5 Ways to Get Your Family Back on Schedule
After months of coronavirus quarantine, it may feel impossible to ever get your family back on schedule. Here's where to start.
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“Allow yourself to manage some of your own anxiety that your child needs to be occupied by many structured events, or should return to everything they were enrolled in before the quarantine,” DeAngelis says. “There is great promise in personal growth and development when simply spending time together as a family.”
Chat with your Children
Speaking with your kids early and often about the different phases of reopening and the transitions your family will be making can help keep the lines of communication open. “Creating a safe space for them to relay ideas, dreams, hopes, concerns, and fears is important,” Kahn says. These conversations will help your family better prepare for what’s to come, but be sure to only share information that’s finalized so you can keep expectations in check.
You can also normalize for children that they may experience a range of emotions when resuming interactions and activities, DeAngelis says. Check in often with your kids to see how they’re feeling and coping with this new set of changes. And let them see how you’re doing by modeling authentic moods while trying to keep a positive attitude.
“The more we can continue to adapt and adjust the easier our children will have a time doing the same,” Kahn says.
Carefully Choose What to Change
Changing habits is rarely easy. But rather than forcing a stressful transition back into your old and likely imperfect family schedule, DeAngelis suggests choosing 1 to 2 areas to focus on at a time. “For example, if getting your sleep schedule back on track is top priority, consider changing bedtime by 15 minutes earlier every Sunday, and push it back by another 15 minutes each Wednesday to allow your body time to adjust to these more subtle changes,” she says. Do this until you’ve reached your current ideal bedtime.
We’re all eager to return to life as we knew it, but try to be patient when getting back into the swing of things. This is especially true when it comes to school in the fall. “Placing pressure to be ‘back to normal’ and fully productive will only serve to increase anxiety,” DeAngelis says. So look at how your school is working to meet the needs of its children and ask for flexibility where necessary. You may want to ask teachers or administrators for some short-term accommodations to make your kids feel more comfortable in the school environment. Depending upon how your child seems to be adjusting, you may also consider reaching out to the school psychologist to come up with some ideas early on.