Back to School: Getting Children on a Schedule

Danville, VA - Parents everywhere know just how hard it can be getting children on a schedule.

But experts say the familiarity of a routine is vital to your child's development, especially at the start of the school year.

Emily Ince has her hands full with four small children, including 8-year-old twins.

Ince knows how important a routine.

She says she's up before the sun every day and says keeping her little ones on track is a job in itself.

"And then trying to get me and my husband organized as well and just get everybody on the same timetable is very difficult, because everybody is going in six different ways," Ince said.

But she created a schedule for her children made of visual aids, showing them what to do and when to do it every morning and night.

Ince says it's eliminated nagging because the kids have usually already completed the task.

Tara Martin with Danville Headstart agrees visual aids help children understand what's next in their daily schedule and provides a sense of security.

Children without a schedule are often moody throughout the day and unable to perform as well as others.

That's why, she says, a bedtime schedule is crucial.

For parents just starting out with this, Martin says to take it slow.

"Don't try to do your whole day at one time," Martin said. "Pick a small area of your day that you would like to work on - like bedtime - and just try to be as consistent with it as possible."

Martin also says it's important to keep schedules age appropriate.

You can also offer rewards at the end of the day for staying on track, like a favorite bedtime story.

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