Easy Routines For Little Learners
Donna Sheynfeld is the Co-Founder of Little Learners NYC, which offers learning support for children of all ages, including virtual classes and one-on-one tutoring. As an early-childhood expert and mom of three, Donna is passionate about teaching children to achieve. We asked Donna to share her tips on maintaining a routine in these uncharted waters.
Life with kids is hectic. Life with kids in 2020?? Umm, feels nearly impossible. We feel the pain as we try to manage our work-from-home schedule, kids' remote and blended learning schedules, alone time, and you get it...a lot of things!
What we realized early in this pandemic life of ours, is how important routines are to help all of us, including our children, thrive during this time.
Routines are important for kids for so many reasons. It helps them develop a sense of security, and this allows them to take risks and feel more confident in themselves. It gives them opportunities to grow socially (even when social interactions are limited) because routines give children a sense of how to be a part of a group, take turns, share, etc.
Children who have a sense of routine at home are often able to regulate their feelings and behaviors and usually adapt better to changes and stressors.
Here are some easy ways to create routines for your children:
1. Create a visual daily schedule: You can take pictures, have your kids draw pictures to go with the words, use a white board, whatever you fancy - but most importantly, giving your children a sense of what to expect for the day will help tremendously-- especially when our schedules are changing so frequently.
2. Accountability: We love using this timed-timer in our houses to help our kids understand how much time they have for certain activities. This visually shows the clock counting down so even our younger ones can see when the time is almost up and we can all take accountability for screen-time, clean-up, and getting out of the house promptly.
3. Chores: Giving children responsibility around the house, gives them purpose, teaches them to be independent and makes them feel useful. In our houses, our kids set the table, make their beds and help put the dishes away. It teaches the kids about teamwork and that they are integral parts of our family life.
4. Healthy-habits: Help your children become more independent and rely on some of the habits they need to create to lead a healthy life-style such as brushing their teeth, washing their hands, and taking vitamins. It may take some time for them to do it on their own (modeling helps), but once they do it—it’s magic!
5. Rituals: This is our favorite! It can be weekly, daily. or monthly rituals, but it adds to the sense of community and belonging within the house (extra important these days!). Rituals can be anything from cuddling together for bedtime stories, pizza and movie night or a weekly walk/hike as a family. This is something the children can rely on and helps create that sense of security we all need.
A side note--this is even more helpful if you decide how to split tasks ahead of time for the adults in your household. For example, run through the kids’ schedules at the beginning of the week and decide who will take the kids where, based on work schedules. This saves a lot of grief during the week when everyone is running around from place to place and you realize that no one gave the kids breakfast that morning...oops! (Routines are good for adults too!)
We hope this helps! Let us know if you try them! Have any extra tips you want to share? Feel free to comment below! Also, follow us on Instagram @little_learnersnyc for more easy at-home education tips.