This week we’ve all been working at settling into a new routine or at least figuring out our new “normal”. On one hand, it feels as if we now have all the time in the world. On the other hand, there are moments when it feels like we don’t have time for all the new demands this situation places on those of us who are now balancing work and home life with everyone, including our children, at home.
Someone asked earlier this week, “Anyone else struggling with longer days and then wanting alone/reset time at night? I keep wishing I would set up an activity at night for mornings – and I know it’s me needing to adjust. Would love to hear what you all do first thing out of bed to kind of get everyone up slowly but with engagement!”
I have a few thoughts, though I welcome anyone to comment below and share your thoughts or suggestions . . .
- First, yes, we are all adapting, and gradually we’ll settle into new routines just as our children are learning to do. This may be a process of experimentation, and some days will be easier than others. To begin, take some time to acknowledge where you are struggling/need support or areas that you want to tweak to make your life easier. Once you identify those areas, it will be easier to ask for what you need and take baby steps in that direction.
- When you do have energy/time, think about setting small, attainable goals. Can you clear an area of your home as a designated independent play area? Can you clear some high shelves to stock with some special “ready-to-go” activities that can be pulled out with little to no prep, like play dough or an art basket? Can you set up a low shelf or cabinet where your child can access toys or activities that don’t require your immediate engagement first thing in the morning, like blocks, magnets or felt? Can you do any of this work with your child to save yourself time?
- Much of this will be age-dependent, but there are ways you can accommodate, and if screen time is what allows you to gain a little time and preserve a little sanity, then that’s ok. You can then set up expectations and share them with your child. “You may watch one hour of cartoons while I work, then we’ll do an activity together.” or “Right now we are going to have independent play. That means you can choose between playing with toys in your room, going outside or reading books. After that, we’ll work on something together.” This may be challenging depending on age and temperament, but it’s a helpful practice and may help everyone in the long run.
Personally, I am working on getting enough rest and trusting that I’ll find time to do all the things and trusting each day that what I’m doing is enough! I’m resisting the urge to “catch up” on the news or social media and trying to involve Frances in brainstorming activities we can do together and that she can do independently. I’m also trying to involve her in cleaning the house and preparing spaces where she can work. I’m trying to do a little work at night, though trying to get to bed earlier. I aspire to wake up earlier than her to get some work done when I’m most productive or to have some “me” time. I also have recently resorted to allowing her limited screen time to first thing in the morning, so I can get myself sorted. Thank you PBS! I then feel more prepared and able to spend uninterrupted time with her the rest of the day.
I know each of our situations is unique, but hopefully there’s something here that will help and, of course, I’m here if you want to chat further! And, again, we’d love to hear from others. Feel free to comment here or reach out to each other directly. Sometimes it simply helps to vent and know that we’re not alone. ❤