Home routine

Tricky – but necessary?

Making the most of being at home with a family during the lockdown may depend on getting everyone into a new routine. Easier said than done, but not impossible, thinks Orla Redmond.

The new norm

It is likely as home-schooling becomes the new norm household battles over work will ensue and the novelty of self-directed study will wear off. Thankfully, there are ways to minimise such arguments. One of these is to create a timetable and plan for the establishment of new routines.

Establishing routines and timetables

Routines and timetables are important in creating a sense of stability. Children benefit from structure, consistency and predictability. As their normal routines are now thrown into chaos, working to create new ones is important. This is a challenge as, obviously, we are dealing with the unknown at present. We do not know how long these closures may last for, so we can only aim for general guidelines and plan based on daily reflection.

Tips for establishing a routine

Here are some ideas for getting a new routine established at home:

  • Make a list of all the things to be accomplished each day, e.g. household chores, preparing and eating meals and snacks, individual subject lessons, physical exercise, creativity time, free time for self-directed activities, relaxation and play, and time for self-care.
  • As this is an uncertain time, anything that can be maintained from your normal schedule is likely to be helpful. Can dinner be served at the same time? Can the same bedtime routines be maintained?

  • Identify the windows of time in which you can work with your child/ren on various activities. This will vary greatly according to family dynamics (no. of children in the home and their ages and stages of development, parental working hours etc.). In so far as possible, block off windows of time for learning. In some households, a precise timetable may be possible; in others, plans may have to be made to facilitate teaching and learning while younger children sleep. Consider what works best for your family.
  • Consider when and how to incorporate movement and exercise breaks. It is helpful for children to take frequent movement breaks in between learning sessions. Think about Go Noodle for such activities, but try to factor in time outdoors, if this is allowed where you are.

  • Make a list of the household tasks your child/ren can help you with. The value of equipping them with life-skills is immeasurable, and these closure days may provide a good opportunity for further development in these areas. Consider how to involve your child/ren in taking a greater role in meal preparation, cleaning etc.

  • Identify the subject areas and the content you plan to cover with your child. Use guidelines from school as a basis for this. Some schools may have sent home specific work to be covered which makes life much easier if this is the case. Otherwise, look to some of the websites previously linked for additional resources and support materials to help you plan.
  • Try to incorporate fun throughout the day. You may find these free CardEd activities helpful in this regard.

The uncertainty of what is going on, all the changes to normal routines, and the fact children can no longer attend clubs or mingle with their friends may lead to increased anxiety and stress for children. It is important to facilitate ways in which they can connect with their friends. As part of their free time, children who are feeling lonely may wish to play an online game with their friends or WhatsApp them. Talk your child/ren through what is happening and why (at a level appropriate to their age and understanding) and answer any questions they may have.

Take care. Stay safe and healthy all!

Orla Redmond MA (Ed.) is an experienced educator who has worked in teaching, managerial, and advisory capacities in both independent and government schools, in Ireland, the UK, and other regions worldwide.  Her specialist interests include supporting disadvantaged pupils and pupils with SEN. Read more from Orla at dumondeducation.com where she shares resources and thoughts about education. 



Feature Image: by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Support Images: by Amanda Randolph,  Alexandra_Koch, Oberholster Venita, Silviu Costin Iancu , LaterJay Photography from Pixabay