Nobody in the country right now would deny that we are living in a strange and surreal time.
Virtually overnight, our regular routines have been thrown a major curve ball, with the nation going into an unprecedented lockdown.
Even those who were already at home looking after younger children or infants have lost the daily escapes, distractions, and habits they took for granted.
Plus, you might be dealing with a few extra family members at home too.
If you and your family are struggling to cope with the "new normal," you are not alone. Below, I share my best advice for managing family life and routines during the lockdown.
Managing Family Life And Routines During Lockdown
Stick To A Routine
When everything is so unpredictable, it can help to have a predictable daily routine.
Children generally respond extremely well to predictable daily habits. Routines, cues and rituals are essential to help your child feel safe, secure and attached – and they will help you adjust to the changes too.
While it may be tempting to throw previous routines out the window, this can make children feel uneasy. During unpredictable times, it’s nice to have some familiar, reliable routines.
Some things will have to change, but try to keep familiar schedules going, such as those around waking up and getting ready for the day, as well as those around winding down, eating dinner, and preparing for bedtime.
If you have children that are used to going to play centres, kindergarten, or school, build a schedule that loosely mimics that routine. That means including time for learning, playing, exercise, and even socialising with peers online.
Remember, too, that a child’s sense of time is vastly different from an adult’s. Days feel like weeks, and weeks feel like months – so isolation is likely to feel like an eternity. This is especially true if it’s difficult for them to comprehend what’s happening.
Keep The News To A Minimum
Your children pick up on your energy – even before they can walk or talk. If they see Mum or Dad glued to every news bulletin and feel the tension, they may absorb this nervous energy and become stressed.
For your sanity - and theirs - keep the COVID-19 screen time to a minimum. Tell them as much information as necessary for their age, but don’t let them obsess or fret about it.
Likewise, take this advice on board yourself. It is easy to be consumed with the situation and read everything you can on it. This can add to stress and anxiety in the current pressure cooker environment.
Take Time Out
Even if you are used to being at home with your child or children, the lockdown takes it to the next level! You can't drop them off with friends or family to get a quick break, and may feel overwhelmed without some downtime.
If possible, take some time away from your children during the day. If you have a partner, share the responsibility with them, so each of you gets some time to go for a walk or have some me-time.
If that's not an option, try to schedule quiet time for the kids into the day. Set them up with an activity and a snack, and set the ground rules for some peace and quiet.
Use The Time To Your Advantage!
Silver lining time!
If you have been struggling to get your little one's sleep on track, this is the perfect time. Chances are, you have a little more time on your hands, and less pressure. Being at home for this length of time means you can be as consistent as possible and get your day naps – as well as your bedtime routine – synchronised and sorted.
All going well, by the time lockdown is over, you will have some solid routines in place that make life easier on the other side.
And, if you are having some trouble getting those routines in place, it is alright to ask for help. While we have to stay in our own bubbles, I still have plenty of options for support. During this time, I am offering phone or video call packages that include phone and email follow up support.
Reach out to me now and let’s exit this lockdown healthy, refreshed and with a well executed sleep strategy in place!