A normal routine—just a few weeks ago, most parents would know exactly what that meant for their family. From scheduled school or daycare dropoff to established mealtime expectations, we all had our rhythm, even if it didn’t always go as planned. But with COVID-19 and newfound expectations for social distancing, families everywhere are being forced to not only alter, but completely upend their standard routines. Schools have closed, public places have shut down and parents are wondering what to do with children when all sense of structure has been stripped from their lives.
As parents, we are facing the same strains as you as we figure out how to create a new routine during coronavirus. And because we ourselves are feeling a bit at a loss right now, we wanted to help bring the community together with some comfort and guidance. While nothing about this time is “normal,” we can all start to feel a bit more safe and settled if we set new structures to our day.
Here are some simple steps you can take to establish some stability in your life as we get through this together:
1. Get the Family on the Same Page
Depending on the age of your child, there are going to be different levels of confusion and frustration around the change in routine. But no matter how old they are, you can make the transition easier by taking a moment to reassure your child and answer any questions they might have about coronavirus. Tell them that most people who catch this sickness stay home, rest and get better, but that we need to do our part to help make sure more people don’t get sick. Here are direct dialogue starters to help explain common coronavirus concepts in a context that they understand so you can get the whole household on the same page and practicing healthy habits:
- Hand Washing: “Let’s wash our hands together! It’s more fun when we sing Happy Birthday while we do it—and it can help all of us stay healthy!”
- Cough & Sneeze Covering: “Look! Our elbows are the perfect shape for catching a cough! Let’s practice giving our coughs a home in our elbow so we can keep germs out of the air and make our whole family safer.”
- Social Distancing: “Germs are bad and like to spread, and if we stay home, we can be like superheroes and stop them from spreading! This will help people like Grandma stay safe and help doctors and nurses have more time to help people who are already sick.”
For young children, we also like this coronavirus story book that provides simple context for the sickness. While they may not entirely understand what is going on, this gives them a framework to comprehend these temporary changes in their routine.
2. Figure Out a Reliable Food Situation
As Americans, we’re used to the supermarket life where grocery shelves are always stocked and options seem endless. But if you’ve been to a grocery store in the last few days, you may have found a completely alien site—empty shelves, ghostly freezers and long lines as people frantically purchase the last onions and canned tomatoes in sight. People are stocking up, and it hasn’t made this whole routine switch particularly easy for parents.
Staying healthy and sane in this time relies largely on knowing you can get nutritious food for your family, so at Nurture Life, we’ve been working extra hard to make sure we continue delivering meals on time. Each meal is made fresh and freezes easily so you can ensure your kid is getting nutritious meals no matter how empty grocery shelves get. With a focus on organic produce, antibiotic-free proteins and whole grains, we’re providing balance on their plate at a time when healthy eating is more important than ever. We also offer Family Meal Mains and Sides so that parents can feed themselves or share an easy meal with the whole family.
If you’re lucky enough to live in an area with a stocked-up grocery store, consider using our fridge, freezer and pantry essentials list to build up a solid and nutritious kitchen base. We’re not encouraging panic or frozen veggies hoarding—but having the essentials on hand is always a good idea as you settle into new normals.
3. Keep the Learning Going
While some schools are offering online assignments and learning activities as they close, most are not offering the same structure as they would be in a standard school day. Thankfully many online education companies are stepping up and offering free subscriptions to help keep kids learning. Here is an entire list of these education subscriptions.
When your kids need a break from looking at a screen, you can also keep their minds expanding with podcasts made just for kids:
- Pants on Fire features kids versus adults in a game show that helps teach kids to weigh evidence and come to conclusions through insightful questions.
- Wow in the World focuses on science and technology by guiding kids on a journey that opens up the world around them.
- But Why? dives deep into real questions from kids, tackling big and small topics worth exploring.
4. Create a New Routine
On any given day, a small change in your routine might cause utter chaos in your household. Drop your coffee, and suddenly you’re 30 minutes behind schedule, everyone is screaming and one of your kids has their pants on their head. But with coronavirus, we’ve all had to face not just one routine change, but a complete upheaval.
As many of us face school closures and learn to manage having our children home on a consistent basis, we’re looking for new ways to keep our kids occupied for both their sanity and our own.
Below we’ve laid out an example schedule for families looking for structure now that their school-aged children are home.
5. Explore Engaging New Activities (Inside and Outside!)
While some of us may be creative geniuses that always have a craft and activity up our sleeves, many of us struggle to find new things to keep our kids entertained, especially in a time when they’re at home more than ever before. Here are some of our favorite blogs with engaging activities for all ages:
- 10 Fun Activities to Enjoy Inside: From time capsules to dance parties, there are plenty of ways to keep it creative indoors.
- Easy Cardboard Crafts for Kids of All Ages: You’ll likely have a few more cardboard boxes laying around as we stay at home and get more things delivered. Use those extra boxes to help inspire creativity!
- 18 Outdoor Activities for Kids: Just because you can’t go to playgrounds doesn’t mean the outdoors are off limits. Give your kids some fresh air with these outdoor activities.
Coronavirus might have thrown our normal routines out the door, but we can get through this by giving ourselves and our families some new structure. We’d love to hear how we can continue supporting you in these uncertain times—whether it’s more content like this or through our nutritious kids meals, we’re here to help. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 877.988.8851.