The recent closures of schools and businesses are widespread and have led to major disruptions in the daily routines of families. Children are trying to adjust to doing school at home and parents are now trying to balance their new work from home life with their role as teacher to their children. To cope, it’s important for families to implement daily routines that incorporate school and work along with family time and hobbies.
Humans are creatures of habit and when our everyday lives are disturbed, we become anxious. For children, this anxiety often leads to behavior problems which can create power struggles and difficulty completing schoolwork. To help ease these challenges, implementing routines will create a better balance and help parents manage expectations and stick to them. By doing this, children will have a greater sense of security and will be more likely to cooperate.
Since we are all faced with unchartered territory, it can be stressful to even think about implementing a new routine. But if we use this time as an opportunity for growth, executing a new routine will be easier. For children, this time can help them learn more self-discipline and self-control. With a consistent daily routine and consistent daily expectations in place, children can also begin to adopt these new constructive habits, which are life skills much needed today.
It’s important to remember, however, that routines should have time scheduled for regular breaks. When children are at school, they are not doing academic work for 7 hours straight. They have time for recess, lunch, change of classes, physical education, music, art, etc. There is also a time that the school day ends so it’s important to make sure this time is established as well. By doing this, children learn to look forward to things and are more likely to adhere to the routines put in place.
The class routine of the SKILLZ program was developed with this information in mind. The sequence of class each day is the same: warm-up, mat chat, drills, testing, cool-down, games. This procedure helps children know what to expect each class and gives them something fun to look forward to. A routine created in this way helps boosts creativity and learning.
The uncertainty of when things will go back to “normal” is stressful. Implementing new routines may seem difficult at first but will ultimately help everyone feel more at ease. As this is done, we must be patient with each other and ourselves. Navigating through each day, now, is a new experience for everyone and we all deserve grace. Focusing on the new and improved behaviors that will come out of this experience will help us all keep moving forward.