As parents, just managing our own schedules can be a challenge.
With school from home, there’s the added layer of making sure our kids are “in” class and prepared for their days. Balancing all of this in our minds can be maddening, so we wanted to offer a strategy to help.
Imagine if your kiddos could create and manage their own schedules? Would that feel less stressful to you (one less thing to juggle)? Do you think that would teach them some valuable life skills?
To help get you there, parent friends, we create a few easy tools to help you out.
We’ll walk you through three practical steps you can use right now – how to teach your kids about their schedule, using a template you can fill out online (or print out), and 20 ideas for awesome breaks from online learning.
Teaching Your Kids About Schedules
When explaining scheduling to your child, make sure to use a mix of spoken, visual and hands-on clues. Everyone has a natural learning style, and this will help make sure they can best follow your lead. You may even want to do your own schedule with them. Remember, you are teaching resilience and building them up. This also frees you up!
If you have a child who tends to learn more by hands-on (kinesthetic), legos or blocks can be a big help here. Use the 2×4 block for an hour, and the smaller ones for partial hours. You can label each one with a class or activity to create a physical schedule for them.
To start off, regardless of learning modality, have a visual of your child’s school schedule (written or printed out). Walk through this schedule with them (or have them walk you through it). Talking about the day and schedule will reveal things you (and they) may not have thought about yet.
Then, go through your normal morning routines – waking up, getting dressed, getting ready, eating breakfast, any chores. You can put those in order on a piece of paper (or legos/blocks as suggested above).
Use a Template
You can access our free Google sheets template here. You can make a copy for yourself and change any way you wish, as well as print it out.
At the top, notice on the template that you just need to input two things – the date for Monday (of the week you are working on), and the time increment you would like to see (usually 20 or 30 minutes). The sheet will then update for you.
Have your kiddo transfer the school and wake-up routine to this template (on paper or online). You may want to give them a few examples or do the first few with them. After a few examples, your kiddo will likely have the hang of it.
While it’s tempting to do this yourself, the more your kids are doing this themselves, the better for them (and you). The idea is to have them be more resilient and free up your juggling routine.
Things change, of course, so you can easily edit/change these every morning, and even make it part of your routine.
Parents, please also note when the kiddo’s school breaks are and put these on your calendar too. Whenever you can take breaks with them, it’s a great outlet for everyone (and bonding for your family).
20 Ideas For Awesome Break Activities
Taking a break is as important to productivity as focus. Getting away from screens for 20 minutes is good for your physical and mental health.
One great idea for your kids is to use the template to have them identify one of the 20 activities to use for their breaks, and rotate them every few days. They can lead the activity or you can.
You may also want to brainstorm your own 20 ideas, because everyone has their favorites.
That said, here are 20 to get your creative juices flowing. Remember, it’s important to get some time away from screens, so we didn’t include watching shows or playing video games.
- Dance Party – have someone pick the tunes and get your dance on
- Tag – outside, or if weather is bad, in an area like the garage
- Freeze Tag – ask your kids, they know
- Hacky Sack – see how many times you can keep it in the air
- Frisbee – a classic, outside for sure
- Soccer (or any kind of ball) Pass – any kind of ball pass/catch activity
- Hopscotch – crank out the sidewalk chalk
- Obstacle Course – make your own parkour outside, and time yourself
- Take Pet for Walk – good for your four legged friends too
- Draw (on paper) – get away from the computer and draw something
- Touch Blue – this game has one leader, and the players have to follow the directions,and after the first one, do the next without moving
- Checkers or Chess – you can have an ongoing game of checker or chess
- Kid Yoga – plenty of youtube options here to get a few poses down and stretch
- Balloon Volleyball – make a court inside or in your garage
- Act Like – have everyone rotate who you should act like, feel free to be silly (i.e. act like a hummingbird who doesn’t like it’s food)
- Cook/Bake Something Easy – this takes some prep, but you can often get something ready to go in the oven in under 20 minutes
- Read in a Bean Bag Chair – or standing up, somewhere away from the normal study area
- Scavenger Hunt – create a fun list of things to gather
- Legos – or any sort of building blocks, build together if possible
- Learn a New Language – or just a few words in a language using Google translate
Manage Your Own Downtime
Recharding and resilience is important for parents too! Yes, it can be easy to go into “hero mode” and think we don’t need this as parents. However, the truth is that more is being asked of us, and making sure we are doing self-care is critical.
One simple exercise that can help is to take 10 minutes in the morning and name all the things you are thankful for – you can say them outloud and/or write them. Anything big or small counts. Even in the hardest times, we have things to appreciate and be grateful for.
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When in doubt, crank up the kindness, empathy and positivity – those go a long way in building family resilience. Very best to you and yours – you’ve got this!