Parents: Scheduling Tips

June 1, 2020
Here are six tips for making summer schedules positive while still in a shelter-in-place situation.

Erika Coles clinical director at the Florida International University Center for Children and Families shares some tips on how parents can survive the summer with their kids while staying home.

1. Maintain a routine. When kids don’t have a routine they can follow, they tend to misbehave more and have more anxiety. For the summer, involve your kids in the process of creating their schedule for the day. It will make them feel empowered, and they will more likely follow the schedule since they helped to create it. Find some fun activities they can do throughout the day and have them choose which ones they want to do. While the schedule for the day doesn’t have to be jam-packed with activities, make sure that bedtimes and mealtimes are as consistent as possible.

2. Reward positive behavior. Kids, of all ages, need and crave attention. Reward your child with positive praise when you catch them being good by saying things like, “I am so proud of you for cleaning up your room all by yourself.” You should also leverage everyday things like screen time as a reward or give them a small prize for their positive behavior to continue to motivate them.

3. Limit screen time. All kids have been exposed to significantly more screen time since being in quarantine. Make sure you plan some fun outdoor activities they can do such as bike riding and soccer, and include some creative activities like family game nights, painting, or working on a complex puzzle or Lego set.

4. Stay connected. Take the time to continue to stay connected with others (both your children with their friends and you with other parents, family, and friends). You can schedule virtual playdates or do a drive-by visit to friends and family.

5. Incorporate academic time. Help prevent summer learning loss by infusing some fun academic activities like reading and online activities from local museums. 

6. Get help. The last few months have been a whirlwind for most families, and everyone has been doing their best to stay afloat. Most families haven’t processed how the coronavirus has impacted their mental health and will continue to do so. Take some time over the summer to check in on your mental health and seek support for you and your child if you need it. It could be anything from helping you to manage your child’s behavior at home to help manage your child’s worries and fears.
To support conversation at home--here are some updated conversation starters.
ConversationConversation 2
Trying to make a middle school schedule?  Here is a Google Form for you to copy and personalize with your own schedule.
Here are two additional sample tools for developing some independence in scheduling and routines.   They would need to be adapted to reflect your child's age and family expectations.  
Chore Chart    To-Do List
Family Schedule Header
An additional schedule template has been added as a PDF below for various family school schedules.  
Remote learning will look very different in each and every household in our District.  We absolutely recognize that you are responding to the rapid changes just as much as we are--working from home, becoming a teacher you never planned to be, learning new technology skills, and finding ways to comfort each other.  On Monday, March 23, we will begin Phase 2 of our Remote Learning plans.  Teachers across the district will be meeting with students through teleconference and providing on-line curriculum learning opportunities.  This remote learning website will continue to post augmented content and curriculum in Art, Music, PE, Social-Emotional Learning, Virtual experiences, and Related Services and Intervention for students. 
The information below is intended to offer some ideas, tips, and strategies that you can build from as you are navigating, changing, and developing at-home learning routines.  
Big ideas and tips from our LGUSD team:
  • Keep a routine with functional care needs--wake-up and bedtime, meal times, shower, get dressed.
  • Be sure to build from a place that provides plenty of time for your child to rest, relax, and play.  This is a stressful time for everyone and their disrupted routine is a struggle.  
  • Keep expectations reasonable--home is not the same as the office or the classroom.  
  • Make sure you have a student "learning space" so your whole house does not become an academic zone.  Kids, and you, will need to be able to walk away and still be "at home" now that their worlds have merged.
  • Chunk your child's time into 20-30 minute blocks of time and alternate between activities that require stillness and movement. 
  • Try to make your schedule visual and remind children before transitions about what is coming up next.
  • Build your schedule together each day as much as possible--let everyone add in something they need to do and something they want to do.  Include important parts of your parent workday too with times that work for all of the activities happening simultaneously at home now.  
  • Talk about the need for a flexible schedule--sometimes what you plan will get interrupted by an unexpected event
  • Discuss what each part of the day looks like?  What are people doing when the schedule says reading time?  What are the behaviors of all of the people in the house when someone is in a video-conference?  When can it be noisy?  When does it have to be quiet?
  • Build-in some time each day to do an interactive activity--not just assignments.  Do art, a puzzle, exercise, etc.
  • Take movement breaks.  In a classroom, kids move...a lot! 
  • Focus on what gets done rather than what did not get done.  Practice self-patience and self-care.  
Common Sense--Keep your kids learning at home
Sample Schedule
Daily Schedule with samples
Family Schedule
Three part schedule