With lockdown now in full swing, most people will have experienced some changes to their weekly schedule. The kids are home from school and as parents, you may also be working from home. But by implementing some of these methods on how to create and stick to a weekly plan, you may start to find this uncertain time a little easier.
We all know how important structure is in a child's life - and now you may feel as though the previous routines and schedules that you took so long perfecting have gone out the window! So, how can you help to ease the stress of planning your time during the lockdown? Well, we're here to help with 6 ways that parents can help bring back some structure into their week and to create a 'new normal' weekly plan for their family.
Make the most of your weekends
Although it can feel daunting to think about the weeks ahead of homeschooling, working, getting jobs done (and just trying to have some time to yourself), it may help to create something to look forward to on the weekends. This could be something that you normally do as a family but altered to suit social distancing... perhaps a picnic or barbecue in the garden? The main point here is that you try to make the weekends feel different from the weekdays before they begin to merge into the 'every day'. Planning a fun and exciting weekend will help you to focus on what you have got rather than what you are being denied - and this will only help to alleviate any stresses! It will also ensure that every week leaves you feeling refreshed and ready for the next.
Make the most of having extra quality family time
Although it is easier to think about the obvious drawbacks and negatives of lockdown, remember that this could be a rare opportunity to spend some extra quality time together. Try to use this time to slow down from your normal fast-paced life and make some memories with your children! By adding in family time to your weekly schedule, you will find the time to do things that you never thought you'd have time to do... click here to find some ideas from fellow Kidadlers!
Also, remember that the kids will be missing their relatives too! Reach out to their cousins, aunties or grandparents through video calls to reassure them that we're all in the same boat. Bringing back this interaction will help them to feel more settled and secure during this time of unknowns. The main point here is to remember that although this lockdown may feel inconvenient, it is possible to make the most of the present situation.
Stick with your morning rituals
There may no longer be a strict timescale to which you must stick to, but pretending that there is could just set you up properly for the day. So, whether you normally make the kids breakfast at 7:45am, or whether you usually get up for an early morning pre-work jog, make sure to carry on doing so during this lockdown period. Your new school-drop-off or commute may now consist of walking downstairs, as opposed to a 20-minute drive, and this may tempt you to lie-in. But by adopting this mindset and maintaining your usual morning timings, you're sure to feel more motivated throughout the day.
Dress up for dinner
If you're finding staying at home boring and demotivating, you may just need a simple dress-up-dinner to lift your spirits! Ever heard of the 'fake it til you make it' strategy? Well, try to utilise this and fake going out for a fancy meal with the family - but at home! The quickest, easiest and cheapest way to spruce up a Thursday night at home is to put on some music, have a drink and do your make up for dinner. Encourage the kids to put on their favourite clothes and remember to take lots of photos - that way you'll have memories to look back on to remind you that you nailed lockdown together!
Introduce daily tasks for the kids
For anyone who may be struggling to fill their time, this will be the most important tip on the list! After all, the shutdown of schools and extracurricular activities will have left your kids feeling like it's the summer holidays already... but housebound and unable to see their friends. This will put even more pressure on you to entertain them when you would usually look to invite friends round or go out for the day.
Children would undoubtedly be left feeling restless and frustrated if left to their own devices at this time, so try to emulate a routine which is similar to their term-time one - to ensure that their minds are kept busy! Every household will have their own unique set of rules and chores for the kids to get involved with, so make sure to uphold these, but maybe also try to introduce some new ones. Things to include could be: time for subject studies, limited screen time, indoor and outdoor playtime (weather dependant), learning new skills and involvement in doing some household chores. If you're struggling to find fun and educational things to do to entertain them, remember that there is a whole myriad of online lessons available - for example, these science lessons found on Kidadl.
Try to keep your sleep routines intact!
Whilst sleeping may not be an issue for some, others might be experiencing issues - from nightmares to waking up multiple times or struggling to get to sleep. Whichever category you fall into, establishing a proper sleep routine can only be beneficial, so at this time of uncertainty, try introducing some of these techniques! Most experts will advise to reduce screen time, meditate, or read at least an hour before bedtime. Or, trying doing this with your little ones at, say - 7pm, (before their bedtime) and it will then help you to feel relaxed for the rest of the evening!
Although it is perfectly normal to feel that you need to use this time to catch up on lost hours or 'sleep debt', try not to let this creep into your everyday routine - a few nights of catch up should be sufficient! Whilst life after lockdown is still anything but certain, one thing that you can control is your sleep routine and if you manage to regulate that well, you and your family may leave quarantine feeling generally less tired and more productive!
If you're looking for some fun activities, you can also join #kidadldaily, where we're releasing a new activity every day.
Originally from Bournemouth, Annabelle spent her childhood travelling and exploring. She moved to Bahrain at the age of 13 and then to London at 19 where she attended Chelsea College of Arts, UAL. She loves all things creative - especially if they involve recycling materials, as this is what she is most passionate about. Aside from art, Annabelle also enjoys walking her dogs and cooking for friends and family.