How a Routine Can Make Transitions Easier for Kids 

During a time of crisis when so many things are unknown, creating a routine helps children in several ways. Creating a routine for kids during COVID-19 can provide structure and predictability during times of uncertainty. Structure also promotes reassurance and a sense of safety. Routines can also promote positive physical and mental health. The more a child can anticipate what’s up ahead, the better they are prepared to face daily challenges and expectations. Here are some suggestions in establishing a routine for kids during this pandemic. 

First, don’t get carried away and over-commit to an extensive schedule, start small and stack up 

slowly. Set aside some time to review the schedule and expectations with your child. This will ensure that they understand what is expected of them as well as when they can have free time. For younger children, consider using a visual schedule format like a chart or a clock with activities placed on it. Begin with a good wake up and bedtime routine. The goal is to stay as close to their daily school schedule as possible to allow for a smooth transition. 

Encourage your child to change out of pajamas and get dressed for success! 

Schedule time for meals and snacks, the way they would normally have them during a typical school day. Set aside a quiet workspace for your child to complete schoolwork. Allow for natural breaks or recess throughout the day. This time can be spent relaxing, listening to music, reading for fun, engaging in a hobby or exercising. During this time, be attentive to your child’s mood. When they are overly stressed or anxious, you might want to schedule in additional fun breaks. 

Allow opportunities for your child to help around the house and do simple chores. Giving a child a simple task or job to do can help build up their sense of empowerment! Hobbies are a great way to foster creativity and imagination all while giving a child something to do to break up their day. Your once busy child now has the gift of time to engage in creative outlets such as drawing, painting, cooking, designing, writing a short story or play, or building a fort. 

Set aside time for outdoor activities, following social distancing guidelines. This is a great opportunity to go for a short family hike, bike ride, or walk around the neighborhood! The goal is to remain active and physical while upholding good social distancing practices. Sprinkle mindfulness and stress-relieving activities throughout your day. 

Many meditation and mindfulness apps are offering free downloads or reduced subscription for many effective mediation, guided imagery, and stress reduction exercises or activities your child can do. 

Schedule time to connect with friends via technology. This can include video conferencing, text or social media. Social connections are important for children to continue to achieve their developmental goals. You can use video chats, for example, to have a virtual play date while children do the same activity such as creating the same craft together! 

Routines can be tricky to establish and maintain, but they are worth fighting for. Starting small and building up routines should make the process easier, but most importantly, don’t give up!