The last two weeks have been crazy. I can’t believe everything that’s happened…at times it’s felt scary and surreal. I haven’t been too panicked or scared to this point, which I think mostly comes from my faith in God and knowing that God is in control and I really have nothing to fear as long as I am following and trusting in Him. For those of you who know Him, I’m sure you can relate. For those who don’t or have questions/doubts, this could be a great time to reflect on that and seek God and/or answers through His Word. If you’re looking for some reassurance during this time, check out Phillippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” But enough of the preaching…I just felt the need to share that.
During this time it’s important that your kids don’t sense fear or panic from you. This could be a long road ahead and we don’t want them to remember this as a terrible, scary time if we can help it. We need to stay calm and be strong for them. I realize that may be easier said than done. One thing that can help give kids a feeling of security is a regular routine.
We have three girls ranging in ages from 9 to 13. My husband is working from home for at least the next two weeks, as am I. After Day 1 of Coronavirus break we quickly realized we needed to put a schedule in place for the kids or else this was going to be a 3+ week free-for-all of chaos, laziness, fighting and more. Without a structured routine, the girls would be sleeping in late, on their electronic devices for unlimited amounts of time, beds wouldn’t be made, lunch may not be eaten until 2 or 3 (if at all) and I might just lose my mind along the way. Depending on the ages of your kids, your personal/household rules, bedtimes, family routines and your child’s online school learning during the time off, everyone’s schedules may look a little different. Now that our kids are older we expect them to be responsible for more things like making their own breakfast and lunch, etc, which definitely helps and makes it easier for us. Here is the schedule and routine that we came up with:
This was a collaborative effort. My husband and I each came up with a schedule along with one of my daughters. We compared them all, got input from all the girls and then came up with the final schedule. I wrote it out on a large flip chart sheet and posted it on our back door so it’s in plain view. I also typed it up and printed out an electronic copy to put on the refrigerator. Our schedule allows for some flexibility to give the kids some control over things so they can make some choices on their own about what to do during certain time periods. Also, one rule that we put in place is that the girls are not to be reminding each other or telling on each other if they aren’t following the schedule exactly. It’s everyone’s job to follow the schedule on their own. It’s my job to monitor them and if someone is “cheating” the schedule, they will lose their screen time privileges later that day or the next day or have some other consequences. It’s only Day 2 of using the schedule, but it actually went really well! I know each day will hold its own set of challenges and it won’t always go exactly according to plan, but it should help our days go by more smoothly and with more purpose. This isn’t to say that we won’t take a break from the schedule, or parts of it, on weekends or some days of “spring break” when they can have a day or two to sleep in and do some binge watching or etc. (Unfortunately, since it isn’t an option to go places and do things this spring break, binge watching seems like it may be one of the only fun/entertainment options we have unless we happen to get some nice weather and can go outside for some fun.)
I’m going to try and stick to a schedule for myself as well. My typical routine is to go to the YMCA and workout after the girls get on the bus for school. Since I can’t do that for now, I am still going to try to get up early and go for a run in the morning so I can start my day on the right foot. I feel like if it starts off right, things seems to fall into place.
During this break I challenge you to come up with a schedule for your own family. I also encourage you to give your kids responsibilities for things around the house during this break, which will help both you AND them. I hope this helps and would love to see the schedule you come up with for your family if you would like to share!!