Daily routines and structure help kids feel calm and safe. But when schools are closed, your job is in flux and fear is widespread, how can parents create structure at home? In these uncertain times, maintaining routines, family connection and calm is more important than ever.
This weekend, my family created our daily routine for the coming weeks. Since school is closed, my kids are excited to sleep a little later in the morning so I can get a jump start on working from home. After breakfast, they will do school work, practice music and small chores around the house. After lunch, they’ll head outside to get some exercise and fresh air. Then, they can work on fun projects and have some screen time. In the evenings, we’re planning game nights, movie nights and other fun activities to connect and relax.
|March 2020 COVID 19 – Social Distancing Family Schedule|
|Mom work time|
|Kids eat breakfast, do school work, practice music, finish chores. Mom work time.|
|Kids eat lunch, go outside, do fun projects and screen time. Mom finishes her work.|
|Evening||Dad home, dinner and family activity (game night, movie night, etc)|
I realize this sounds regimented, but since my kids helped to create the plan, they are comfortable with it. And I’m feeling relieved that I will be able get my work done with kids at home. A little structure is helping all of us feel more settled. And of course, we’ll all need to be flexible and adjust the plan as needed.
Here are a Six Tips to Create Family Routines, Connection and Calm in Uncertain Times:
- Create a family routine (be sure to include input from your kids!)
- Connect at dinnertime with meaningful conversations (see family dinner topic ideas)
- Schedule time to relax and have fun (game night, movie night, etc)
- Set ground rules for screen time – With no school and parents needing to get work done, screen time can easily get out of hand. Setting rules for screen time, such as finishing school work, chores and other activities first, can help create balance.
- Hold family meetings to keep the peace (see family meeting format) – Tons of family time and elevated stress levels are likely to increase tension at home. Family meetings are a great way to open the lines of communication and keep the peace
- Check-in with kids to explore emotions – This is a stressful time for everyone, especially kids. Find quiet moments to check in and help your kids explore their feelings. Validating emotions is key to connecting with your kids.
Take care and be sure to reach out to others for help during this uncertain time. We are all in this together!