How to Manage Kids' Schedules in Times of COVID-19
These unprecedented times have led to a lot of chaos and confusion in many peoples’ lives around the world. If you are one of those who still feels lost in this crazy time, know that you are not alone! As kids go back to school, start online school, or switch to homeschooling, everyone is adjusting. One of the best things we can do is keep our kids’ schedules as consistent and predictable as possible, to give our children and families a sense of normalcy. As such, here are some ideas to help manage your kids’ schedules during COVID-19.
Involve your kids
Talk to your kids about things they want to accomplish this year, things they want to get better at, etc. Then, make those things a priority! In addition to academics, make sure they know you value their other gifts, talents, passions, hobbies. Next, have the kids tell you when their favorite time is to do that activity, and work together to make specific time in your family’s schedule for those activities. Instead of simply making a schedule yourself, grab a calendar or poster board and involve the whole family! This takes pressure off of you, and will help children learn time management and will give them a sense of freedom and responsibility.
Align your schedules
Align your schedule as much as possible with your childrens’ -- for example, when they are at school or working on school work, you work; when you’re cleaning, have them doing chores and cleaning; when they are playing or having free time, make that your time to sit down with a book and take a break. This makes it easier to flow together and be on the same page as a family, and when you are doing something hard it makes your kids more likely to do their hard things too.
Try Block Scheduling
Block scheduling is a way to have structure and routine without feeling like you have to keep to a rigid structure and hold your kids accountable to every hour of every day. Instead, it provides timeframes for your children and family in which to complete work/homework, as well as making sure to enjoy the fun stuff. You can break this schedule down further if you’d like, but leaving large chunks gives the freedom for kids to decide what they want to work on first. Example block schedule for kids at home (can easily adjust for kids in school):
7-8am Morning routine (breakfast, brush teeth, etc)
8-12 School work/parent work
12-1 Lunch and cleanup
1-3 Outside play/free time/catch-all time for parents
3-5 Errands/sports practice
5-7 Dinner and cleanup
7-8:30 Family time
8:30-9 Kids bedtime routine
9-10pm Parents’ time
You can put your time blocks into an Excel spreadsheet, color-code the blocks, and print it out and hang it where everyone can see it so everyone is on the same page. You can also make different block schedules for different days, only block the weekdays and leave complete freedom on the weekends, or whatever variation works for your family. Getting these blocked times on the schedule allows for specific times in which to get things done, and takes the stress off of having to figure out when you’ll fit something in.
No matter what you choose, be sure to have grace with yourself and your children as you adjust your schedules to your family, and your family to your schedules.