We’ve seen them all before, the jokes about the family lockdown turning sour. So to avoid chaos, arguments, and discouragement, here are some organizational tips.
Table of contents
- We establish a schedule for the day and the week
- We take breaks during the day
- Sharing the chores as a family
- Physical and creative activities
- Screen time is allowed, but limits are set
- Make it clear that you are working
- Think about your relationship
- Manage stocks calmly
- Pamper yourself
- The containment is well explained to the children, and they are helped to calm down
We establish a schedule for the day and the week
Ideal to avoid everyone hanging out in their pajamas until noon or going to bed at midnight. The schedule allows you to “normalize” the situation and to structure everyone’s day, to give the children points of reference: waking up, work, meals, nap/quiet time, games, shower, chores, TV time, dinner, story time, bedtime.
There is no need to be too strict in the schedules during this period of confinement; we can use the sign “about.”
Children can make up this “special lockdown” schedule to post around the house.
An excellent way to make it your own and to be able to refer to it during the day.
Finally, for the weekends, think about “breaking the rhythm.” Don’t work. You can relax specific rules, such as bedtime. One possibility to make Saturday swing a little: define a theme, as in the leisure center (cowboy, pirates, and football). This will give ideas for meals, activities, movies.
We take breaks during the day
Whether you have to work or not, breaks are essential for breathing whether your children are of school age or not. Plan at least two breaks a day. One in the middle of the morning. One in the afternoon. These “breaks” can take place in the garden. If not, in another room than the one shared with the other members of the family. Each child can play in his or her “bubble.” And for the parents, it is the occasion to have a coffee, call a friend, and read the news. The confinement is going to last; you have to keep your strength up.
Sharing the chores as a family
Preparing meals, clearing the table, doing laundry, cleaning, tidying up: if you take on everything, you’re likely to break down. The solution: get the kids involved, even more than usual, during this period of confinement. Either by indicating times devoted to these tasks in the general planning or by making a dedicated table of responsibilities.
Physical and creative activities
Schools send work by e-mail or on ENT, but this will probably not be enough to keep children busy all day. As for the little ones also need resources to continue learning and growing; in short, making a list of ideas will be a great help. You can post them on the fridge or write them down on small pieces of paper to pick out.
Some simple ideas: reading, cooking, knitting, drawing, painting, playing board games, making salt dough, origami, listening to stories (audiobooks or podcasts), repairing objects, decorating your room, dressing up, putting on a show, dancing, doing yoga or meditation, doing gymnastics, mime, calling friends, writing to them, making up stories, making videos, making household products, sorting toys.
And if you are lucky enough to have a garden: play sports, outdoor games, take care of plants, make a herbarium, observe insects.
Screen time is allowed, but limits are set
V and web resources abound, and that’s good. Just make sure you limit their use, especially for children already working on a screen for their “homework,” and preference the afternoon slots (beginning or end). Here again, to pick and choose without thinking, you can list the apps, sites, films, and programs you hear about on the networks and feel suitable for your children’s age. Think educational games, meditation sessions, shows like “C’est pas sorcier,” classic movies and cartoons, museums that offer virtual tours.
Make it clear that you are working
If you telework, do your best to identify the times when you will not be available at all (video conference, report to be written, for example), and make this clear to your children, whom you will have occupied beforehand with a fairly long activity that they can carry out independently. If possible, set up your “workstation” in a separate room, or at least in a well-defined area where your children are not allowed to touch your stuff… If you have an urgent phone call, give your children a sign (the famous “time out” of the PE teacher) so that they understand that they must leave you alone. If you have a baby, the playpen and pacifier can get you out of critical situations. When you’re not working, try to keep your smartphone at bay.
Think about your relationship
Ideally, after lunch, time for a coffee to talk “between adults” during the nap. If your children are older, set up a quiet time. You can also decide to have dinner alone when the children are in bed or playing a last game in the evening. This also allows you to talk about everything without worrying the children too much. Consider planning activities together to relax. A massage session, watching a movie or series curled up on the couch, making photo albums, reading.
Manage stocks calmly
We draw up a shopping list for a week, thinking carefully about all the departments in the supermarket. Fresh food to continue to eat healthily and enjoy cooking (vegetables, fruit, fish, meat), fast food for the rush (pasta, cheese sandwiches, biscuits), hygiene essentials (soap, nappies). You can also plan a few menus, which will make the organization of the week easier.
Living together 24 hours a day, especially with young children, while working and with the stress of getting sick can be very nerve-wracking. If you feel that good communication (calm, clear rules, regular debriefings) is no longer enough to contain the children or your irritability, hand over to your partner and isolate yourself to regain energy with simple things: jogging, a hot bath, a meditation session, an aperitif with friends on Zoom.
The containment is well explained to the children, and they are helped to calm down
Children can feel stressed by the organization but also by the information they hear. Do not hesitate to explain to them in simple words why you are confined, the dangers of this virus, but also the hopes to defeat it very quickly.
Several actions can help them overcome the stress: don’t let them listen to the continuous news channels, teach them the barrier gestures and the symptoms to make them responsible, encourage them to take care of their grandparents (a little letter, a photo, a video, a Facetime call from time to time). Also, think about making longer-term plans with the children. For example, for the summer holidays, or their birthday, even if it’s a few weeks later. Children old enough to write can also keep a little logbook of this period of confinement where they tell about their days, their impressions.
Although social distancing restrictions have been taken away, fear, uncertainty, and being cooped up at home to halt the spread of COVID-19 can make it difficult for families to maintain their composure. However, it is critical to assist youngsters in feeling safe, adhering to healthy routines, managing their emotions and behavior, and developing resilience.