Managing Kids’ Schedules During COVID-19
Being at home with the kids can be such a blessing and a dream for many! At first, it may have been nice to have some family time, but as this continues it may seem less like a nice family vacation and more like a crazy house. Here are some tips to keep you from ripping your hair out:
Create a daily routine
Daily routines are helpful because they get everyone on the same page about what happens. Routines help bring predictability to a situation, and predictability supports sanity and good attitudes. Children thrive on routine and their usual routine has been obliterated, so it’s important to get a new one in place as soon as possible. Be open to adjusting the daily routine as necessary, because things may come up and you likely won’t get the schedule perfect the first time.
Get on the same page
Let your kids know this is not just a prolonged school day or vacation, it is a time to be productive and that education takes place outside of school. Kids need to understand it’s important to continue on with our lives in as normal a way as possible so that when this passes we can be prepared for what comes next.
Build-in time for creativity and exercise
Encourage them to practice skills like sports, music, or do things they love! Make time in the daily routine/schedule for doing a new project and getting their brains and bodies stronger. Mental and physical challenges will help them to focus not on being fearful or anxious about the situation, but on using this time at home to further their own lives.
Build-in social time
FaceTime or Facebook Messenger family members and friends, to keep up socialization and boost morale! Have fun in-person game nights with the family in your house, and orchestrate virtual game nights so they can stay connected with their friends. If your kids are younger do virtual “play dates” with their friends, and let them talk to family members over the phone or video chat.
Schedule screen time
It is tempting to just give your children free rein on screens all day, but screens can be harmful if not used in moderation and can lead to poor attitudes. It can be helpful for your children to know when is a good time to use them and when it’s time to be creative. If your children are using computers or tablets for school, make sure they take frequent breaks to stay active and to give their eyes and bodies a break from sitting and looking at screens.
Let them have a say
Instead of simply telling your kids how things are going to go, make it a conversation and let them have some input on their schedules if they are old enough. Like us, our kids like to have a semblance of control in their lives, and in this time where their lives have suddenly changed, they may have a better attitude if they get a say in what their day looks like.
Remember that our kids’ lives turned upside down too
Children can’t process changes like this in the same ways we can as adults, so they may not be on their best behavior. As the parent, guiding, staying calm, and having grace with them as they also learn to navigate this uncertain, isolating time in life is essential to their health and wellness, as well as the entire family’s. Stay in communication with them about what’s happening and how they are doing with it, and what you can do to help.
Our children absorb the things we say, do, and feel, so create as positive an atmosphere as possible. Turn off the news and spend time together! Talk about things they want to do or are excited for, and encourage them to take advantage of this time to do things that further their dreams and passions.