COVID-19: Building a routine for your kids now that they are out of school

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There’s no doubt that cabin fever will set in sooner rather than later so keeping to a routine is now of the utmost importance. Kids, particularly those up to age 8, may associate the COVID-19 self-quarantine period with downtime.

Lisa Illingworth, co-founder and CEO of FutureProof SA, mom of 2, educator and entrepreneur encourages parents to curb this by creating a disciplined and structured daily routine. “Kids may associate this time with general school holidays or long weekends. Various online education tools are available, and we encourage parents to put a good routine in place and stick to it as best as possible.

“Routine is fundamental in building expectations and meeting them – especially in a time of rapid change,” she adds.

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“We’ve seen mock class timetables being circulated by parents and I encourage this. It’s also a good time to add more to your child’s repertoire – perhaps learning a different language, enhancing their maths skills or undertaking in an exercise video to keep them active such as an online Zumba class,” she explains.

“It’s a good time to get creative. Spend at least 1 day per week in the kitchen together learning to bake or cook new recipes. For our budding entrepreneurs, every problem is an opportunity.”

For parents who are now working from home, juggling all the factors at play is daunting. Lisa shares a few easy pointers to keep the balance: 

Communication

“Talk openly to your children about what’s currently going on and the measures that you as a family have put in place during this time. Explain to them that school activities will be taking place at home and that there will be a routine.”

Ownership

Lisa notes that while things should be kept as light as possible to reduce stress on the family, the kids should be allocated some homework and deadlines around these. “As much as possible, this time should emulate one’s normal day-to-day activities. Putting boundaries in placing and having your children ‘own’ their time and account for their time will also help you to focus on work, housework and other activities.

“This is also a good time for us to adapt and be flexible to change in this new way of working. Fast change is not always easy but teaching our kids how to adapt from a young age is key,” she explains.

Keep it fun

“Have some fun with routine. Add in some outdoor play time in the garden, creative activities such as colouring, painting and pottery, and download some workout videos,” says Lisa.

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