Friday, March 31, 2006

The Importance of Starting Your Baby on a Schedule

Everybody in the world runs on some sort of schedule, weather they are five and in kindergarten, or fifty five and running for president. A schedule is the way to keep your life in good order and to make sure that you are doing everything that needs to be done. If when you were a child, your mother and father let you go to bed at any hour you wanted, do your homework whenever you wanted too, and go to school whenever you wanted too, you probably would not have amounted to much later in life. This would not have been your fault; it would have been your parents fault for not teaching you the importance of a schedule. The easiest way to start a child on a schedule is to start them from the day they are born.

When your first baby is born, you may be overwhelmed, but the best thing for you to do would be to start a schedule for you and your baby. Do not write down a schedule, but keep track of when your baby falls asleep, how much he eats, and when he takes his naps for the first couple of days. Let him help you make a schedule that is the best for both of you. After you have a schedule down, you can start going back to your regular life. You can make important phone calls and pay your bills when you know your baby is going to be napping. You can plan to give him a bath when you know that he will be awake. And, most important of all, you can take a nap when he is napping! You and your baby will find it much easier to stick to a schedule as he is growing up, and it will make the rest of your life much easier.

When your baby turns into a toddler, and maybe starts pre-school, your schedule will help him adapt to waking up early, eating breakfast, and taking a nap at school. A few months before your toddler starts pre-school, start waking him up at the time he would need to be woken up to go to school. This way, your child will not be cranky for school; he will be used to it. Your toddler's teacher and all of the other children will be thankful. Always make sure that your toddler is eating enough and sleeping enough. If he is not getting enough of these two things, it might make it harder for you to stick to the schedule.

Once your toddler turns into a young child, he will start regular school, and his schedule may need to change. Usually toddlers get to have a naptime in pre-school, and most kids in kindergarten do not get to take a nap. Work with your child if he is used to taking a nap in the mid afternoon. It might be better if you let your child take a short nap when he is finished with school, rather than not taking a nap at all. It is important to keep a schedule though, do not give it up altogether, and just change it around to make it work for you. When your child starts kindergarten, it is time to set up one or two hours a night to do homework. Make sure that you are available to your child during this time, so if he needs help, he will get it. It is best if you help your child after dinner, when he has a full stomach and is content. He will be able to focus on the task in front of him better.

When you think your child is ready for a written schedule, tell him that you are going to do a project together. When it is time, sit down with your child, take out a big piece of tag board, and write a schedule for you and him together. Start with waking up, brushing teeth, and go throughout his school day until he comes home. Write what time dinner will be, when he has time for homework, and if your child has any after school activities, write what day they are, and what time he needs to be there. This will be a good reference chart for both of you. You can also use this chart to reward your child when he sticks to his schedule. You can reward him by taking him to the park, to the movies, or maybe buying a new toy that he wants. Rewards are a good incentive to young children.

If you start your baby on a schedule, and stick to it throughout his childhood, his teenage years will be much easier on the both of you. Time management is a huge, important part of every person's life, and it is one of the best things that you can teach your child. When your teenager does not need to ask you what time he needs to be at band or football practice, but tells you what time he needs to be there, you will know that you have done your job in teaching your child a schedule and time management. Schedules and time management will help your child grow into a strong, willful adult who will accomplish many great things in his life. The child that has a schedule from early life will most likely accomplish everything he puts his mind to, and he will thank you for it!

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