The Coronavirus has caused schools to close across the nation, and parents are tasked with surviving the next two weeks--at minimum--at home with their kids, quarantined from peers, public spaces, and extracurricular activities. I’ve seen several “sanity schedules” on Facebook that suggest ways to structure the weekday so that kids have a blend of academic time, outdoor time, tech time, and family time during the next two weeks.
They look great. Really.
But...they’re super high-maintenance. Some of them have up to 7 hours of academic time, presumably intended to mirror the school day.
Remember that the school day consists of much more than academics. The time spent lingering in the hallway. The last 10 minutes of each class when kids whisper to their peers and peek at their phones. Lunch. PE. Art. Carpet time. Group work. Daydreaming. Recess. The bus ride. The chat with the school counselor in the hallway. The Jeopardy game with the entire class that helps them review for the science test.
The day is filled with academics, yes. But also socialization. Transition time. Stories. Special area classes. Peer contact. Most of these things can’t be replicated by a well-meaning parent with a highlighter and some glitter.
So don’t add unnecessary pressure. There’s the isolation and monotony and the agonizing blend from one day to the next. There’s also the food shortages and news stories about deaths and the uneasy glances every time someone sneezes.
Day 10...or day 30...it could happen that you look at that schedule stuck to the fridge and just feel badly that you set an expectation that couldn’t be met. You’ll worry your kid’s school year is being wasted because they’re not exposed to the same caliber of academic content, their sports have been cancelled, and maybe they even missed prom. Maybe you’re tired, you’re worried, and you’re becoming aware of how much your own self-care, work, and socialization are suffering. Maybe everyone is sleeping later and later and despite having more time, less laundry is being done and you wonder if your kid has eaten anything that didn’t have preservatives in it for the past 3 days. Maybe that schedule has been carefully ripped into squares and added to your dwindling stash of TP.
Instead, try variety. Allow every day to be different, factoring in everyone’s mood, the weather, and need for exercise. Just because one day is surrendered to the lure of a Pitch Perfect marathon doesn’t mean the next can’t be filled with figuring out how to bake bread and googling historical figures whose names start with the letter T. Do what’s need to remain reasonably upbeat, present, and calm.
Connect with your family.
Make eye contact. Make dinner. Make a point to have a dance party in the kitchen. Make peace with fact that life is going to be a little unrecognizable right now.
Take a bath in the middle of the day. Take time to work on a puzzle or write a journal entry.Take a breath and recognize that if you’re healthy and well-fed, there is a reason to be grateful.
We will be okay. We will get through this, especially if we work together and allow ourselves some grace.❤️