Scheduling is a way to evoke order and calm in your everyday life. It gives balance and structure, which we need to operate fully physically and mental-emotionally. Even in infancy schedules are imprutnent to life. Babies feel best when they have a general routine or order (sleep, food, play, repeat). Adults and kids are no different. Kids may appear to favor chaos (especially when they are running circles around you), but actually thrive with scheduling as it gives them a feeling of order, safety, and comfort in knowing what is going to happen. The ability to accomplish a goal, no matter how small, causes an intrinsic boost to our mood and enhances our self esteem. Hence, it’s important to teach children how to create, implement, and continue a schedule, as it will help improve their mind/body and develop crucial adult skills of organization and independence. We organize our routine, we organize our mind, and things seem, and become, more attainable. So let’s talk about the importance of schedulers and planners for kids (and adults)……
1. Make it colorful
Pick out a planner in your favorite colour/theme in order for it to stand out. Use coloured pens, highlighter, glitter pens, as a motivational and organizing tool. Purple can be social, red academic, green sports, gold important events, etc. Add in extra pages for notes, affirmations, colouring sheets, and more to make it a journal and planner.
2. Make it creative
Use your scheduler for school but also social events, celebrations, events, play dates, job interview, everything! Put in word searches, sudoku, games, crosswords, etc. to stimulate your kid’s mind to put them in a more cognitive and focused state. Create scavenger events, craft activities, art ideas, simple goals and challenges (like find a tree you like, or new book you have read). You can play hide and find – hide stickers or notes in their planner and once they get to that day they get a prize or special event. This helps them continue their planning past the first week (or when the excitement about their new planner wears off). Lastly you can write in affirmations or put them on sticky notes as boosts of encouragement.
3. Make it fun (educational)
Schedule 1 month and see how you can improve for the next (try for a balance of all different types of events – see if one colour prevails in your journal and that could signal that you focus too much on that aspect). Set goals – make them clear and quantify them. Instead of “do better” – listen 10 minutes more to the teacher and make notes. Did you achieve your goal? Why or why not? Problem solve how you can achieve your goal in the future – and write it in your planner! If they are older kids (teens) maybe provide extrinsic motivation such as coffee cards or clothes for accomplishing goals. For younger kids, use a sticker tracker system and for every 5/10 award a special day with mom/dad.
4. Make it your own.
If you don’t want to purchase a planner you can run off planner sheets online or from word documents and bind it into a planner. You can design it anyway you like in any color or theme. You can even use black pages with gels pens or use natural paper. Online schedulers exist too, but don’t provide the same satisfaction as a physical planner.
I understand how many don’t want to use a paper product because of the waste of disposing it at the end of the year. Now I kept, and still have, all my past planners. I find that they give me great glimpse into my past years and projects. If you don’t want to keep them you can recycle or repurpose them. You can keep the cover and craft the pages in to modpodge projects or vision board materials. Cut out the goals and post them into a gratitude goal collage. Burn them if you want to cleanse the year, or shread them and use it as stuffing material. The possibilities are endless… The only limits are your creativity.
Have a wonderful year back to school and happy planning everyone!