and your life would run like clockwork thanks to your schedule. In reality, however, things don't always work like that. According to Education.com, if you're able to roll with the punches and handle setbacks in your schedule, you'll be setting an amazing example for your kids.
9. Don't Forget Downtime
Although schedules certainly have some great benefits (including preserving some of mom's and dad's sanity), it's also important to remember that kids need time to just be kids. Parenting pointed out that overscheduled kids might become stressed out and moody, so make sure that they get plenty of time to relax and play.