In The Little Prince movie, there is a scene where the mother shows her daughter her daily schedule. It contains all her activities in details until many years to come and it must be followed by the girl. It is made to make her staying on track, in the hope she will reach her dream in the future. When I saw it, there was a question that crossed my mind. Is it possible to have that kind of schedule in our life? And… The answer for my own question is no!
In part 1, I’ve written about the benefits of the daily schedule in dealing with young children, while in part 2 I’ve shown the example. So, you may think what I wrote in previous posts contradict with the answer of my question above. Well, I don’t mean to be contradictory. I still believe that daily schedule which is planned in details will give benefits, especially in dealing with young children. However, how it is applied in life is not as simple as following the schedule strictly. Here are the reasons :
1. It’s impossible to follow schedule in timely manner as set in the schedule because we have feelings which influence our activities pace.
Emotions influence our activities in many aspects. One of it is the pace of our activities. We may do same activity, but the pace in doing it may be different. For instance, when we wake up in the morning, sometimes we feel happy, sometimes we don’t (whatever the reasons which caused both feelings). When we’re happy, we may want to do our activity eagerly. Meanwhile in unhappy time, we may want to do our activity lazily, even sometimes not wanted to do anything. The differences may make us doing our activities early, on time or later than as set in the schedule we’ve made. So, as a human being with emotions, there’s no way we will follow schedule strictly.
2. It’s impossible to follow schedule precisely as we’ve planned or set because things don’t always happen as we’ve predicted.
Events and changes happen in our life. Some are predicted before such as holiday time, work change, school change, etc. Some are unpredictable such as sickness, accident, getting unexpected fortune, etc. We may be able to make schedule for predicted events early on, but when unpredictable events happen we may have to make adjustment with the schedule we have set. Though, we may be able to set up plan about what we will do when unpredictable events happen. For example, we set plan about what we should do when our child is sick. The plan may be simple like we prepare first aid kit at home, keep the doctor’s number, plan steps we should do in the case we have to go to the hospital at that moment, etc. So, it’s basically like procedure we set in the case of emergency and it will be done suddenly at the moment of emergency. And this will change the daily schedule we’ve made.
After knowing the reason, here comes next question. If schedule is not followed strictly and may change from time to time, how is it applied to make it still benefited? And here are the ways:
- Be flexible with the schedule, in terms of making schedule adjustment which will be suitable with the changes. It seems tiring to make schedule adjustment from time to time, but never feel bored to make different schedules. To make it less tiring, just remember all the benefits we can get from the schedule we make. Keep in mind the fact that the schedule may have to be changed later due to the situations we have to encounter. By doing it and accepting it, the tiring may be lessen, if it’s not gone at all (It’s actually human to feel tired. So, don’t worry about it. We only have to learn how to deal with it and do the best we can).
- When we are in the emotional state, take time to deal with the emotions. Put aside the schedule for a while. Don’t worry about things we should do, though the ‘rest’ time ruins our schedule. It’s because emotional condition needs to be taken care of. It’s not healthy for our psychological state if we ignore it. After we’re okay, than we can go back to our activity. This is actually when schedule comes in handy. When we are in the emotional state or after we’ve just got feeling better, our ability to think rationally will reduce a bit. In this state, we may act impulsively. If the impulsive action causes something positive, it may be all right. But if it’s the contrary, it may be something we’ll regret in the future. During this time, the schedule and the prepared plan will make us staying on track.
After knowing the ways and let’s say that we have been able to deal with ourselves about the schedule adjustment and the feelings related with it, than it’s time to inform our children. Here are ways how to do it:
1. Always inform our children when there are changes. Tell what are the changes and how those are going to effect their life which is represented in the schedule. Give them understanding. So, they won’t feel worried or anxious. One way to make them grasping the changes is by involving our children in the schedule making, both daily schedule and schedule adjustment. Children as early as early 4 years old can be involved (yet, with some limitations). Give them chance only for things they can manage. For example, after school, give them freedom to choose whether firstly they’re going to play or to take a nap. As in unpredictable situation, for instance a child’s mom is sick and she has to stay in the hospital for a while. After school, the child can be asked whether firstly he/she wants to go home or visit mom at the hospital or vice versa(which it must be different with their daily routine, because now he/ she has to go to hospital). Give them understanding that they have to follow the schedule they’ve set. In this way, they not only learn to set schedule (which is one practice of self independence) but learn about the value of responsibility and learn how to deal with the changes as well.
2. As during emotional state. Same as adults, take time to deal with emotions. Even, this is very important thing to do in young children’s life because they still learn about emotions and how to deal with them. Later, after they have been calm, keep them back in the track(follow daily schedule). It is another important lesson for them to learn. The experience will make them learning that they can take time to deal with their emotions, but it doesn’t mean that they can always be in that situation. They have to go back to do their daily activities as they are important, too(It’s like they learn that life must go on). And that is the very basic lesson for the future.
In conclusion, we need schedule to make our life ordered. It is, especially, needed by young children to make them not feeling worried as they haven’t able to deal with uncertainty. Hence, it doesn’t mean that the schedule must be followed strictly as in life many changes will happen which make impossible for us to use the same schedule. Yet, it doesn’t also mean that we can ignore schedule because the benefits are many. Therefore, we have to set many schedules which can cover the changes and set our mind to be able to work with many schedule adjustments. When we are able to do this, children will follow our lead as we always become someone they look up to. That is how the application of schedule in our and children’s life which can make schedule giving fullest benefit in life.
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