Creating a New Norm

Changing our lives to suit what people are stating as the “new norm” has influenced our work, and our family lives. When speaking to a couple of mothers during the first week of the Covid-19 isolation time, they were stating that they didn’t mind their kids watching movies all day, or just hanging out, doing what they wanted. I thought that was fine for a little while, however, this will become boring and frustrating fairly soon, and it is now not a “time off”. It is important to differentiate this time as different from a vacation time, or a sick leave, where you take time for yourself. After several weeks of lockdown, our days isolated at home are now a regular day, therefore it is a time to set up new routines for your kids that will strengthen and maintain your priorities. The following are some things to think about to bring certainty for your kids, and to ensure that they understand that they also have some responsibilities they need to do.

  1. Daily Living Routines
    • Wake-up time and expectations
      • Your expectations around wake-up time will differ from family to family. What matters is that there is an expectation that something will be achieved that day, and that starts with how they start their day.
      • To help take away uncertainty, discuss your expectations. Be careful not to change these too much. Remember: you must live with these decisions too, so be thoughtful.
    • Eating times
      • Try to keep your main meals approximately the same number and times each day to provide certainty and consistency.
      • Types of food – remember this isn’t a vacation, and good health is a priority, so healthy food is important. Create some fun dinners, or snack food a little more often than normal. This will help your kids accept that this isn’t a normal time, and at the same time, you will be demonstrating that they can still bring joy to their lives by enjoying themselves with something special every now and again.
    • Bedtimes
      • Getting proper sleep is necessary for good physical health.
      • Getting proper sleep is also necessary for good mental health. During times of uncertainty, anxiety, regardless of how much, will affect your kids. Ensure that they have a regular routine to give them a springboard to mentally cope with the changes.
  2. Daily Learning Routines
    • Set clear expectations and be ready to follow-up with those expectations.
    • Ensure that you have a means to assess their progress. It is important that your kids see and feel that they are progressing forward. Assessing progress can be done in many ways: it is important that they have a time to reflect and assess their progress. Parents should be part of this process to bring in another understanding.
    • Set up learning routines that include others.
  3. Daily and Weekly Extra-Curricular Activities and Fun Times
    • Plan times to meet with their friends or to do other activities online.
    • Keep some of those times consistent and be ready for last minute surprises.
    • Create some special times and have some special events at home. You can share those events with others online.