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Routines give children predictability. Predictability is one of the major things that help calm the human stress response system - knowing what’s going to happen and when. Routines are reassuring and promote health and physical well being.
Routines aren’t about time for children. Adults live by clocks, children tend to live by rhythm. Rhythm being - having dinner, having a bath, having a story read, then going to sleep. This is a rhythm routine for a child.
It’s important for a child’s routine that they get up at a similar time, go to bed at a similar time and have meal times at similar times. All routines help children feel safe and secure.
If your routine has been shaken up, like you are now working from home, it’s good to structure your time. The below timetables (targeted at children) are examples that could be something your household adapts to use over the next few weeks. A school holiday version will likely look a little different, but some form of routine will still be important as we go through the lockdown period.
Remember, you’ve got this! There is not a race to learning. You do not need to pick up where your child’s teacher has left off. Your child’s intellectual and academic learning is not at risk. Learning and development is a long and fluid process. Remember that all of our children are in the same boat. When your child returns to school their teachers will pick up and move on from where they are at. Instead of focussing solely on trying to improve your child’s reading age or maths ability, try focussing on things that are going to create joy, strengthen your connection and your child’s sense of belonging in your family. This is what’s going to stick with your child long after this lockdown period.
With the school-based tasks your child has been given to complete, avoid the ‘battleground’ and give them options and support to do this. When you are helping your child with their learning, keep it light hearted and fun, continue to build your child’s positive perception of themselves as a learner. Everyday life offers so many opportunities for our children to develop their language and communication skills. Spoken language is our greatest asset in future learning. Learning at home is as easy as 1,2,3; talking, playing and sharing a story. Plus, daily chores and responsibilities of course! The activities we suggest offer a pleasure bridge to future reading and writing.
Screen time - With us being in lockdown for at least four weeks, this could be where there may be a real tendency to let kids be on the screens all the time. It’s important for your child’s mental health, that screen time is limited and mixed in with plenty of offscreen activities as well.
Have fun and reassure your children that life will return to normal, that they are loved and safe and that we are all doing the right thing to look after each other.
Examples of Daily Schedules you could use or model off
*Adapted from a resource developed by Jessica McHale Photography