Nowadays most students have a tight schedule, and may even work more hours per day than an adult.
They get up at 7 am or earlier, and are prepared for a whole day of school from 8 am to around 3:30 pm. After that they may go to various after-school activities, such as English and Mathematics lessons, swimming and basketball training, piano and violin practice.
With all these activities, many children claim they do not have enough time to day-dream or play at make-believe. It is essential for all of us to have some ‘down-time’ in our busy lives. Time when we can truly switch off – when there is no phone, no i-pad, not television and no computer anywhere near us. Time to simply relax and let our minds wander freely.
To achieve this, we need to schedule ‘down-time’ into our timetables. But how, when we are all so busy? Well, one way is to ensure that we have a cut-off time for each task. Just as a lesson has a given time, so too, should homework and other tasks. These self-imposed deadlines take the randomness out of daily chores.
Children need help to work backwards from the end goal to the start. They must decide what they need to prepare before they begin a task. What tools? Sharpened pencils, highlighters, scrap and clean paper, computer, a glass of water, mobile switched to silent and placed away from the work area. Perhaps even a “PLEASE DON’T DISTURB” notice on the door to prevent interruptions!
A well-prepared timetable encourages a child to understand what tasks need to be done and how to achieve them efficiently and within a specific time-frame. Such a schedule helps prevent time being frittered away.
Learning to schedule activities precisely is good habit to develop in early childhood; it is a stepping stone to understanding time management and being organized, – it paves the way for a less stressful future and allows us all a little vital ‘down-time’!