Routines – Shifting Into A New Normal
The recent closures of schools and businesses are widespread and have led to major
disruptions in the daily routines of families. Children are trying to adjust to doing school
at home and parents are now trying to balance their new work from home life with their
role as teacher to their children. To cope, it’s important for families to implement daily
routines that incorporate school and work along with family time and hobbies.
Humans are creatures of habit and when our everyday lives are disturbed, we become
anxious. For children, this anxiety often leads to behavior problems which can create
power struggles and difficulty completing schoolwork. To help ease these challenges,
implementing routines will create a better balance and help parents manage
expectations and stick to them. By doing this, children will have a greater sense of
security and will be more likely to cooperate.
Since we are all faced with unchartered territory, it can be stressful to even think about
implementing a new routine. But if we use this time as an opportunity for growth,
executing a new routine will be easier. For children, this time can help them learn more
self-discipline and self-control. With a consistent daily routine and consistent daily
expectations in place, children can also begin to adopt these new constructive habits,
which are life skills much needed today.
It’s important to remember, however, that routines should have time scheduled for
regular breaks. When children are at school, they are not doing academic work for 7
hours straight. They have time for recess, lunch, change of classes, physical education,
music, art, etc. There is also a time that the school day ends so it’s important to make
sure this time is established as well. By doing this, children learn to look forward to things
and are more likely to adhere to the routines put in place.
The class routine of the SKILLZ program was developed with this information in mind. The
sequence of class each day is the same: warm-up, mat chat, drills, testing, cool-down,
games. This procedure helps children know what to expect each class and gives them
something fun to look forward to. A routine created in this way helps boosts creativity
The uncertainty of when things will go back to “normal” is stressful. Implementing new
routines may seem difficult at first but will ultimately help everyone feel more at ease. As
this is done, we must be patient with each other and ourselves. Navigating through
each day, now, is a new experience for everyone and we all deserve grace. Focusing
on the new and improved behaviors that will come out of this experience will help us all move forward.