Remote Control Parenting {+ Timetable printables}

When my kids were young, I never imagine I would call home from work and check on whether my kids have done this or that or not do this or that. I saw one of my friends years back doing such remote control parenting and I secretly tell myself that perhaps I need not control my children this way.

Reality kicks in. Fast forward to 5 years later.

I make a pact with myself. No deliberate calls back home to check on whether they have done their homework, play their piano, stop watching TV, etc. The last thing I want is to have them hate receiving my calls from work. However, at times, I do call home to relay some messages to them like remember to bring the art file to school or let them know that I will be home late that night. Then before I put down the phone, I cannot resist but blurt out,”Did you play the piano today? How many hours of TV have you watched already? Go and study for your test tomorrow.”

What am I doing?

But.. but… How can I not check on this at work? I do not see them in the day time and I do not know what they are doing at home.

How many times when I reach home and check on the kiddos, they fail to complete what I have told them to? And when I find out their TV time is more than the allocated hours, I got mad.

This is the moment when I lament on being a working mum, again. It is difficult to not being physically at home and still ensure your kids DO what you want them to, it is even more challenging to ensure that they DO NOT do what you do not want them to. Caregivers can help out only that much and kids know whose buttons to push.

So, I decided to come out with a time-table for each of the children. I have to be frank. The time-table has a shelf life. After 1 month or so, no one follows them anymore. I have different sets of time-table at different stages. I have one for the new school term. I have one for the school holidays. I have one for the exams. We revisit the time-table several times in the year. So, this way, with the shelf life of 1 month, at least we cover half a year!

I need the time-table and I think the kids need it too.
With this, the kids are clear on what they are expected to do before or after school. I will know how much time they have spent on free play by checking on whether they have followed the time-table or not.

Below are 2 examples of time-tables we had used. Click on the link in captions to download the files.

As you can see, we allow limited technology time at home. I choose not to deprive the kids of some technology time in case when they do have their hands on technology in future, they may become unstoppable addicts.

This is how our timetable for holidays look like during my short SAHM days.

This is how our timetable for holidays look like during my short SAHM days. Click here to download this time-table if you wish to have one for yourself.

Timetable for school term

This is a 9 year old after school time table. The star you see here is for special activity. Click here to download this time-table if you wish to have one for yourself.

How do I trust the kids?

Doing assessment books is easy check. Because I get to mark them.

Reading would be challenging even though the kids do not lie about it. Really?? I choose to believe so, because they tell me the truth when they do not read. Unfortunately, reading is not my kids’ love and I still have to enforce this as an “assignment” in what many other kids find it an enjoyment.

Playing piano is easy check with the caregivers in the house. You cannot miss the melodic tunes from the piano.

TV time is challenging. No one does a check like me on TV time. I can only ensure they do what they need to do and estimate that they do not have much time for TV before or after school. I allow for an hour’s TV time during the day and another half an hour in the evening. Another option is parental control on TV. Well, till Kel remembers his cable TV password for that lock!

Hobby time or free play time like my girl’s never dying rainbow loom hobby has an after homework rule. They get to have that after finishing up their homework. It is hard to check on this as well. But as long as homework is done, spelling learnt and assignments given are completed, I would not go into minutes and seconds.

How do you ensure your kids’ time is well spent when you are working?

15 thoughts on “Remote Control Parenting {+ Timetable printables}

  1. Wow Christ, great minds think alike! I was just googling for timetables yesterday! Was thinking of doing up one to show the eldest his schedule including art class, Berries, etc. We also have a dLink camera at home, which you can access from your smart phone (and control the panning too). Maybe you could consider that to spy on the kids? Heehee

    • Maybe I know you are searching hehe! I hope the timetables are good reference for you. Feel free to download and edit, or share yours with me! I thought about the cam too, not too sure if it is a hassle to install one. However, I don’t really like the idea to monitor too much… feels so jittery, although will clear my doubts of what they really do at home. Thanks for the idea! Would consider that 😛

  2. I don’t even want to think about how it will be to be a working mum with kids coming home from school a lot earlier than me!!! That remote parenting must be hard… but at least your kids do well!

    • I will be looking forward to how you arrange for your kids when they go formal school, or are they already in? But the school timing and structure and parents’ working hours and culture is different in Finland, certainly more flexible and accommodating than here. It makes it worse that most of us work long hours. I miss my childhood days when my mum was always at home waiting for us to be home from school. If only my kids can enjoy the same privilege.

      • You’ill have to wait a few more years :): kids go to preschool at the age of 6, I think that is like 4 hours a day, but the preschool is at my kids current daycare and they provide daycare after the lessons with the same opening hours as now, so that won’t be a problem (but just as busy to get there to pick up right after work). School starts at 7, and that may become trickier as the first graders have school days that last 3-5 hours, may start between 8 and 10am (work starts earlier for most parents…) and afternoon care is not provided at all schools. Our kids future schools provides it at least now for first graders, let’s hope it stays like that. But after that remote parenting will occur unless you hire a baby sitter! But then I was alone or with my brother and cousin at home all afternoons when I was a child, and loved it, and I think I turned out pretty normal and not at all bitter even though I was “remote controlled” 🙂
        But you are right, our working days are shorter, and again when you have children in the first or second grade you have the legal right to cut back and work 80% like you can do when kids are under 3 (well, officially, in some work places cutting down would is difficult).

      • I was never home alone as a child. Maybe it’s not that bad but still I worry. I am a worry pot haha… I don’t think we will ever have a legal right to work 80% with kids in 1st, 2nd grades. It’s interesting to know such system works and so in favor of families. It’s a mindset and culture thing.

  3. This is one of my conundrums at the moment. For part time work it’s kind of, well how much can go wrong? 🙂 And with my parents looking after the kids in December it wasn’t a problem to trot off to work for however long and know they’d be ok. But it’s hard to leave the kids with a babysitter full time and also hard to find part time/flexible work here!

    For my work days last year I had a timetable for after school. It included rest/quiet time immediately after school, followed by outdoor play, followed by dinner, bath, getting ready for bed… and by that time my husband was home and would take it from there. There was no screen time because it was causing a lot of poor behaviour in ONE of my kids (I swear it fries some kids’ brains). So screen time was only when a parent was around to make sure it was limited and manage the aftermath. I had a list of quiet time activities and outdoor activities (and rainy day activities) to choose from and the kids chose their own.

    I have to agree I’ve never had luck sticking to a strict timetable but at least it gives a default plan so people have something to turn to!

    On the school holidays it was outings (usually Science Centre, maybe Botanic Gardens etc) instead.

  4. Kristy, I always love reading your blog because it brings me back to the time when my kids were little.
    I’m nominating you for the “One Lovely Blog” award. If you would like to accept the “rules” are posted on my blog. Congratulations!

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