Help kids organize their own schedules

Time chart Here's how my cousin Leslee solved scheduling hassles in her very busy family:

I was trapped in that nagging circle of hell:  “Do your homework!”, “Get dressed for karate!”, “You have to read for half an hour!” which was invariably followed by the whining (theirs, not mine).  Using the time-management chart, the kids can schedule their OWN time.  I remind them that 4:00pm has arrived, but they can’t whine to ME about the schedule, because THEY made it!  It also lets them see exactly how much free time they really have.

Here's how to make your own chart:

Open a manila folder (or use card-stock).  Write half-hour blocks of time on the left (make each block 1 inch tall).  Cut out 1 inch strips of paper.  Write the various activities on each piece of paper.  Put double sided tape on the back of each one.  Let the child decide which block of time is used for which activity every day.  Use wider strips for longer activities (i.e., swimming practice is always 1.5 hours long, so the strip is 3 inches wide).  Tape the schedule on the fridge or in a central location for all to see!


  1. kelly jeanie says

    This is a fantastic idea! I can’t wait to use it. Granted, my kid is only 10 months old, but still…I love this! Thanks!

  2. Chakolate says

    If you wanted to make a semi-permanent schedule, you can use velcro spots, so that the activities are just slapped up on the schedule.

    Also, a dry-erase board works well for this sort of thing.

  3. Deirdre says

    I love this. I might do it with magnets. We homeschool in a very relaxed way. My girls have tons of free time because we want them to, and getting them to do the few things they have to do ends up sounding like I’m nagging them. I’d love to do this for a week at a time, so that they can figure out how to fit in their outside classes, homework for those classes, work we do at home, drama rehearsals, reading (me to them), chores, etc., around their play schedules.

    I’m heading to Staples right now to pick up the materials.

  4. says

    I was searching through older articles looking for tips on helping kids build organizational skills. Great suggestions!

    We have a 7-year old son that is quite bright and active, but has extremely poor organization skills. Partially the way a 7-year old boy is wired, I’m sure, but it’d be nice to work on strengthening him in this area. We’re hoping to come up with some ways to get him to focus on single tasks and maybe organize his own schedule a bit.

    We may tweak it a bit to be more task focused, but it was a great hack.

  5. says

    Hi I like to use the magnets that come with my phone book, various advertisements and services (like auto repair). To make organizers and magnet fridge games (like home-made extra large magnetic poetry) for the kiddos.

  6. leener says

    I made something like this up for my son two years ago. When he got home from school, he could make decisions on how to spend his time until bed. This really worked for his personality… he made the decisions, he stuck to his schedule, he felt in control… and I didn’t have to nag.