The everyday dynamics of your life can change in a heartbeat. One day everything moves like clockwork. You tick off all the boxes, handle everything with ease, and do it all over again the next day. But when things are thrown into a state of limbo — such as when your children are home from school for an extended period of time and you’re thrust into the position of figuring out the best way to handle everything on your plate — you need to commit to consistency.
By remaining focused on developing a rigid schedule, you’ll help everyone in the household adjust to this change. It can apply whether the kids’ school year is brought to a halt unexpectedly or when the summer creeps up and it comes time for them to spend weeks upon weeks at home. Why does consistency help? Here’s what you should know.
It’s one thing if they are on vacation, but if the kids are on a prolonged break from school with the expectation that they’ll need to study and commit to their education even outside of the classroom, structure and consistency take on entirely new meanings. One way to ensure that the kids stick to this important goal is to develop a schedule right away. Make it actionable from the moment that they wake up: brushing teeth, taking a shower, and pulling on a T-shirt and a pair of kids’ leggings is an easy way to ensure that they’re ready for whatever the day brings.
Making the bed in the morning and getting ready for the day might not seem like particularly important tasks when the entire day is spent at home, but kids can benefit from handling these basic tasks just as much as adults do. The idea is to get started on the right note. By taking charge of the day in this way, they become accustomed to the idea of following a specific routine and sticking to it. There shouldn’t be any negotiation involved — they should just be part of the schedule. You can help them along if necessary, whether that means teaching them how to make the bed properly or picking out their kids’ jeans and shirts.
Perhaps the most important reason of all to commit to a consistent schedule is because it provides you with some degree of certainty that things will get done. Of course, things are never “certain” where children are concerned, especially when they’re placed in a new position and have temptations like television and snacking to pull them away from the routine you expect them to stick to regularly.
In general, though, maintaining a sense of consistency establishes expectations — and a routine helps everyone in the household meet those expectations, no matter how big or small they may be. You may want to create a weekly schedule so that everything on your list is accomplished regularly. For example, you might want to make sure that specific chores are completed on specific days. Tackle the laundry hamper one day and clean up the playroom another day. Getting these types of tasks done regularly is a great way to share in family responsibilities and spend some quality time together, too.
Anyone can feel anxious when faced with something unusual. Even the school day, while structured to a great degree, can be unpredictable at times. Developing a sturdy framework for the course of their time at home can be enormously effective in easing kids’ anxieties and helping them settle into the everyday routine more comfortably.
Without all of the extra variables associated with physically going to school, there’s a sense of safety involved that brings about relaxation. When they feel better, they’re more likely to stick to your intended schedule. That applies to any type of change in your everyday routine, whether they’ve retired their backpacks for summer break or they’re on temporary hiatus for some other reason.
Eventually, it will be time to dig out those back to school shirts and backpacks and return to the classroom. To move from an unstructured environment to one that’s far more rigid can be disconcerting. By committing to some sort of routine at home, it will be far simpler for your kids to go back to their school routine, too.
You can help them even more by creating a few bedtime habits that can carry over when they get back to school. They can choose their clothes for the next day, brush their teeth, and make sure that they have everything ready for school. Younger kids can enjoy storytime with you before drifting off to sleep. These types of habits are both comforting and reliable, and they will go a long way in ensuring that this time at home is well spent.