The Opportunity to Arrange Schedule: A Basic to Achieve Schedule Making Ability

         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:

  1. 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:

Schedule Table Writing by 4 Years Old

Note: The activity drawing means playing time.

The schedule table can be written on the paper or on a dry erase board, like

Autumn Theme Magnetic Dry Erase Board with Marker


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.

Related Posting:

Daily Schedule Routine (Part 1): It’s Benefit in Dealing with Young Children

Daily Schedule Routine (Part 2): The Example

Daily Schedule Routine (Part 3): It’s Application in Life

Introducing to 2 & 3 Years Old Children by Sequencing Daily Routine Activities

Introducing Schedule to 2 & 3 Years Old Children by Sequencing Daily Routine Activities

          Introducing a concept for children under 5 years old is always best by stimulating their senses. The stimulation will enrich their experiences. The experiences will be kept in the memory which will be retrieved from the memory storage when those are needed to recall a concept/ an information. For instance, a child  learns about cat by seeing the picture from book. From there he  may know (after we told him, of course) that a cat has furry body, four legs, paws and tail. Then, he sees the real cat. When he sees it, he may not realize spontaneously that it’s a cat because the real cat is moving, bringing out ‘meouw’ sound or it may have different fur color with the one in the book. It’s why, he needs time to say that it’s a cat or he may even think that it’s not a cat due to the differences. Yet, if a child learns about cat not only from the book but by interacting with the cat like; touching, hearing the cat’s sound, playing or even feeding, he will also be able to get information about the cat from all his senses. So next time he sees another cat which looks a bit different (let’s say it has different color), he will be able to say spontaneously that it’s a cat. It is so because he still can find the cat’s characteristic such as the sound, the cat’s fur texture, etc.  Therefore, the more information a child gets from all his senses, the more he gets the big picture of a concept. And this big picture is the one which will be useful for him to understand a concept.

          This process is applied to every concept. So, when we want to introduce schedule to 2 & 3 years old children, it’s better if we give many stimulation other than telling the time of the schedule & looking at the schedule board. One way to stimulate and introduce the schedule is by sequencing the daily routine activities. To do that, we have to make daily routine table which can be played by them.  Below is the explanation how to make it.

Things we need :

Felt (Use any color you like. The blue felt on the right is only example). The size is adjustable based on your need. I recommend minimum
size of 12” x 24”.


Ribbon (It’s optional.You can change it with felt or paper which color is different with the felt)

Ribbon (1)

Letter Foam

Chenille Kraft Company Wonderfoam Letters and Numbers, Approx 1500 Pieces, Assorted

Laminated and printed time card (We can make or download it from the internet). The size is adjustable based on your need. I recommend
minimum size width 2.5” and height 1.5”

Time Card

Laminated and printed daily activities card (We can download from the internet). The size is adjustable based on your need. I recommend
minimum size width 2.5” and height 1.5”

Daily Activity Card

Velcro. Cut as the size of the time and daily activities card.

Velcro (1)

Glue gun

Glue Gun (1)

Bulletin Board

Cork Bulletin Board

Here is the picture of  the daily routine felt table:

Daily Routine Board for 2 and 3 Years Old Children

How to make the board:

  • Prepare the felt
  • Paste the letters foam onto the top of the felt
  • Paste the ribbon as divider among daily routine title, time and the activities
  • Paste the soft side of the Velcro on the felt
  • Paste the rough side of the Velcro at the back of the time card & daily activities card

How the activity is done :

  • Ask children to paste the time and the daily activities cards onto the felt.
  • For 2 years old children, we can give the time and daily activities cards one by one based on the daily routine sequence. At the same time, mention the time and the activities described on the card. Therefore, they can repeat the words.
  • For 3 years old children, we can show the picture of daily routine sequence (we have to print the example). So, they can paste the cards in sequence by looking at the example.
  • After they paste all the cards, we can hang the felt onto the bulletin board. So, they can see the daily routine schedule they’ve arranged.

That’s the activity to introduce schedule to 2 and 3 years old children, It’s simple activity. Yet, there are advantages they can get. Here is the list:

2 Years Old Children

3 Years Old Children

– Early stimulation to understand schedule concept

– Further stimulation to understand schedule concept. This time by giving activity which gives insight that schedule is basically the sequence of daily activities

– Enhance the vocabularies about number, time and daily activities

– Enhance the vocabularies about number, time and daily activities

– Practice fine motor skill by pasting and pulling the Velcro

– Practice cognitive skill by asking them to follow the sequence as example.

          Make the daily routine felt table as toy which children can play it over and over. If the activity is done routinely, it will make the children grasping the schedule concept as they learn mostly through repetition.

          It takes time to prepare the daily routine table. Yet, it’ll be worthy for our children as they will get many stimulation about daily routine schedule such as being told about the time, looking at the daily routine schedule board, sequencing the daily routine activities, doing the activities and later using schedule application in the gadget. Those stimulation will give big picture about schedule which make them understand the daily routine schedule concept easily.

Related Posting:

Daily Routine Schedule (Part 1) : It’s Benefit in Dealing with Young Children

Daily Routine Schedule (Part 2) : The Example

Daily Routine Schedule (Part 3) : It’s Application in Life

The Opportunity to Arrange Schedule: A Basic to Achieve Schedule Making Ability

Daily Routine Schedule (Part 3) : It’s Application in Life

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!

The Little Prince Schedule Board

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:

  1. 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).
  2. 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.

Related Postings :

Daily Routine Schedule (Part 1): It’s Benefits in Dealing with Young Children

Daily Routine Schedule (Part 2): The Example

Introducing Schedule to 2 & 3 Years Old Children by Sequencing Daily Routine Activities

The Opportunity to Arrange Schedule: A Basic to Achieve Schedule Making Ability