The idea of spending weeks in home quarantine can discourage and scare you. However, you can do a lot in the current circumstances to make the time spent together not only tolerable but enjoyable for you and all your family members. This can be an unforgettable time spent with your children that you will fondly remember.
What you need right now is a daily routine – a schedule – that will keep your feet firmly on the ground.
It might require a little more effort at first, but don't give up – you will be able to maintain a daily routine together with your family relatively quickly.
In normal circumstances, daily schedules are organized around school, work, sports, different groups we are active in, community events. But, until that happens again, here are some tips on how to achieve a stable routine in home quarantine:
- Get up at the same time, go to bed at the appropriate time
- Do not set goals that are too ambitious
- Take some time to plan the schedule. This may seem like a strenuous activity, but it will actually make it easier for you to organize your daily life
- Help your children establish a routine as well, as it provides them with a sense of security and predictability, which are of great importance for the child's development.
- Plan family activities together with children (talk and make arrangements with your teenagers, and make a schedule with younger children and put it in a visible place; explain the schedule and make sure they understand your expectations so that children would accept it)
- Stick to your usual work/study times
- Find some space where you can work if you are working from home – make it your "office – place for work", and the same applies to your child if they go to school or university.
- Eat at certain times, as you are used to
- If you have younger children, schedule your activities into several shorter units instead of big blocks (think about activities packed into 30-minute blocks)
- Tailor the schedule to your child – you know best what your child likes and needs. You know how long they can do a certain activity. Combine joint activities with activities the child will do on their own
- Limit children's use of digital devices (mobile phones, tablets, computers). Use them wisely as tools, e.g. let children use them only for a certain amount of time or save them for times when they are really needed (when you have an important meeting or business conversation or when you are simply exhausted – rely on the help of digital devices then)
- If your child does not sleep during the day, put “time to rest” in the afternoon section of the joint schedule
- It is important for you as a parent to get some rest – you worked during the day and you need to sit down (determine the length of “respite” that suits you)
- During this time, your children can play, read in silence, or do their homework. You know your child, so you can pick an activity they enjoy (suggest quiet activities such as jigsaw puzzles, blocks, writing a diary). This can be difficult at first, but you can work on it every day, increasing the number of minutes every day. Children, just like parents, need some time to relax. If this is important for you, set this as a priority and set clear boundaries
- What should you do in the respite time? Nothing. Enjoy yourself. Rest. Parenting at home without a break, without silence, while responding to your child's needs all the time can be extremely tiring, especially with young children. It's okay to take time for yourself and get some rest. Don’t worry about the mess around you – cleaning the house can wait.
- Involve children in housekeeping activities, in line with their age and abilities. The activities you do together are important for children to develop a sense of community and the feeling of being needed
- This is the perfect opportunity to introduce a joint book-reading routine – all household members spend time together with everyone reading their own book
- Watching a film together can be a joint activity at the end of the day
- Be flexible – don't always stick to the schedule blindly, go with the flow sometimes. If children are having a nice time playing, don’t interrupt them just because the schedule says it's snack time
- This is a great time for your child to master the skill of playing on their own if they haven’t already. Start by motivating them or suggesting: “Look, you can throw a party for your dinosaurs!”
- Limit the use of mobile phones because they can be a distraction. Lead by example – you also shouldn’t spend time on your mobile phone.
These are extraordinary circumstances. You don’t have to be perfect. Just do your best. This is not forever and will end at one point, and life will go back to normal.