I am sure I’m not the only one getting up each day not having a clue what day it is. In this past few weeks, our worlds have been turned upside down, and everything we knew as normal day to day stuff has changed. Our children’s routines have all vanished and we’ve been thrown into having to develop a new “normal”.
Many of us are trying to work and look after children all at the same time while trying to keep our family in some kind of routine where we can.
Having a routine helps us to feel safe and secure, allows us to feel in control, and to know what our expectations are. Create routines on things you know you can maintain, and try to be a good role model! Everyone in the family needs a routine, including the grown-ups.
Some children may also benefit from having a daily routine made into a visual chart (young children especially). Seeing things as well as talking about them often helps our brains to stay focused and on the same page.
A few suggestions on things to put into a daily routine are:
the time we get up and go to bed
approx time we eat meals
time for outdoor play or a walk
doing certain activities on certain days such as baking every Monday or arts & crafts every Friday.
If you can involve your children in setting your new household routines. Giving them some power and control will go a long way at the moment when they will be feeling they have control over nothing. Some things are not up for negotiation, but many things can be. Listen to their ideas.
I’m not sure what it’s like in your house if you’ve not managed to get outdoors all day, for us things are generally more of a challenge. Physical exercise is a key part of our daily routine, and I recognise the benefits of it.
When we exercise we are not only developing physically, it’s also a workout for our minds. Cross-body movements (such as crawling, walking, running, or anything that uses opposite sides of the body working together) encourages connection between the right and left hemispheres of the brain. This is important because it improves our ability to focus on tasks and perform more optimally.
These kinds of exercises also help to stabilise our nervous system, which in the current climate is more important than ever for us to stay healthy and well.
So, where you can, make sure you get outside for that daily walk or run. Also, there are lots of great suggestions on social media with guided workouts and exercises to provide us with some ideas if we are staying indoors. Find something your children like and then build this into your daily routine (we do a Cosmic Kids yoga story followed by a Joe Wicks workout or Les Mills Avengers Workout, as well as a walk around the block with our dog). Where you can get the whole family involved and exercise together. Laugh and enjoy it. Kids love seeing their parents having fun and being silly with them. You never know, this may be a new habit forming which you’ll continue after lockdown is lifted.
With everyday feeling, a bit like Groundhog Day our mental health may be struggling. It might be hard to stay upbeat and aware of the good things around us. We might begin to snap at each other or become irritated with each other because we are spending so much time together without a break. We end up just existing around each other and not connecting.
So, I challenge you to build a connection with your children. Learn about each other, see things through their eyes, slow down and be mindful.
I’ve been trying to do this on our daily walks, slowing down and taking in our surroundings instead of rushing to get the walk finished quickly so I can tick it off my list and move on to the next job that needs to be done (which I now recognise is how I’ve been living most days for many years!). To help me with this mindful task, I simply look at the world through the eyes of my toddler. He’s incredibly in the present moment with lots of “wow look at that mummy” when we walk out and about. We notice things we can see, sounds we can hear, and things we can smell. It is a much more enjoyable experience, and because I’m not rushing him he is much happier and much more connected to me. He makes me smile and I’ve been able to notice his qualities so much more than usual.
I hope this is something we can continue when lockdown is lifted. Being more mindful and connected to our children is surely a good habit to continue to practice.
Please share your ideas in the comments about how you maintain routines, exercise as a family and stay connected to each other. Sharing our ideas will help us when we are feeling stuck or overwhelmed.
Stay safe everyone x