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Stick to a schedule, says PAREDOS director

9/4/2010

By Amanda Nieves

MARCIA Graham, Director of PAREDOS - Parent Education for Development in Barbados, encourages parents to make use of a schedule for functional family life.

According to Graham, parents are finding it difficult to find a balance between work life and home and family life. PAREDOS is urging parents to draw up a schedule to avoid working overtime both at work and at home.

Graham says that a good idea is for parents to develop a schedule of all family activities, whether it be for the week, or for the month. It is very important that this schedule should be visible in the home and every family member should have full access to it.

On this schedule parents should include every single thing that is happening in the house. A good example, Graham suggested, is to decide which member of the family is cooking which day, and include the exact menu so as to avoid confusion and overwork. It would also be wise to include who is doing the cleaning up, the laundry and other household chores on different days.

To avoid any misunderstanding or mix-up, Graham added, parents should get children involved in the scheduling and discuss and write down every extra-curricular activity, which child is going where, on what day and what time, and who is doing the picking up and dropping off. These are all essential questions to keep both the parents and the children’s lives organised.

The Director noted that using the schedule can be a good way to teach younger children, who cannot yet read, how to use the clock. If parents show them the different clock hands and explain to them what is happening when the hands reach certain numbers, it is a good way of helping the children to feel in control, and less anxious about what is happening each day.

Graham highlighted that while planning is important, the most important thing is actually communication. Adults in the family need to communicate with each other in order for the smooth running of every day family business. Even if parents are no longer together, communication is still, and perhaps even more, necessary. Graham added that children need to feel that sense of security that their parents are on the same page.

Lastly, Graham advised parents that it is a healthy to take a day off from the children. She said that once parents make arrangements with someone they know well and can trust, free time is ideal. She reminded parents that they need the break to replenish themselves as being a parent is the most important job.

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