This is tip 10 in a series from pediatrician Dr. Ray Fabius for families on maintaining health and wellness at home or on the front lines. Find more tips and actionable advice on our Dr. Ray resource page.
A tip for maintaining children’s schedules
Everyone benefits from a normal daily cadence. Children become accustomed to the rhythm your family has established, even if it means parents going to work while they go to daycare, preschool, or grade school. When the schedule changes suddenly everyone can be thrown for a loop, especially children.
During this health emergency when so many families are staying home, it’s important to explain to children in open, honest terms why changes to their schedules have happened so they can feel reassured that someone is in control. Under the present circumstances, establishing a new daily schedule can calm anxieties the family may be experiencing. KinderCare provides some great examples of daily schedules (and the curriculum to accompany them) in weekly at-home learning guides.
Educational activities to help children understand
A note that these activities might best be enjoyed by school-age children.
- Establish a daily schedule together and post it to the refrigerator. Outline the best time to wake up and the best time to go to bed. This is an easy starting point, because it’s best to remain on the schedule you had! These are your new schedule’s constants.
- Make time to unwind. Be sure to have fun together! Decide as a family the best way to spend family time and the best time for fresh air, exercise, and meals.
- Create limits on screen time and take advantage of yards, gardens, books, and crafts. Make it clear that family time will be spent doing fun activities together. Ask for suggestions from your children what they’d like to do during family time. Try something new weekly or more often.
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to the news, including social media, while children are around. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
- Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try some new healthy wellness habits for your family.
- Connect with others. Even though we’re physical social distancing, you can still find fun ways to communicate with loved ones from a safe distance.
Resources to learn more about this topic