Originally Posted by ambersrose
What about my suggestion of helping the child create their own schedule to achieve their goal? First you would need to talk with them and help them define the goal. Then help them set alarms and maybe set up their workstation for them as someone else suggested.
Yes, I think this is a great suggestion. For me that discussion of the desired schedule is the obvious first step. And if the schedule doesn't stick easily, you need to revisit the issue to talk about what tweaks would help. I think weekly discussions, at least until there's a really good flow happening, are a great idea.
We haven't had much luck with alarms here, though, because alarms reside in one location, and kids and families roam. Even if we situate an alarm in a central area or make a point of having it follow the child around if he or she moves, life throws us curve balls and often we're gone to town on an errand or someone shows up for a visit or we're outside playing or doing yard work, or the kid has just stepped into the bath or something. Alarms also don't have a built-in flexibility that says "it's getting to be mid-afternoon, so if you want to do half an hour of math before dinner, you should think about whether you want to play a whole game of Settlers of Catan, or maybe choose something shorter, or maybe do your math now and play a game after." Alarms just beep ... and my kids find that often they might have good reasons for not necessarily dropping everything and moving to the appointed task at that instant, for wanting a little flexibility, but once the alarm has not been immediately heeded it provides no additional guidance.
We have better luck scheduling things for after meals. So rather than saying "Spanish at 12:30" my kid will say "Right after lunch, before I get started on anything else, I'll do a few minutes of Spanish." Because even though my kids are responsible for preparing their own day-time meals (we do dinner as a family meal but the rest is free-ranging) they do invariably eat something that they would call lunch.
I find that sometimes there's a magic in revisiting a scheduling expectation that has unravelled and simply asking "Is this still something you want to do?" For instance, last fall my youngest said she wanted to do outdoor exercise with me three times a week. It was really tough to schedule, since there are so many variables in our lives that squeeze in, so while we initially tried "after breakfast on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays" that regularity fell apart quickly and after that we just did our best to find windows for it. But she didn't seem enthusiastic, and after enduring a few weeks of declined invitations and moaning over being too tired or not liking how cold and wet it was or whatever I gave up. Then over the winter holidays I took some time to revisit her plans and ambitions for the year and we talked about that outdoor exercise thing. Surprisingly, she was very enthusiastic to delve into it again. She regretted having got out of the habit, and was excited about doing a lot more in the way of winter sports -- trying out XC skiing, getting out on the hill for some downhilling, building an igloo, skating, snowshoeing. We didn't end up changing anything about the original plan. She had just realized that despite her occasional lack of enthusiasm on any given day and during certain seasons, she did still really want to be active outdoors on a regular basis, and felt it was worth pushing herself a bit harder than she had.