two young kids and dad work from home during coronavirus

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Set a home schedule for kids’ sake during coronavirus

  • Routines help children set and achieve goals.
  • Chaotic and unpredictable environments make it harder for kids to develop important executive functioning skills.

A schedule and routine is especially important for children during uncertain times to help keep life less stressful and keep kids on track for school and developmental milestones. Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Occupational Therapist Kelsey Zander recommends adding structure to your day to bring a sense of normalcy to your life. A schedule and routine is especially important during uncertain times to help keep your life less stressful and keep kids on track for school and developmental milestones. My advice is to:

  • Establish expectations.

    Knowing what to expect and when helps reduce a child’s anxiety and stress, especially during uncertain times. Structure and routine also helps kids feel safe and secure.

  • Reduce power struggles and ease transitions.

    Looking at a schedule give kids another source of instruction rather than you, the parent, being the only source.

  • Manage time and stick to a plan.

    This avoids getting to the end of your day wondering what you did all day.

  • Develop and maintain healthy habits.

For example, stick to your normal school time morning routine. Keep moving and exercising and teach your kids healthy cooking habits.

Tips to implement a home schedule

Toddlers

Even young children are able to grasp the idea of a schedule. Use simple pictures rather than words to help your toddler understand.  Hold yourself accountable but be flexible. If your child is engrossed in a free play activity and you have the time, it’s OK to let them continue playing.

School age kids

Write down a list of general times and activities. Make sure school work is covered, but, don’t forget active and outdoor play, and family time.

Sample schedule

7 a.m.                  Breakfast

7:30 a.m.            Morning routine, daily hygiene tasks, get dressed

8:15 a.m.            Learning, school work and structured play activities

10:30 a.m.         Snack

10:45 a.m.         Free play

11:30 a.m.         Outdoor play

12:30 p.m.         Lunch

1 p.m.                Clean up

1:15 p.m.            Nap/quiet time for younger kids; learning, school work for older children

3 p.m.                 Snack

3:15 p.m.            Reading or Facetime with friends; additional school work or homework time, as needed

3:45 p.m.            Free play

4:30 p.m.            Meal prep; have kids help you in the kitchen or do other at home chores

5:30 p.m.            Dinner

6:30 p.m.            Family time

7:30 p.m.            Bedtime routine (pajamas, hygiene tasks, reading)

 

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