In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, schools and childcare providers across the country have ceased operations, leaving many parents wondering just what the hell to do with their kids all day long. This would be a challenge under normal circumstances, but it’s even more difficult now that the usual go-tos—parks, playgrounds and playdates—are out of the picture. Add in the fact that so many of us are juggling childcare with working from home and days can quickly spiral into chaos.
So what can you do to reign in the mayhem? Create a daily schedule for kids to help give them some structure. “Young children get comfort and security from a predictable routine,” Bright Horizons’ vice president of education and development Rachel Robertson tells us. “Routines and schedules help us all when we know generally what to expect, what happens next and what is expected of us.”
But before you roll your eyes at another color-coded, Insta-COVID-perfect schedule that accounts for every minute of your mini’s day (including a back-up plan for inclement weather), keep in mind that these are sample schedules created by real moms. Use them as a starting point to plan an itinerary that works for your family. And remember that flexibility is key. (Toddler on a nap strike? Move on to the next activity. Your son misses his friends and wants to FaceTime with them instead of doing crafts? Give the kid a break.) “Your schedule doesn’t have to be rigid, but it should be consistent and predictable,” says Robertson.