Many of us are thinking the same thing at this moment. How are we supposed to manage our schedules in the ever-changing world we live in right now? Kids are starting school with a mix of online and in person learning. Parents are juggling going into work, working from home, kids doing school from home, chores, couple time, family time, alone time, and all while still trying to have a bit of normalcy and fun in all the chaos. My hope is that I can give you some ideas for how to create and manage a new schedule that brings a sense of balance and consistency for this upcoming year. Whether your kids will be attending school online or face to face, forming a dependable and reliable routine for home time that also incorporates your own self-care is incredibly important.
When creating a schedule, incorporate kids in the decisions by asking what is important to them to include on the schedule. If they are doing school from home, ask them what time of day works better for them to do some of their schoolwork when they do not have specific times they will be in online classes. What time would they like their snack? What time would they like some playtime? Having these little decisions will help create some control in their world which helps to decrease anxiety.
For younger kids, having a clear schedule that is put in a central location is helpful. Color-coded sections for them highlight their value in the family and what each can expect (you don’t have to use this, just maybe add something about what this does for kids). Some parents use a clock that has color coded sections like the following picture. Each section has a label associated with it and this helps for kids that cannot tell time.
For teens, sometimes you do not need to have a complete set schedule but having set expectations is helpful. If they have some freedom with when they can complete their school-work, some of these expectations can be:
- By 9 am you are up, showered, and you have had breakfast
- By 11 am you have finished 2 assignments
- By 1 pm you have eaten lunch and finished one more assignment
- By 4 pm you have finished your work for the day and you have done some sort of exercise
This not only helps our teens have some control with proper limits but helps them learn how to time manage on your own with your guidance.
Even in an unpredictable world, we can have set family fun time! This is something that all of you can look forward to after a long school and work week. You can set a movie night every Friday starting at 6pm. You order pizza, pick a movie, build a fort, and enjoy time with each other!
No matter what this year brings, the most important things are to be consistent when you can, give choices when possible, and to be sure to make time for fun!