I don’t know about all of you out there, but I’m just now finally getting into a rhythm regarding COVID-19 and social distancing. I can’t tell if it’s a bad thing that it’s taken me this long to get adjusted or if the bad thing is that I have adjusted. I try not to spend a lot of time worrying about it. Que Sera, Sera, right?
The funny thing is, one of the first things I did after social distancing and quarantine went into effect was work to establish a new routine for my daughter. I knew that with school closing and stay-at-home policies, her daily life would be up-ended. We hopped into her new routine in under a week and she’s been cruising along ever since. Why didn’t I make my own new routine? Who knows? Dad brain, right?
I know there are a lot of other parents out there, struggling to find solid ground since Coronavirus hit. I’m here to offer up a few tips for getting kids into a routine that provides them the structure and reliability they need to make it through COVID-19. Here’s what we did almost immediately:
- Maintain bedtime and wakeup times. My daughter will stay in bed until noon if I let her! She usually gets up at 7am for school on the weekdays and 8am on the weekends. She may not like it, but this schedule is familiar to her, so it’s the one we stuck with. One less change.
- Plan the day. Between distance education, virtual play dates, exercise time and meals, there’s still a full day’s worth of stuff to do. I sat down and made a schedule for her day and get her into that system from the get-go. Sure, there’s change, but it comes with familiar structure she’s used to.
- Delineate days of the week. When you don’t leave the house, days run together. I set up a schedule that delineates days. We do certain activities on certain days. Certain chores on certain days. Friday feels like Friday and the weekend feels like a weekend should. It helps the days from becoming monotonous.
- Stick to the schedule. I do everything I can to keep my daughter on the schedule I created. If we run behind, we adapt. The point is, like the school environment, she can look forward to doing certain things at specific times. There’s a reasonable framework for her to follow that she’s comfortable with.
- Keep communication open. Part of our day used to be talking about the school day after school. Now, we make time to talk about different things. After dinner we talk—anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 or 40—about general topics that are on her mind. We may not be talking about school, but this is a familiar routine for her.
For the most part, my daughter’s daily schedule hasn’t been too up-ended. Sure, a lot has changed, but thanks to her new routine, the change is less jarring. There’s still structure for her to understand.
Me? Well, that’s a different story. It seems like every day is a new schedule and an uncertain prospect. Thankfully I have some stability thanks to her schedule. I’m slowly using it to build out my own. Wish me luck!