For this blog post I’ve decided to discuss the benefits of routine play. I encourage all parents or guardians reading this to download the above calendar, and fill in a couple of times a week whereby outdoor play is scheduled. Research has shown children work better when a routine is set for them. When kids get in the habit of knowing an activity is on, (e.g. soccer training every Monday) they will be more ready and enthused about the prospect, as it becomes second nature. From personal experience, I always enjoyed knowing as a kid what days I had training, and which days I was going to go to the park with mum and dad. It is for these scientific and personal reasons I highly recommend my readers to try this calendar strategy.
Step 1 – Discuss with your child a day and time that they think they would like to have some fun. Tell them that this particular day is a fun day for the family to exercise and play together, and it will happen each week.
Step 2 – Write in the calendar above the time of activity, and write down in advance what you and your child will be doing. For example, in week 1 you may decide to have a game of dress ups outside with your child on Tuesday morning. Write in big letters, on Tuesday “Dress up fun”, or something along those encouraging lines, and leave it on the fridge or somewhere visible. Always keep your children included in the process and have the calendar in an easy to read place, they will want to feel involved.
If you feel this process works for your family, feel free to add extra activities per week, and other miscellaneous information to the calendar.
IMPORTANT – This is not a replacement for spontaneous play. Kids still need to have that urge to get outside and play with friends, with you or even by themselves. This is a complementary tool, to be used in conjunction with their own spontaneous, imaginative, outdoor activity.
Let me know your thoughts, and if you try it out, how it works for your family in the comments below.