teeth brushing routine

How to Create a New Family Routine while Kids are Home from School 

No one can say how long we will be living in isolation. We don’t know if kids will be home from school for a month or if they will end up being home through the summer. What we do know is that children thrive on consistency. Consistent routines lead to more cooperation from kids. More cooperation from kids leads to more productivity for everyone. 

To make this time easier for the whole family, create a new schedule and do your best to stick to it. Consider the following as you create a new family routine:

 

  • Communicate Your Plan
    Talk to your partner or other caregivers about how you want to create a new family routine while your kids are home from school. Discuss your individual needs and the needs of your children. Then hold a family meeting and communicate your plans with the kids. Let them know that you’re all in this together – you’re all adjusting to a new way of living for a while. Share what you would like your days to look like and ask if they have any thoughts or feelings they would like to share. Listen to their ideas and concerns.
  • Start Your Workday Early
    Get up at 3:00, 4:00, or 5:00 am, pour a cup of coffee, and start your workday before the kids wake up. Try to get your most important work done first. You’ll be happy to have finished pressing tasks by the time your kids start their day.
  • Wake Kids at the Same Time Every Day
    Let kids sleep in until a set time (8:00 or 9:00 am). Consistency is essential for young children and maintaining a sleep schedule is important for everyone. Dr. Lynelle Schneeberg, author of Become Your Child’s Sleep Coach: The Bedtime Doctor’s 5-Step Guide, is offering a free, online class about best sleep practices for school-age children. To sign up for her class, click here and look for Be Your Child’s Sleep Coach: Help Your Child Become a Great Sleeper.
  • Set the Tone for the Day
    With young children, set a playful tone for the day by doing some pretend. Ask your child:  “Who do you want to be today? Bobby Bear? Or Little Mouse? Who should I be today?  Daddy Bear? Or Poppa Mouse?” After breakfast, take 2-5 minutes to do some yoga and stretching together. Praise your young child’s participation using their pretend character. These moments of mindfulness will help you refuel and can set the tone for a calm start of your schedule. We recommend this guided yoga activity for kids on Spotify: Kira Willey – Dance for the Sun.
  • Set Goals for the Day
    After breakfast, talk about what each person in the family hopes to get done today. You can include something for school/work and something fun – connecting with a friend, finishing a puzzle, reaching a certain level on a video game, etc. Write down the goals and see what got done at the end of the day. If all the goals weren’t met, discuss what will help kids meet their goals tomorrow.
  • Make Challenging Routines More Enjoyable
    If waking up is tough, make it more enjoyable by smiling and cuddling for a few minutes. While getting dressed or preparing breakfast, you might try incorporating a song that suits your child’s morning energy – it could be rousing or soothing. If brushing teeth is always a battle, try to make a game out of it.
  • Schedule in Connection & Fun
    We recommend spending 20 minutes of one-on-one time with kids every day to strengthen connection and decrease misbehavior. Some of children’s misbehaviors are bids for attention. If you fill your child’s “attention bank,” he will be less likely to beg for your attention later – and you will have an easier time sending him off to play alone while you get your work done. If you can’t do it every day, schedule one-on-one time whenever possible.

    In addition to family playtime, ask kids who they would like to play with or talk to this week. Then schedule virtual playdates and calls with relatives. Kids can play games like “Battleship” and “Guess Who” virtually if both parties have the game! Take advantage of the time that kids are entertained by someone else to get some of your own work done.

    Try to schedule connection and fun after chores and schoolwork as incentive to get those more challenging tasks done.
  • Encourage Independence
    Once kids understand how to do a routine with your guidance, they can master it and do more of it on their own. Lavish praise for what you liked. “I like that you put your socks on yourself!” Encouraging independence will take some pressure and responsibility off of you.
  • Anticipate Emotional Meltdowns
    Right now, many people are experiencing anxiety about the future as well as grief about all the things that will no longer happen this year. Your kids are no exception. Check in with them to ask how they feel about everything that’s happening right now and don’t be surprised if they burst into tears when you least expect it. Turn toward your kids’ emotional displays. Hold them, look them in the eyes, and listen to what they have to say. These meltdowns may come at inconvenient times, but do your best to respond with gentleness and compassion.
  • Schedule Self-Care
    You have a lot on your plate and it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself when worrying about your kids’ needs and your work to-do list. But if you’re caring for yourself, you’ll have more patience and energy for your work and family. Don’t feel guilty about scheduling a little me-time into your weeks – it will end up benefiting the whole family.

 

Remember, this is new territory for everyone. If you’re a month into isolation, you’re likely just beginning to establish a new “normal.” Don’t put too much pressure on yourself or your family to have it all figured out. Take it day by day and expect there to be some difficult times. For more support, check out our COVID-19 Parent Toolbox.

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Good Sleep Hygiene Habits for You and Your Kids

Set aside enough time for sleep.
When you create your quarantine routine, be sure to schedule enough time for sleep. Then spend that time in bed. Here are sleep recommendations by age group.

3 – 5 years old: 10 – 13 hours
5 – 12 years old: 9 – 12 hours
Tweens and Teens: 8 – 10 hours
Adults: 7 – 9 hours

Create a regular, relaxing bedtime routine.
This could mean soaking in a hot bath or listening to soothing music. Begin an hour or more before the time you want to fall asleep

Create a sleep-conducive environment.
Try to make the environment: dark, quiet, comfortable and cool

Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.
When it’s time for a new mattress, it is worth the investment. A restful night’s sleep will lead to happier, more cooperative family members.

Keep sleep stealers out of the bedroom.
Bedrooms should only be used for sleep (and sex, for adults). Try to keep phones and electronics out of bedrooms. Avoid watching TV, using a computer, or even reading in bed.

Don’t eat before bed.
Try to finish eating at least 2-3 hours before your regular bedtime.

Avoid caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime.
The 2-3 hour rule applies to food, as well as caffeine and alcohol.

Exercise regularly.
Exercise is important right now for a variety of reasons – one of which is that it will help you and your family sleep better.

Become your child’s sleep coach.
For more advice from a sleep expert, attend Dr. Schneeberg’s free, online class: Be Your Child’s Sleep Coach – listed under Free Parenting Essentials Classes. Dr. Schneeberg will provide parents with strategies to help their kids sleep better during the Coronavirus pandemic and always. We also recommend reading Dr. Schneeberg’s book: Become Your Child’s Sleep Coach: The Sleep Doctor’s 5-Step Guide, Ages 3-10.

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Channel 8 Coronavirus Interview

WTNH: Coronavirus closes schools: Expert advice about how to embark on ‘distance learning’ at home

(WTNH)– School looked different Monday as kids around the state set-up work stations in their own homes.

Charlotte Smith has five kids, ranging in age from 4 to 10. Their schools started “distance learning” due to the coronavirus update last week.

“Mom, Cruise Director, has a spread sheet about what subjects the kids have to do,” says Smith, a blogger in Southport, who encourages the kids to start the day with an active lesson like writing sentences instead of watching videos.

“Everyday we get better….both teachers, as to what they’re assigning, and parents, in terms of how we’re navigating it,” she added. Read more at https://www.wtnh.com/on-air/connecticut-families/coronavirus-closes-schools-expert-advice-about-how-to-embark-on-distance-learning-at-home/

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Peace at Home Parenting addresses COVID-19

Peace At Home Parenting offers free resources for parents to help ease family stress

  • Live Facebook events for the next several weeks – Go to our public page on Facebook – Peace At Home Parenting. I will host the first few events, offer guidance on key issues such as helping children process disappointment and fear and I will answer questions as they arise through comments. Some of our teacher specialists will join each event to respond to specific issues including those related to children under 5 and to children with social-emotional challenges.
  • Free Online ClassesWe will eliminate fees for specific live and recorded classes that will be helpful to families at this time. Some of these include:
    • “Positive Discipline for Peace At Home”
    • “Be Your Child’s Calm Center”
    • “Be Your Child’s Emotions Coach”
    • “Take the Stress Out of Parenting”
    • “Routines, Chores and Family Meetings”
  • Peace At Home Private GroupWe will open our monitored, private Facebook group to parents who reach out to us through Facebook events or email in order to expand support and connection among parents and with our teachers.

We are in the process of developing two new classes - “Help Your Child Feel Safe in a Complicated World” and “Work with Your Family so You Can Work at Home.” We also continue to offer regular private online coaching by the hour and flash coaching options (20 minutes) as a more moderately priced solution. Email us at info@peaceatparenting.com

View a list of classes >
Learn more about Private Coaching >

We wish for you safety and serenity.

Ruth E. Freeman, LCSW
Founder and Managing Director
Peace at Home Parenting LLC
Online classes and coaching for peace at home and success in school
860 933-1371
www.PeaceAtHomeParenting.com

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Toxic Stress

Help Your Child with ADHD/ADD Get Ready for College

Is it common for teens with ADHD/ADD and executive function deficit not to accept the resources to learn how to become organized? Also how do they get the help they need once in college? A common reaction to feeling disorganized, anxious, and out of sync is avoidance. To support your child who may be avoiding …

Read moreHelp Your Child with ADHD/ADD Get Ready for College

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child girl eats healthy food showing thumb up

6 Steps to Successful Lunchtime: Help Your Kindergartener Get Ready for School

Your child is already (or finally) off to kindergarten. Did you go back to school shopping? Maybe purchase a new lunch box? If this is your child’s first time with lunch away from home, help her get ready in both practical and social ways. I’ve borrowed a few ideas and added a few more I …

Read more6 Steps to Successful Lunchtime: Help Your Kindergartener Get Ready for School

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sibling connections

Sibling connections – for parents of infants and toddlers with older siblings (Birth – 5 years old)

Your older child was so excited about the new baby. But, now that your baby has arrived, he is uncooperative and sometimes acts like a baby, himself. Meanwhile, you’re trying to control your youngest as she starts to throw tantrums and learns the word “no.” This scenario is all too common, but there are simple …

Read moreSibling connections – for parents of infants and toddlers with older siblings (Birth – 5 years old)

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Aaron Weintraub

Expert: Limit kids’ screen time

MICHELLE FIRESTONE, Chronicle Staff Writer MANSFIELD — In today’s world, digital technology can sometimes feel like it has taken over our lives. Wednesday evening, Aaron Weintraub, a behavior specialist at Holiday Hill Day Camp & Recreation Center in Mansfield, told a group of Mansfield Middle School parents that, while digital devices can be used for …

Read moreExpert: Limit kids’ screen time

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Debate about self-soothing as a solution when waking up in the night

Dialogue from Peace at Home Parenting’s Private Facebook Page We’re having some debate about self soothing. The doctor told us that our 4 month old son needs to learn how to self soothe in the night when he wakes up and be able to get himself back to sleep.  During the day, he sometimes cries …

Read moreDebate about self-soothing as a solution when waking up in the night

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kids snacking

Kids eat snacks like Netflix. As soon as one ends, another one is getting started* 

When parents permit kids to “graze,” that is eating at will throughout the day, parents will often end up with power struggles with kids and sometimes even eating problems or disorders. Experts suggest that scheduled meals and snacks with limited offerings is best for developing good eating skills. Ellyn Satter, nationall recognized adviser on feeding …

Read moreKids eat snacks like Netflix. As soon as one ends, another one is getting started* 

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