Ways to Set Structure & Keep the Peace During Extended Time at Home

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) health concern has made an impact on all lives throughout the United States and the World. Many schools have transitioned to distance learning, while employers are having adults work from home. Extended time at home can both bring families closer and push them further apart. Below are some tips on how to set some structure and keep the peace while everyone is home together for an extended period of time:

1) Create a Family Schedule:

Structure is important for and desired by most children. As a family sit together to create a daily family schedule. This can mimic the schedule your children are familiar with during their normal school day. Examples include: set school time, routine lunch and break time, a daily family activity, exercise time, etc.

2) The Activity Grab Bag:

Have your child decorate an old tissue box, paper bag, or shoe box. Once decorated, work as a family to identify some family-oriented and child solo-play activities. Write these activities on individual slips of paper, fold them up, then place them in your "Grab Bag". When the children are searching for something to do, have them close their eyes and chose an activity from the "Grab Bag". Examples of activities can be: create the largest LEGO tower you can imagine, use a variety of art supplies to create your very own creature, have a tea party, create a rock band out of pots and pans, go on a nature scavenger hunt in the backyard.

3) Designate a Set School & Work Space:

With your children, find a designated space in your home where they will do their school work and you will do your own work. Make sure this space is not in a bedroom or a play area. Having a set space allows a clear boundary to be set. With this boundary comes clear expectations for what is to be done there.

4) Scheduled Quiet or Alone Time:

When staying under one roof for a prolonged period of time tensions can quickly rise, leading to frivolous arguments or discord. In an effort to mitigate this discord schedule a set time where everyone can go to their individual rooms or spaces in the house for "quiet time" or "alone time". During this time everyone can do what they please, as long as it is not loud and disruptive to the rest of the household. "Quiet Time/Alone Time" can last anywhere from 10 minutes to 1 hour depending on the age of your children. This time can be a good breather for everyone in the family to unwind.

5) Keep Bedtime and Waketime Consistent:

Help maintain routine by having a consistent bedtime and waketime during the school week. This helps remind children that just because they are at home does not mean that they are on "break".