I’ve taken the last few months to really focus in and be quite harsh on myself. I’ve been finding myself being quite all over the place with everything and not being productive with the children as well as with my own time and skills. Since January – I made sure that they had some serious routine structures in place. What’s amazing – is that now that we’re in lockdown and not able to go anywhere, the children are still thriving and not being spun out by the removal of certain extra-mural activities.
Ok, I’m not going to lie – they are all a bit cabin “feverish” because they’re social lives have been somewhat amputated. The crazy loud arguments and “DON’T BREATHE ON ME!!” rants are still there. But the schooling part of our everyday is going so well – too well, as a matter of fact. I’m leaning towards wanting this lockdown to continue just for a few more weeks so that we can get done and have an awesome summer (when that start later this year).
The thing that I keep realising and reminding myself to do, is routine, routine, routine, ROUTINE! No matter how old a child gets, the more they have a schedule or list to follow – the more in control they feel and less spun out. Now, not every child can verbally express this and most would want to just lay around on the couch and Netflix or Youtube all day. But just like a cupboard full of sweets – If I was to just allow them to have as much as they wanted, when they wanted it – they’d either get sick, or get bored of the unnecessary freedom and not want it anymore. Which is kind of weird to observe but as they say – too much of anything isn’t good for you.
By laying the boundaries down and giving constructive guidelines to the day has really helped them cope and navigate the lockdown smoother than I’d imagined. I guess, examples would be a good idea. Ok, so here’s the thing – each of our children are different and need different things – but I’m no fairy godmother that can cater to all needs on a whim. So basic outlined things have to always happen to maintain sanity on all of our parts.
- grooming at the beginning of the day – teeth, hair, clothes, face
- responsibilities – make bed, fold pyjamas, put things away
- eating – breakfast before 8, snack at 10, lunch at 12:30, snack at 3 and supper at 6 (this has helped lessen the nagging – what can I eat, when is snack time, when is lunch……)
- school gets done in the order you choose for yourself (older two) but fundamentals have to be done – maths, english, reading, science, handwriting. This while I do our sons school work with him, since he’s in grade R.
- group work with me – history, RE, geography
- ALONE TIME (this has been gold for us) they have to be in separate rooms, doing something quietly, ALONE! this would equate to nap time for little people.
- Educational TV for 1 hour – docu-series, history programs etc
- 20mins each of entertainment TV
- Exercise and stretching
- Bath, Supper, Bed
Without this simple outlined routine – I know for sure, we would not be getting anything done and they would be spinning out.
Children (and some adults) need the boundaries to help the sanity prevail. Plus, it helps to balance a whole lot of other extra things like work, DIY and our own Netflix time.
I hear the parent of the “little person” saying……. umm so what do I do when my kid can’t school on their own. Honestly – it’s the most crazy time, physically – and one to be looked at without judgement from yourself. Do the best you can, with what you have. One thing my mother always had to remind me of is – little people can do the same/similar activities everyday and not get bored of them because they’re learning them for the first time.
If there is something that you try, that your kid likes – do it everyday at the same time and it will become routine and something you’ll be able to let them do on their own.
Also – consider set up and clean up and get them involved in each one – or have 10 minute educational videos ready in between each activity. Don’t push to have activities for them for every minute of the day. Have as many slots as you can for free play. Give them something to imagine through or leave them to be bored – you’ll be surprised at how creative they’ll get with something as simple as a sheet and pegs. Boredom breeds creativity and also gives you time to work and be an adult. The key is to be patient in the first few rounds and once they get the idea – they’ll know what’s coming next and understand their freedoms within the boundaries.
I hope this helps – what works for you guys right now? I might be missing some really hard situations or tips and tricks for the older bunch that could make my life so much easier.