Coronavirus quarantine has made daily life feel very different for most of us. But according to Dr. Peter Gorski of Harvard Medical School, knowing what to expect from daily life can develop a child’s confidence. A regular schedule can also reduce their stress and help them gain greater self-control.
A schedule is also critical for parents who are working from home during this time. Ensuring that your children’s needs are met is important, but a schedule will also help you manage your work responsibilities.
Here are some ways you can introduce a schedule into what may be a hectic time during quarantine.
Try to wake up, eat, and go to sleep at the same times
Sleeping and eating are two of the biggest constants in a child’s life, so ensuring they happen at the same time each day can go a long way in giving your child a reliable sort of schedule. Try to keep your morning, nap, and bedtime routines as close to normal as possible, and stick to the same times for meals, even if the meals themselves might not be as complex as they used to be.
Set aside time for play and going outdoors
Children learn through play, and it’s also an important opportunity for them to develop motor skills and stay healthy. Even though playgrounds and parks may be closed, try to get outside for a little while each day while maintaining proper social distance. You can walk around the block, or set up an obstacle course in your backyard. Whether it’s scheduled or spontaneous, it’s another important regular event your child can look forward to.
Schedule activities in age-appropriate blocks of time
Older children are better able to work independently for longer periods of time, while younger children have shorter attention spans. Plan your child’s schedules in blocks of time that will set them up to succeed. If you have an older child, they may be able to help keep your younger child entertained as well.
Give your children their own tasks to work on
In times when you need to focus on your own work, you might be able to give your child their own special projects to work on during the day. For example, you can ask your preschooler to color or draw while you’re working. Older children can feel included by helping you do things such as sorting paperwork or putting stamps on envelopes. Setting up a workspace of their own near you can help them as well.
Above all, remain patient and flexible. No two days are alike in quarantine, so do what you can to maintain a schedule, even if it’s a looser one than usual.