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Parenting during COVID

Three ways to set up routines for success

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Parenting during COVID
Photo by Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels

STRUCTURE

Creating a timetable is a creative way to develop structure for yourself and your family.  The key factor of success is getting your kids involved in the process as you develop the document, leaving plenty of room for playtime and flexibility in the schedule.  For example, we set time aside for physical activity like going for walks at the end of the day. It gives our kids something to look forward to, and as parents, we get the moment to decompress from whatever surfaced in our day.  Make sure to print the timetable and post it somewhere clearly visible where you can review it as a family on a daily basis.  We put ours on the refrigerator for reference.

COMMIT

Once the timetable is complete, commit to doing the smallest things on a daily basis, like getting the kids dressed for school or getting ready for work as you normally do.  These tasks are like ‘mini sparks’ of motivation to jumpstart the day and will provide a sense of routine over time.  Moreover, create a designated area of your home for work versus play to enable boundary setting in these zones.  Of course, it’s not a lockdown in the zone, but it will support the structured approach and physical familiarity for productivity as the days go by.  The most important aspect here is to stick to the routines, so don’t worry about the time slots.  Most importantly, do set aside time to spend it with your children.  Walk away from your laptop or phone and check-in with them for as long as you can between meetings to help with whatever they might need – and, never ever apologize to others on virtual calls for having your kids drop by in the background.

SUPPORT

Some friends and family are choosing to connect by having driveway visits, to hosting group calls on Google Hangouts, FaceTime, Zoom, or Houseparty.  Having these regular check-ins with friends, loved ones and engaging online in new and exciting ways are all positive actions to create support.  However, reading up on social media or the news can raise anxiety levels.  You’re not alone if you feel like you want to avoid the content out there. 

It’s important to cultivate an inner sense of emotional awareness to understand what’s working and what’s not working based on the feelings that surface within you.  Choosing to disconnect from digital and capitalize on the opportunity to re-connect with yourself might be exactly what you need.  When was the last time you could do this?  Probably before the digital internet ecosystem came into our lives!

Examples include meditation, reading a book, art, journaling, listening to music, a podcast or simply doing nothing. The list of opportunities are endless for introspection and recharge.  Each approach is equally important and as effective, so choose what’s best for you to refuel and recharge. 

Know that support means different things to different individuals, as long as it is channeled in a positive route.  Having check-ins with my colleagues, friends and my executive coach are some of the ways that I’m tapping into opportunities to connect and have a sounding board at this time.

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