COVID-19 may have locked us all inside, but it’s thrown our routines out the window. Kids are going stir-crazy, and hardworking parents are suddenly becoming teachers on the side. Whether you’re an essential worker tackling each day in-person (thank you!) or adjusting to working at home, you’ve had to make some huge adjustments and abandon aspects of your day-to-day life. Honestly? It’s never been more exhausting to not do things.
In times like these, it’s important to remember that we’re all in this together. Every effort you make to protect others and limit the spread is already a win. And don’t forget to exercise control over the things that you can. Even when things are at their most overwhelming, you still get some say in how you face each day! No isolation without representation… or something like that.
Here are our best tips for maintaining absolute stability (or at least a semblance of sanity) as we transition from summer to fall:
Set Regular Bedtimes
Good days start off with a good night of sleep. Don’t let those video game all-nighters and movie marathons fool you — even teenagers need around eight to nine hours of rest per night.
Of course, convincing kids to call it a day can be easier said than done. Just remember as you tackle — I mean, tuck — them in, that regular sleep schedules will increase wakefulness and make facing every day a little bit easier. Setting typical times for other routine night activities (like dinner, family games, and brushing teeth) will help to reinforce these new nighttime rules and ease your struggle. And your six-year-old would like us to add that cookies would help, too.
Create Relaxing Spaces
With everyone cooped up, the line between work/school-life and home-life will get even blurrier. Focusing on creating peaceful places to transition from activity to activity will help move you from distressing to de-stressing.
This can be done in a couple of ways. Although it’s tempting to conquer conference calls or class lectures on the couch, try not to spoil your most sacred chill spaces with your work. Having that coziness to look forward to after the fact will help keep you motivated and break up your day.
And don’t be afraid to turn routine tasks into opportunities for pampering! For both parents and kids, bath bombs can transform shower time into a spa experience. Unique shapes like sheep can defeat even that bahhhh-ddest of days. (Although after a pun that horrible, you might need to use two. Sorry.)
Make New Habits Visual
It seems like every day we have a new change to get used to. Making schedules visual within your home can serve as a helpful reminder, without overwhelming your kids (or your spouse!) with orders. With options for both younger and older learners, these daily planners will become cute wall decor and increase a sense of normalcy.
Keeping your children on schedule won’t just relieve your stress — it’s also crucial for the healthy development of kids! Routines help kids to feel safe. If they know what to expect each morning when they wake up, they’ll spend less time worrying and more time thinking, creating, and questioning the world around them.
Plus, you’ll get to write with some colorful markers. Who doesn’t love writing on whiteboards? They’re just so smooth!
Remember What You’re Working For
It can be frustrating for kids, and even grown-ups, to make so many changes to their lives. As your household members experience grief over having to remove shoes right away coming into the house, or being asked if they really used soap in the bathroom for the eighth time, remember what you’re working for.
Little signs around the house can be sweet — if cheesy — reminders of why you’re trying extra hard to stop the spread of germs. Consider a little message above your bathroom’s liquid hand soap: “You’re helping to protect our family! Get pumped!”
Try not to focus too much on planning every day to the minute, either. Adjusting to life, whatever it may look like for you, is all about balance. The occasional crayon mark on the wall or spaghetti noodle on the ceiling is what makes kids so fun. (We recommend repeating that sentence to yourself 10-12 times for maximum convincing effect.)
Whether you and your kids get through this time with puns, bath bombs, or bribery, we’re with you every step of the way.