With schools closing, people working from home, and limit your contact with other humans is recommended, it can seem overwhelming with where to start to get you and your family prepared for Covid-19 Coronavirus situation. I feel like we have never been in a situation like this, but as I have looked back over my daily gratitude journal, I realized that there have been a few times we have had to stay inside due to extreme cold, snow, or illness. Now I am not comparing the two, as I really do think they are different situations. But looking back as to what I did during those times helped me create a plan for the next few weeks we will be staying at home. So I am using all those things I have done previously to share tips for how to schedule your day for Covid-19 Coronavirus.
Make A Plan
The first thing I have found incredibly helpful is to make a plan. This is a great way to ease my mind when things start to get a little overwhelming. Just grab paper and write down everything you feel you need to do. This is helpful for creating lists of things you may need to get from the store, as well as things you may want to get done in the next few weeks. Having a plan, or at least seeing everything written out, has been proven to reduce anxiety. Studies do show that handwriting (versus typing) is actually better for your mental state when creating a plan and getting everything out from your brain to paper.
If you are looking for a good list of things to prepare and stock up on to prepare for Covid-19 coronavirus, my friend Chelsea from TwoTwentyOne created an incredible list of items to have. This list helped put my mind at ease!
Create A Daily Schedule
Once you have your plan, it is time to start taking action. This means that you should set up a daily schedule for your kids and yourself. This daily schedule will help you stay sane while you are home for the Covid-19 coronavirus situation. I will be breaking down tips if you are working from home with the kids below.
Make A List
When creating a daily schedule, start by making a list. Yes, friends, I love a good list. So when you are writing down this list, I suggest writing down everything that has to be done. For example, my son will have homework that he have to do every day. I wrote down all the subjects that will be sending home homework. For my daughter who isn’t getting homework sent, we wrote down all the things she does at school. For example, she writes her name, reads books, listens to books, works on counting, folds napkins, and washes dishes (she goes to a Montessori school so this work is required of every student daily). I also included “gym time” which will either be running around outside or riding bikes in the garage. Art time is also something I added to our list. Leaving “art” rather broad so we can do coloring, play-doh, creating projects, beads, and weaving (we have a craft loom I purchased at JoAnn stores).
Now that I have all the things we have to do, I will schedule our day by writing out times, just like classroom teachers do for school. Start with when you wake up and your morning routine. I have our morning routine and free checklist you can read here.
After morning routine, start with a school lesson. This helps because it sets the tone for the day. Try to avoid tv. We have been listening to podcasts or books on CD in the morning, which has helped start the day with active listening, rather than passive sitting.
Allow plenty of time for breaks throughout the day as well. We typically do like 15-20 minutes of work then a break. They can play, eat, or run around. Then we get back to work. I use a visual timer to help keep things on schedule. I love this timer. By keeping the day moving, your kids are less likely to get restless. When you hear the “I’m bored”, give them a chore to do! I have a whole list of chores and expectations you can read about here.
Our Schedule For The Next Few Weeks While We Are Home
7:00- wake up and start morning routine (yes, I am keeping our same wake up time because if we were in school this is when we would be getting up)
7:30- breakfast and story/podcast
8:00- school work (I am leaving this open so they can decide what they want to do first. If they can’t decide, then we are starting with writing).
9:00- school work
10:00- school work
11:00- art project or art activity
11:30- cook lunch together
12:00- quiet time
1:00- gym time
2:00- school work
2:30- art time
3:30- play (this is when the kids would be out of school so they can have free time until dinner)
5:00- cook dinner together
6:00- play family board game
7:00- shower and bedtime
Set Your Work Hours
Now if you work from home, this could be rather challenging to get adjusted to the schedule. But over the years I have learned a lot of things that will help ease the tension while working from home with young kids. First things first, cut yourself some slack. It is going to be challenging because it is change. So just know there will be bumps, but that is ok! Everyone is changing how they are handling working due to the Covid-19 Coronavirus. Just know everyone is going through this, so we are all in this together!! (I hope you are singing that song from High School Musical right now.)
Back when my kids were really young, I started to create “work hours”. This was what I called it and the kids had to play by themselves near me during this time. I set my work hours in 30 minute increments. During the “work hours” my kids couldn’t ask me for anything. I would have my visual timer on my desk. During this time I would do the work that required a lot of concentration. Things like writing and proof-reading. When the 30 minutes was up, I would help the kids with whatever they needed. Then I would check email, and do other tasks that didn’t require a ton of my brain power so if the kids interrupted, I wouldn’t get distracted. After 30 minutes, I would go back to my “work hours”. You can read more about that here.
To make sure that I got what I needed to get done, done, I created a list of my daily 3. I still do this process to this day with the daily 3. The daily 3 are the 3 tasks I had to do that day. Even if that means that I have to stay up to complete them. Now they are not 3 projects, they are 3 tasks that I need to do to finish a project. Each week I set my goals. These goals may be to complete a project. I typically only do 3 goals per week. Each day I write 3 tasks I have to do. Those tasks should lead up to completing a project by the end of the week.
I’ll give you an example, let’s say I want to reorganize the toys in the playroom. That would be a goal for the week. So tasks (or daily 3) for the day could be dump out 1 bin and sort toys in that bin. That is one task. Another task could be to add a label to bin. And a third task could be to donate all unused toys from that 1 bin.
If you have a boss or project manager, I would be overly transparent and share what your daily 3 is with them every morning and report how far along on those tasks you completed every night. I know it may be overkill, but then you are showing your manager or boss that you are working, even though the kids are home. Your boss or manager should be understanding that you want to demonstrate what you are working on daily since you are home for the Covid-19 coronavirus.
The most important thing you can do is to stay informed when we are talking about Covid-19 Coronavirus. The CDC has new information almost daily, so stay up to date from credible sources for how to prepare for Covid-19 Coronavirus. I also appreciated this podcast. An internationally recognized expert in infectious disease shares advice.