Creating Routine for Children During Coronavirus Uncertainty

Creating Routine for Children During Coronavirus Uncertainty

By April 21, 2020 home, home schooling No Comments

Life as we know it has been flipped upside down. As a parent, a typical day used to revolve around getting your kids to school, picking them up, taking them to playdates or after-school activities, being present for sporting events or performances, etc. – as well as work and household chores. The global pandemic has completely changed the day-to-day lives for most of the people in the world and what used to be normal is now an idle daydream at least for the near-term future.

For the time being, it’s no longer possible to plan ahead in the way that we’re used to. Planning our day is about the most control we get to have right now. Think about why schedule and routine are so important for you: the predictability creates a sense of security and makes it easier to be productive. The same is even more true for children – especially in the face of these ever more uncertain times. Maintaining a daily routine for kids while we shelter in place provides structure and clear expectations that will help them to feel safe while navigating this unprecedented situation.

Why Routines Are Good for Children

A sense of security isn’t the only benefit to building a good routine for kids. Many negative behaviors, particularly in younger children, are the result of hunger or tiredness. A schedule helps ensure children are eating and sleeping sufficiently, therefore reducing outbursts. Establishing routine also creates a calmer household environment and gives you the opportunity to establish daily or weekly family traditions, such as a story before bed or a special family meal.

When you include your child in the act of creating a routine, it gives them the opportunity to exercise a measure of control over their life and begin to establish good habits. Time management is a skill that becomes increasingly more important the older kids get. The sooner kids learn how to set and stick to a schedule, the more practice they will have with time management by the time they reach higher education and/or a career.

What Makes a Good Daily Routine

Good daily routines start with mealtimes and bedtimes, as nutrition and sleep set the foundation for your child’s health and success. A healthy daily routine for students, especially, begins with a good night’s sleep and nutritious breakfast to promote focus and energy throughout the day. You can then fill in the rest of your child’s daily activities in order of importance, including schoolwork, chores, etc.

A good schedule should be flexible to accommodate breaks and fun activities. It’s a good idea to use blocks of time (for example, thirty minutes or one hour) rather than designating specific hours of the day. This enables you to make spontaneous adjustments if your child is feeling overwhelmed and needs to switch activities without adding pressure due to “missed” work time.

Now, let’s look at some daily routine examples for students to be successful while doing distance learning!

Daily Routines for Preschoolers

This is an example of a preschooler daily routine:

  • Wake up
  • Eat breakfast – 30 minutes
  • Learning activity – 1 hour
  • Snack/free play – 30 minutes
  • Learning activity – 30 minutes
  • Outdoor/physical activity – 30 minutes
  • Read aloud – 30 minutes
  • Arts/crafts – 30 minutes
  • Lunchtime/free play – 40 minutes
  • Naptime – 30 minutes
  • Easy learning activity/review – 30 minutes
  • Break/snack – 15 minutes
  • Learning activity – 30 minutes
  • Free play – 1 hour
  • Help with chores – 30 minutes
  • Screen time – 30 minutes
  • Free play – 30 minutes
  • Help prepare dinner – 30 minutes
  • Dinner – 1 hour
  • Family time – 1 hour
  • Nighttime routine (bath, read a book, wind down) – 1 hour

Keep in mind that these blocks of time can be shifted around to adapt to your child’s unique needs throughout the day.

Daily Routines for School-Age Children

This is an example of a student daily routine for elementary and middle school students:

  • Wake up
  • Eat breakfast – 30 minutes
  • Schoolwork – 2 hours
  • Break/snack – 30 minutes
  • Schoolwork – 1.5 hours
  • Lunch break – 40 minutes
  • Schoolwork – 2 hours
  • Free time – 2 hours
  • Chores – 1 hour
  • Free time – 1 hour
  • Dinner – 1 hour
  • Family time – 1 hour
  • Nighttime routine (bath, read a book, wind down) – 1 hour
  • Bedtime

Younger children that are new to distance learning may have more excess energy at the end of the day from spending more time than usual on the computer throughout the day. Be mindful of allowing for additional physical activity at the end of the day, such as playing outside or taking walks as a family (note: only engage in outdoor activity as it is safe to do so. Always follow CDC Guidelines).

Daily Routines for Teenagers

This is an example of a teenager’s daily routine for distance learning:

  • Wake up
  • Eat breakfast – 30 minutes
  • Schoolwork – 2 hours
  • Break/snack – 30 minutes
  • Schoolwork – 1.5 hours
  • Lunch break – 1 hour
  • Schoolwork – 2 hours
  • Free time – 2 hours
  • Chores – 1.5 hours
  • Dinner – 1 hour
  • Family/personal time – 1 hour
  • Nighttime routine (finish chores or schoolwork, shower, wind down) – 1 hour
  • Bedtime

Some teenagers, especially those with younger siblings, may feel more stress and pressure during this time. If you notice that your teenager is having trouble staying focused for extended periods of time, feel free to break schoolwork and breaks into smaller chunks of time (of course, be mindful of your child’s school schedule if there are designated times they need to be present in an online lesson).

Conclusion

It’s natural to feel anxious, afraid, and even overwhelmed when forces beyond your control create major upheaval in your life. Establishing a daily routine with your children can go a long way toward restoring a sense of normalcy and security to your everyday life. Developing and maintaining a schedule makes children feel safer by providing for basic needs like sufficient sleep and making clear what’s expected of them, as well as giving them the opportunity to develop important time management skills.

Being in quarantine can feel isolating, but remember: you are NOT alone! Reach out to your friends and community for support and encouragement when you need to. The caring educators at La Jolla LearningWorks are here to help with distance learning educational support. Contact us to learn more about how we can help your student stay on top of their schoolwork and excel academically while distance learning.

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