After children grasp the concept of schedule in terms that schedule is basically the sequence of daily activities, it’s time to take the next step. It’s giving children the opportunity to arrange their own schedule. This can be started as early as 4 years old. Of course at this age, they are not making the whole schedule, only arranging certain activities. For example, a 4 years old is given the opportunity to arrange the sequence of their entertaining activities after school like whether firstly they’re going to play their toys or watch their favorite video.
The kind of activities they can arrange will be varied. Those will depend on:
- The values of the family.
Arranging schedule is one kind of responsibilities. It’s because schedule can’t be made/filled with fun activities only. It includes activities which may not be too liked to do. Yet, it must be done as it is important for our life. When it comes to responsibility, every families has its own rules/values related to it. These will determine what activities can be arranged by children.
2. The age of children and the abilities they’ve developed.
Children’s age usually determines what ability they have developed. The abilities determine what are the activities they will be able to arrange by themselves. For example:
|Age||Activities Children Can Manage|
|4||Play time in the afternoon. They can arrange whether firstly they want to watch movie or play their toys.|
|5||Activities after school. They can arrange whether firstly they want to play or take a nap.|
|6||They can arrange activities related with academic activities. For instance, they want to do homework after school or in the evening.|
As children grow and they have learned more about responsibility, more activities can be arranged by themselves. They also can be given the opportunity to set the time. So, basically the opportunity to arrange their own schedule is given step by step.
Understanding both factors will make us easy in determining the activities they can arrange. It’s important to do because we have to give limitations. If we don’t do that, they will make schedule as they pleased without considering the responsibility that attach to the schedule. For instance, they may want to play or watch video all the time and not doing other important activities.
After determining the activities children can arrange, it’s time to tell them the good news. Why it is good news? It’s because the opportunity to arrange the schedule will fulfill the need of self independent. A fulfillment of a need will give satisfaction which in turn will make children proud and happy. Something that makes happy is a good news.
In telling this and how the opportunity can be applied, there are ways we can do:
- Inform children that they can arrange some activities. Explain the reason why they can only arrange some activities, the responsibility behind the schedule arrangement and the consequences (if there is any). This way will make them learning about the responsibility that attach with the schedule.
- Ask them to write and draw on a schedule table (which is basically the same as the table in the schedule board). For example:
Note: The activity drawing means playing time.
The schedule table can be written on the paper or on a dry erase board, like
Starting at the age of 4, we can ask children to copy the words of daily routine, time, activities and ask them to draw/doodles the activities. While starting at the age of 5, instead of drawing, we can ask them to write the activities. It is good to start making the table by drawing or writing because at the age of 4 and 5, they are eager to do both activities. So, we basically encourage them to do the activity they like and fulfill the need of self independent (in this case, fulfilled by the opportunity to arrange their own schedule)
The combination of the fulfillment of child’s need and the encouragement to do child’s loving activities will make children doing the activities excitedly. When they do something excitedly, they tend to do it over and over. Something that is done repeatedly can become habit. And this will be a good basic for children to have the ability of making schedule in a responsible way.