Is there anything better than a snow day? You sleep in, wear your pajamas until noon, let the kids play a little too much Xbox and graze on junk food. It’s fine because it’s just for one day, right? Well, what happens when you are suddenly looking at days, weeks, or months of unstructured time at home?
That’s the situation facing families around the world as cancellations, closures, and the need for social distancing force growing numbers of parents and children to work, learn, and hunker down at home for the foreseeable future. While kids may have initially greeted this unplanned school vacation with glee, it can also be a real source of anxiety and stress. Kids are used to a routine, and familiarity is comforting.
As we all try to navigate this unique parenting challenge together, we’re sharing some of the best advice we’ve seen on how to create a daily routine that will keep all this downtime from turning into lost time.
Revisit the house rules.
Send them outside!
Make sure that your daily routine includes outside time every day. Kids are missing out on recess, gym class, and organized sports, and while it’s hard to replicate many of those experiences at home, the spring weather offers increasing opportunities to get some fresh air and exercise and take a break from the house. While observing social distancing rules, kids can still walk the dog, go for a run, ride their bike, shoot hoops in the driveway, or join you on a nature walk or hike.
Finally, be flexible.
With all the talk about schedules, rules, and routines, it’s important to stay responsive to everyone’s needs. Incorporate more outside time on the days when everyone is getting stir crazy and relax the technology rules occasionally if the kids need a break (or you do!) Many parents are building a free choice time block in their child’s daily schedule where they can take a deep dive into a topic they want to learn more about. This is a great time to encourage some self-directed learning and discovery. For most families, the usual hectic pace of life doesn’t allow a lot of time for free choice, so view this as an opportunity for them to learn, build, explore, practice, and create.