Planning is very essential for the success of anything. When someone goes by a plan, then they are better equipped and prepared for the future. A plan creates a focus on life, making people to work toward achieving a goal. When people have a plan, it’s easier to dedicate time and resources and grow.
Planning helps people to identify a goal and preparing for the goal allows them to consider the risks and impact they would encounter on the way and find a way to get there.
While adults know how to plan and are prepared to take risks, it’s a different issue with children. Planning includes formulating, evaluating, selecting, and enacting cognitive strategies—in that order. These strategies are closely linked and can be easily related to all aspects of a child’s life. Planning skills in children can be interrupted by impulsivity, poor attention, focus, and bad working memory.
According to a news report in New Scientist, children, particularly the young ones are pretty bad at using memory to plan ahead. The report said that the skill to use memory to plan ahead only comes in older children.
There are several examples where children are required to plan:
- While studying and preparing for tests
- Learning sports
- Learning music or to play musical instruments
- Deciding on how to approach various problems and thinking of solutions
While studying and preparing for tests
Studying during the academic year and preparing for tests/exams is the most crucial part of a child’s growth. Having a study plan is very important as it maximizes and prioritizes the most important and urgent things- academics. It helps in increasing study productivity and achieve better results. Having a study plan puts the power of time and progress in your hands.
Planning in advance for sports is as important as training for sports. There are two benefits: it provides formal and informal opportunities for children to engage in sports of their choice and be physically active. Secondly, it helps them improve their sporting skills over some time. Sports planning is the most crucial step toward making a career in sports.
Learning music or to play musical instruments
Unlike earlier when children learned musical instruments as a recreational activity, today, people make a career and living out of it. When children plan for musical practice, it allows them to learn at their own pace, assess and determine whether or not they are meeting goals and expectations. It helps them to revise and refine their practice.
Deciding on how to approach various problems
Planning helps children learn problem-solving and decision-making skills. It helps them to think creatively and critically. Through planning, they can divide problems into emotional, social, creative, cognitive, and physical.
Here are 5 planning skills you can teach your children.
Think of the big picture
Tell your child that planning is always for the bigger picture and nor for short-term gains. Tell them to begin with the end in mind as that that should be the ultimate goal and that will motivate them enough to plan.
- Connect the dots
Once your child sees the bigger picture, then it’s time for you to help him/her connect the missing pieces in order to achieve their goal. You can contribute with smaller steps such as researching on the net or share your knowledge.
- Give a deadline
One of the biggest factors that help people in achieving success is they give themselves a deadline and work toward achieving their goals. For children, homework is the best way to start working with deadlines. Give your child a homework deadline if they don’t set one for themselves. The concept of giving them a deadline actually works wonders as it helps them plan to finish off the homework within the deadline.
- Assemble necessary essentials
If you want to complete a task on time, then you need to have the essential materials. All successful people have one thing in common-they assemble the necessary materials before starting work or gather them on the way. They are better prepared. In the case of your child, if he’s working on homework, keep all the books, stationery, and computer ready so that no time is wasted.
- Prioritize tasks
There are several things one does on a given day and one of the main challenges is to prioritize them in the order of importance. Teach your kids to plan their tasks so that their day becomes eventful and resourceful. They must do the most important thing first and move to the next only after completing the first one.
There’s an old saying, “Failure to plan is planning to fail.” This holds good for all of us and will remain so for generations to come. It’s very difficult to develop planning skills. Sometimes, even adults find it difficult to plan their day, let alone life. It’s something that we must teach our children to give them the best shot at being successful in academic and professional life.
If your child isn’t skilled at planning, it doesn’t mean he/she will not improve. He will improve and you need to have the patience and give him/her all the playful support. It may seem difficult at first for your child to work according to a plan due to their playful nature but that doesn’t mean he/she will not plan. In fact, you can start by planning the day for them and later on allow them to make a small list with few items in them. Later the list can include all the items that they need to accomplish during the day.