As we've shifted into working and learning from home, old habits and routines have vanished. This lack of structure affects us, and our children, more than we realize.
Our routines help us know intuitively where we are in time, without even looking at a clock or a calendar. What time is it? What day of the week? Based on what we do, we can feel in our bodies where we are in time. These daily and weekly activities are our points of reference. Without them, we tend to feel strangely lost.
When a pandemic disrupts most of our routines, we have a unique opportunity to intentionally replace them with new ones. We can build a new foundation that serves everyone in our family to remain connected and supportive of each other. This might include sharing meals together, working, learning, taking breaks, enjoying media time, moving our bodies, playing games, and doing chores.
Not everything needs to be scheduled. It's important to leave plenty of freedom and flexibility. Small, unscheduled goals can make a meaningful difference. For example, we can commit to two short periods of physical excercise every day.
It's important to include the unpleasant, too. We need things to dislike as part of our daily rhytm. Doing something unpleasant can have its own benefits. Cleaning the house together as a family can be a surprisingly rewarding experience.
Mixing up the days just enough while keeping a consistent weekly schedule will give us a better sense of what day of the week it is, and that's important. We need things to look foward to, as well as a regular change of pace.
This schedule works best when we involve everyone in the family, giving even very young children some level of agency and responsibility.
Once we implement this structure, we will slowly start feeling more grounded and connected. A common rhythm is good for us. We are social creatures that thrive on doing things together regularly. With wisdom and intention, we can make life better, even during a pandemic.