Start with a blank schedule with spaces for each hour from morning until bedtime. Have your student block off time spent in classes and in extra curricular activities and in other regular commitments. Block out time for chores and homework.
Without actually doing the exercise, you might be tempted to think that there’s nothing left, but in most cases, you’d be wrong.
It’s those white spaces — the left over blocks — that I want to talk about today.
Some of those spots might be filled with friends. Social time is very important, especially to your middle and high schooler. But without a plan, the extra spaces can become all social (or all social media).
We hear so many parents say that they feel as if their kids spend too much time amusing themselves in front of screens. Screen time isn’t all bad, especially in small doses. It can be a fun way to unwind. But when kids have a plan and goals that matter to them, screens become much less important.
Recently, my 15 year old daughter shattered the screen of her new iPhone 5S. I wasn’t going to replace it for her, so if she wanted a workable phone, she was going to have to work hard and save the money herself. She has her own henna tattoo business, so she got on the phone and booked some home parties. It didn’t take long to get the money she needed to replace her phone, but once she saw how profitable those white spaces on her calendar could be, she made plans to fill some of them with more money making opportunities.
Being in 10th grade, this is also a crucial year for SAT prep. My daughter wants to go to a competitive music school in Manhattan and SAT scores are an important part of the admissions process. So some of her white space is filled with SAT practice tests.
When kids have goals and a plan, they can make powerful choices with that time. But without a plan, most of that time is squandered.
Tune in to Parenting On Purpose with Jenni and Jody this Saturday at 10:00AM ET. We’ll be talking to my daughter Skyler about how she started a successful small business and how she balances school, opera, chores, social time and a business. We’ll also have a very special co-host visiting us that day. Don’t miss it.
Sarasota folks can tune in to 1220AM or 106.9FM. Out of towners can listen online streaming at WSRQ Radio or get instructions there to download a mobile app and listen on the go.