Set a Routine For You (and Your Family)

Your school days leave behind many lessons and memories—and also routines. Thanks to your early days in the classroom, you learned about manners, time management, scheduling, and more.

Taking that structure of the school day into your adult life can be a way to add balance, especially in times of uncertainty. With the global COVID-19 pandemic closing schools and offices, you likely find yourself with new coworkers. Your partners, children, and pets are all in this new normal with you. Having a consistent routine can help you all adapt.

Even if you are not physically leaving for the office or sending your children to school, try to keep your routine as close to “normal” as possible. Doing so will make you—and all members of your family—feel cared for and safe.

Need some guidance? Here are four ways to get back on a schedule while working from home.

Start and end your day early. The weekend and weekdays can feel interchangeable when we don’t go into the office. But a lack of a commute or bus pickup isn’t an excuse to stay up late. Try to keep your household bedtimes the same, and wake up with plenty of time for a fresh start, so that you don’t feel rushed and you don’t develop bad self-care or productivity habits.

You may also find that you (and your little ones) want to sleep in or grab a nap. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you need to take a rest, which is natural in a time of stress. Still, try to find your balance in getting to bed early, getting out of bed with the alarm, and changing out of your pajamas.

Look for natural routines. Breakfast, lunch, recess, snack time, dinner. Some routines just work. You don’t have to come up with a new plan from scratch. You likely fall into some habits naturally.

Lean on the natural structure of the day and fill in the gaps. If you work in sections, it can make scheduling feel a whole lot easier. Add in a morning walk, reading time, chore time, activity time, dishwashing time, and even your evening TV watching—you’ll find many ways to fill the day.

Rely on others for help. Although you may feel isolated in your own home, there are so many resources available online as well as folks looking to lend a hand.

You may not be able to see them in person, but they are happy to help virtually. Look for fellow parents and teachers sharing their schedules on social media or personal blogs—you might want to actually write up your own schedule on a chalkboard, fridge calendar, or easel. Additionally, groups like Scholastic and PBS, as well as your local library, have access to educational aids and projects online.

Leave time for creativity and fun. Things change. Not everything runs smoothly all the time. This is oh-so true when working from home and navigating the needs of yourself and your family members.

Remember to schedule breaks, exercise often, log off your work computer at the end of the day, be honest with your coworkers and family, and take a breath. Discover virtual story time, take an online tour of a museum, try a new craft, and even attend a family-friendly music concert on Facebook live.

Your schedule may not work perfectly for every day, but it can help you chart a course throughout the week and, ultimately, make the most of your time and your time with your family. There is nothing more important right now than valuing your time with loved ones.


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