Scheduled Parenting

Stressed Mother on TelephoneFor a parent (read: an adult who spends time executing parental duties), life is a mad rush. Wake up. Rush the child. Rush yourself. Most of us might be able to relate to this and the fact that along with rushing, comes a fair bit of being temperamental. What is the result of such crazy schedules? A parent who feels guilty about not executing expected duties on time and a confused child, left with a question mark about his / her capabilities. Nothing great, for sure.

How does one address this? How do you create more time than that you have available in a day? Nothing is easy. Certainly not parenting. The good news, however, is, that most things can be resolved. Treat this like a typical time management issue. Yes, I would argue that time management is the largest issue plaguing today’s parent. We all have needs and desires and keep juggling with the variable of time available at hand only to find that we are dropping more balls than we are able to keep up. The solution? A schedule. Sounds simplistic. Well, maybe it is. At least some bit of it.

It is surprising how many working parents live by the hour at work and at home, and miss commitment after commitment. Some of us don’t and that’s great. But we can do better. Want to spend more ‘quality time’ with your child? Add it on your calendar –  ‘Take Khushi swimming’. Keep the appointment and work around your ‘work’ to make things happen. They will.

I know there are some of us who couldn’t be caught dead with a schedule. For such people, think about it this way. Your child needs you to have a schedule. Children respond well to a schedule. That does not mean you become a micro-manager and say things like ‘It’s 2:30 pm, stop having food and go and do homework’. Instead, be as flexible as the child might need you to be but do start with a schedule and make the child aware that there is a schedule and he / she is expected to adhere to it.

And how does a schedule help the kids? It generally keeps their mood swings at bay. They know when to expect what and they have more purpose in their day. They look forward to play time and know that there is a heads down time. Most of all, however, it makes them learn the art of managing their time.

It is surprising how scheduling some things in life can solve many problems. Many fights amongst couples like who does what for which child or needing time to one’s own self, can be solved to some extent by a schedule. Not just by making a schedule, though. Following it too!

Think about it as one of the biggest gifts you can give to your child. So those of us who run away from schedules and live in the moment, do you think you can give this a shot?

This blog post is a reproduction of my blog written for Parent Edge, one of India’s leading parenting magazines.

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