Developing a day to day plan is the first step. During these times of change and uncertainty, a clear plan provides reassurance and security for your kids. It helps establish a sense of normalcy and affirms that you are helping lead them through these unforeseen changes.
As you develop your ‘Quarantine Parenting Plan,’ be sure to involve your partner so it is a collaborative effort. If you are a single parent, discuss your plan with others who know your kids. Get their feedback. By doing so, you establish a United Front that ensures the parents will follow the plan that they expect their children to follow.
Here are some fundamental areas to include in your day to day plan:
- Daily schedule / routine
- Identify morning, afternoon, and evening expectations
- Clarify things like wake up time, clean up after breakfast, expectations for school work, lunch time (involve your kids to help prepare lunch the night before), and evening routine (dinner, getting ready for bed)
- Discuss with your kids breaks within their school work schedule
- Just as your kids get recess and breaks at school, be sure to do same at home
- If possible, take breaks with them – a game of freeze tag or catch is not only good for them but you as well
- Provide a visual day to day / weekly schedule. A visual copy makes the routine more real and serves as a good reference point when redirection is needed.
- Behavior expectations
- Review with you kids behavior expectations and rules
- Ask them write down the rules around behavior at home
- Clarify daily chores and responsibilities
- Electronic Use
- Review time allotted for electronic use
- If needed, consider using a behavior contract for technology use (you can find various contracts on Pintrest and other web sites)
- Identify plan for how electronics will be stored when not being used
By having a visual copy of your daily / weekly routine, it makes the day to day expectations a reality (a new sense of normal for your kids) and greatly reduces misinterpretations which can cause unnecessary drama. Post your schedule / routine and expectations on the fridge or someplace that is easily viewed.
Positive Reinforcement is Essential
Develop a reward system for your children. Link rewards to specific values grounded behaviors. Involve them in this process as this increases their buy in and accountability. Here are some ideas:
- Establish a values grounded behavior jar
- Add marbles when they complete their daily responsibilities
- Add marbles when they are cooperating with one another
- Add marbles when they are using respectful words and actions
- They can redeem their marbles for various rewards that they helped choose
- Keep the rewards more on a social level (avoid rewards that are overly materialistic), such as baking a special treat together (sharing some of the treat with their friends – you can make a special trip to drop it off at their front door), popcorn and movie night, board games, etc …)
- Link electronic time with completion of their daily tasks. For example, they earn an extra 15 minutes on electronics for successfully taking care of their daily responsibilities
- One of the most effective ways to reinforce positive, values grounded behavior is praise and positive recognition. Find different ways of acknowledging their positive efforts and behavior
- With older kids, consider saying things like, ‘Nice job at getting your work done today – that shows maturity and I am proud of you.’ or ‘I can only imagine how difficult it is for you to have had to adjust to all these changes – you are doing a remarkable job in handling it.’
An effective leader seeks feedback. As the leader at home, check in with your kids and get their feedback on how the ‘Plan’ is going. Practice structured flexibility– keep the structure of a routine though be flexible in making adjustments.
Just as you are adjusting to a new routine, so are your children. Practice patience as you establish a new sense of normalcy at home. Provide ongoing praise and encouragement to support their efforts at adjusting to the significant changes.