Now that nurseries and schools have closed, you’ve got the kids to look after and most of us are working from home, ‘normal life’ can feel very far away. As hard as it may seem, developing and maintaining a routine for your family is more important than ever. Children thrive in a routine and guidance from UNICEF recommends that parents and children find the middle ground with a flexible but consistent daily routine to keep your family safe and sane throughout the pandemic. To help you through this difficult time, here are some practical tips on how to establish and maintain a routine during Covid-19 quarantine.
Draw up a plan
On Sunday afternoon, write up a schedule for the week. Include time every day for learning, free play and family time and let your little ones have a say in what they’re doing. Not only will this make it easier for them to stick to the plan, but it will also empower them to feel more confident in decision making and more secure in the midst of all this uncertainty.
Start the day right
We know, now that you don’t need to hurry them to nursery or school in the mornings, it’s tempting to let your kids lie in late. Keeping to a regular morning routine will help you start the day on the right foot as a family. Stick as closely as you can to their normal wake-up time and try and eat breakfast together as a family.
If your little ones would normally be at nursery, use mornings to help your child with their learning. From puzzles to shape sorters and even musical instruments, learning through play is the perfect way to manage stress levels while supporting your child’s development.
If you have school-age children with online learning tasks to complete, set them up with their own special space, like this table and chairs set. This can serve as a mini classroom to help them to distinguish between learning time and leisure time at home.
Keep afternoons flexible
Make the most of this unexpected extra time together by being flexible with your afternoons. To make the most of our one government sanctioned outdoor exercise, take little ones out for a walk in a pair of new shoes. Let their imaginations transport them beyond the four walls of your home with a ride-on toy and watch their minds invent new adventures with wooden toys like this Knights Castle and this Fairytale Palace.
Stick to a normal bedtime routine
Now more than ever, children need the anchor of a reliable bedtime routine. Help your little one drift off soundly to sleep with a regular bath time and be sure to wrap them up tightly afterwards in a super soft robe. Tuck them up in bed with their favourite soft toy and read them a bedtime story, just like you would usually do. Preserve these precious moments of normality – not only will it soothe your children in this period of profound uncertainty, but the ritual of putting them to bed will help you to unwind and relax at the end of what is sure to be a strange and stressful day.
Remember, while your children are sure to be your priority during this time, you cannot pour from an empty cup. As a parent and as a human being, your wellbeing is essential and whatever routine you decide to develop within your family should also be designed to help you to stay as grounded and as calm as possible.