April 2, 2020


Summit Center Updates

Pro Tips: Maintaining a Routine

Now that your children have been home from school for a few weeks, you might and your family really struggling with the disruption in regular school routines. You might be working from home (as am I) and wondering how you are going to make this work, getting your work done while helping your child stay in a learning routine. If you have not started one already, a change to a daily learning routine might not be easy, especially at first. But if you can get this going now, you will find it easier to stick with for the long haul (and we might be in this for the long haul).

Everyone’s daily learning routine will look different, based on individual and family goals. Think about your needs as well as your child’s in order to make this successful. Get up every “school day” at the same time. If your child’s school is providing distance learning, work that into the schedule as required. If this is not the case, but packets are being sent home, break these packets into reasonable amounts of work. If you know math is particularly difficult for your child, get that done first. Your child’s teacher will most likely have ideas and tools to help you be successful in the home. One example is a visual schedule that will help your child know what is coming next.

Some parents might not feel confident in their teaching abilities, but, although most parents are not trained teachers, they do have advantages – parents know their children well, parents have control over their household, and parents do not have to teach for a full 6 ½ hours a day. Another advantage we have as parents is that we can choose what our lessons will be at any time! For example – a warm sunny day can lead to a spontaneous nature hike. Classroom teachers are not allowed to do this, and such outings can be a welcome break.

It is very easy to get discouraged, especially at first, when implementing a learning routine. The level of stress we are experiencing at the moment does not help either. It is important to remember that your child’s actual academic time does not have to be the full length of time that she or he would ordinarily be in school. There are many activities that can be done that can be considered learning, which can fill that time:

  • dancing and yoga (gym)
  • baking and cooking (science, home economics, and activities of daily living)
  • or creating a shopping list and budgeting (activities of daily living and home accounting).

Your routine should be flexible and alternate activities your child does not prefer with those that are enjoyed. Keep your child’s developmental level and stress tolerance in mind when planning your routines.

There are a few other keys to success with your learning routines. It is important to praise your child when they are successful or listen well. It is also important to give yourself a break, both literally and figuratively. Take some time out of your day just for you. This might have to wait until after your child’s bedtime, but schedule it if you have to (just please take the time to do it). Don’t be too hard on yourself if every day is not 100% successful. What we are experiencing now has never been experienced before by anyone in recent history!

It is unlikely you are going to fully recreate your child’s classroom, but keeping to a learning routine will make the transition much easier when we finally return to “normal.” Keeping that in mind will make that easier to stick to a routine right now. Having some fun with it every day will make it enjoyable in the moment so be sure to include that in the plan, too!

Pro Tips provided by Laura Skotarczak, Director of Genesis Community Support Services.