The puzzles are all done, board games have been played, the requisite family Tik Tok video has been published, and the novelty has plain worn off. Like every family across America, and virtually the entire world, you are trying to find purpose in the never ending time warp we have found ourselves unwillingly trapped in. Given our circumstances, adhering to a schedule seems a bit trivial, and down right aggravating. Many folks insist it’s the last thing we should be doing right now, promoting the belief that we shouldn’t put this added pressure on ourselves and our families.
Well, I’m here to tell you the exact opposite is not only true, but just what you, and your littles need. Many of you are already cursing out loud just reading this. Believe me, I hear ya! Now hear ME out.
First, kids thrive on schedules. Remember when they were young and you got them on a generally predictable schedule of meals, naps and play? Yes, yes, it took a bit of work, but once they got there life became much more manageable. Why? Because schedules provide predictability. For a child, this means reliability and dependability. Knowing what comes next provides great comfort to a child in general, and especially in this new world full of uncertainty. For a parent, it means you just might be able to handle the new 16 hour day of homeschooling, working from home, laundry, cooking, and (dare I say it?) a daily shower!
Second, it gives us all something to look forward to. Weekends for us meant movie nights, long walks with the dog, special yummy treats on Saturday nights, and big Sunday breakfasts. We’ve been robbed of soooo much to look forward to, so why not keep your weekend traditions going? Now before you get on your soapbox, I’m certainly not suggesting eliminating added fun during the week, as I realize we all need much more of that infused into our days, but Monday morning school work will feel much more manageable after a weekend break. A sense of time can be a fleeting thing to a kid. If you are constantly working through school work seven days a week, they will never feel like they got a break. And neither will you.
Third, for your brain this is essential for it’s proper functioning. A schedule gives you control in this world where you have none concerning what lies ahead. Look up any successful business guru’s top tips for success and you will find scheduling to be a top priority. This is for efficiency, creativity and productivity. You cannot handle fifth grade common core math, let alone novel ideas for a business plan with a distracted mind that is waffling between checking Instagram, the latest doomsday news, when you last ate (so you won’t feel so guilty on your way to the ice box), and laundry.
Finally, it is critical for your body to function at its top. Schedules generate good sleep patterns, proper digestion, lower stress and a healthier mindset. All of these have incredibly impactful parts to play in our immune system’s status. Beyond all else, a strong, healthy immune system is as valuable as an N95 mask in this day and age.
Now that you realize why it’s so important, it’s imperative that you consider the “how” to schedule. This is where you can, and frankly must, get creative. Include breaks for fun and silliness. Always doing work in the same area? Change it up. We now have our meals either outside or in our never before used dining room. Get extra work done on a Monday so a day later in the week can be a planned fun activity to look forward to. Consider your learning/work environment – make it clear of clutter and include niceties that make you happy to be there actually doing the work. At my desk is a nice candle and my favorite cozy blanket. My kids have their SnooperBear plush toys with their favorite essential oil blends for joyfulness right alongside their coveted stash of neon sticky notes.
Finally, if you are lucky enough to be sheltering in place with a significant other, set aside special kid-free time for you both. You just became a 24 hour parent, school teacher, friend, chef and housekeeper overnight. Give yourselves this time to unwind and release.