The Pick and Choose Technique - How to create a family schedule that works for everybody

Do you spend all your free time driving your kids to a range of after-school activities and clubs? Are your kids exhausted? If so, and life's getting on top of you, try Supernanny’s pick and choose technique to make everyone's schedule more manageable

Some kids have so much to do, they have no down-time at all. if that sounds like you, then help is at hand. Use the Supernanny Pick and Choose Technique to narrow your child’s commitments down to a few favourites.

Step 1: Figure out your child’s workload

This is a great way of visualising the extent of your child’s extra-curricular commitments – if you’re doing one a night it might not have sunk in just how busy she is. Ask your child to fetch one important item connected with each activity, tutorial, hobby or sport they do – for example, if your son plays football, he can use the ball or his boots; if your daughter is playing tennis, she could fetch her racket. Get them to make a pile of the items and then start giving them each separate item to hold. At some point they’ll be overloaded and run out of arm space – a great metaphor for just how overloaded their schedules are.

Step 2: Decide what’s do-able

Come to an agreement on how many activities you and your child can reasonably manage across a week, with at least one afternoon and evening of family down-time.

Step 3: Give your child a voice

Let your child pick which activities she wants to keep doing – you may find she has long-hated some of them and is only too pleased to give them up!

Step 4: Have your own say

For each activity your child picks, you get to pick one too – this should ensure the activities aren’t all weighted in one direction (for example, a range of sports without any more academic choices to provide a balanced range).

Related links

The Reward Chart: Positive attention and praise are the most effective rewards for good behaviour. As used on Supernanny, the Reward Chart is a useful way to reinforce good behaviour on the spot.

Superstars Reward Charts: Saying ‘well done’ to your child is the very best way to promote good behaviour. Download for free one of Supernanny’s ready-made Reward Charts.

Naughty Mat: Staying calm and in control whilst your child learns her boundries is key, and it helps to be consistent in the way you discipline her. The Naughty Step is used on the show when a child's behaviour is unreasonable and something needs to be done.

Resolving Your Discipline Differences: Relationship Counsellor Paula Hall from Relate has these practical tips for moving on from the one thing you and your partner may never agree about.

Kids and chores: How to create some housework harmony.... Check out our quick guide and get your family working together as a team to get the chores done! 

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