Before the pandemic, your daily routine with the kids probably looked very different.
You woke up early, got dressed, had breakfast, dropped the kids off at daycare or school, and headed to work. You probably didn’t think much about your routine —it was second nature.
Enter Covid-19 to halt that routine in its tracks.
Almost a year in, uncertainty still lingers in the air and many parents continue to search for their groove. But although — or perhaps because — parents around the world may feel like they’re tripping uphill on a treadmill, it’s so important to cultivate a routine — and it’s one of the keys to helping them weather these stressful, uncertain times.
Creating Calm During Uncertainty: Why Structure is Key
Children thrive on structure. Familiar, reliable daily routines teach them to constructively manage their actions, emotions, and the world around them. In times of uncertainty, routines are reassuring — an invisible comfort blanket when they need it most.
Like parents, children have been through a lot in the last year. They’ve had to adapt to spending more time at home, missing their friends, and coming to the realization that Mom and Dad are not always available — even if they’re working away in the next room.
While your family routine probably won’t be as organized as it was in the Before Times, you can still create a daily weekday schedule. It’s a small, but vital, way to keep kids organized, happy and healthy.
How to Provide a Familiar Routine for Your Child
The key to creating a routine during periods of uncertainty is to start off slowly: Don’t try to cram too much in — it’s unrealistic, and it’s a surefire way to give up. Keep your eye on the big picture: helping your child feel loved and cared for, enriched and stimulated, and stable and secure during a particularly difficult time.
Below: five concrete ways you can create a daily routine for kids during the pandemic.
- Maintain separate schedules: Set different schedules for weekdays and weekends. Young children do better with plans during the week and flexibility on weekends. Differentiating between the two will help break up the monotonous and keep things spontaneous and fun.
- Set regular wake-up and bedtimes: Some children viewed the beginning of the pandemic as an extended summer vacation — exciting in the short term, but not great for sleep schedules in the long term. By sticking to regular morning and bedtime routines, your kids will have an easier time staying on track throughout the week.
- Follow the timeline set by child care: Sure, you may not be leaving the house, but that doesn’t mean your day needs to look like pandemonium. Be sure to follow the same schedule your children did when they were at child care. That means setting aside time for various early learning activities, taking breaks at mealtimes and for snacks, and being diligent about naps.
- Exercise and socialize: Dance! Jump! Take a walk! Whatever gets you moving, it’s critical that parents help their children get enough exercise during this time. Even an in-home game of hide-and-seek will do the trick — it’ll do wonders for kids’ mental health (and yours). Social connection is also vital. While playdates are few and few between these days, connect with other parents to set up virtual meet-ups for the kids over Zoom or FaceTime.
- Get your child involved: Depending on your kids’ ages, you can involve them in the process. Ask them what kind of activities they do — and most enjoy — at preschool or daycare, and how they want to spend their free time. Develop a “routine chart” to track daily activities.
While things might not run perfectly every day, having a routine will make a noticeable difference in how your child responds to the pandemic. It will make them feel calm and reassured, and it will provide them with a growing sense of confidence.
Vivvi: Supporting Families During the COVID-19 Pandemic
At Vivvi, we get it: pulling triple-duty as a child care provider and full-time working parent is no easy feat. That’s why we’re here to help.
Our New York campuses are open, and we’re ready to welcome your children in a safe, warm, enriching environment. Our campuses are deep cleaned every evening; teachers undergo daily health checks, as well. If you’re still unsure about onsite care, be sure to check out Vivvi In-Home, which brings our experienced teachers right to you. Your children will have individualized, age-appropriate care built upon the Vivvi Learning Model — and they never need to set foot out of the house.
For more information or to schedule a virtual tour of campuses, contact our team.