This isn’t a new topic in our community, but this is a new experience, and we find ourselves asking, now what? Toddlers thrive on routine and consistency, and with new social distancing practices in place and many parents now working from home, we find ourselves suddenly grappling with managing new dynamics in our home and are wondering how best to meet the needs of our little ones during such an uncertain time. I don’t know about you, but when I started seeing suggestions for setting up a schedule at home for my kiddo, the educator in me thought, Ok, I see some value in this, but the parent in me, thought, Oh no, I don’t think so, we’re going to get through this in our own way. No alarm clock, no appointments, no pressure to do something, and NO feeling guilty for not adhering to a self-prescribed schedule!
Now, I will admit that we are slowly settling into a very loose schedule, and the structure, although lax, is giving me a greater sense of peace. And, really that’s what it should be about, right? Instead of a schedule, I encourage and invite you to start thinking about what daily rhythms and rituals might bring your family peace during this time. Remember that your schedule doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s nor does it have to look like “school.”
Yes, toddlers need consistency and routine, but they can also be resilient and adaptable, at least, they are learning to be. In truth, we all are. Keep in mind that most of us are so accustomed to living by our daily calendar, many of us have forgotten how to just be. Children are actually really good at this. Play is their work, and, yes, you will find yourself needing to engage them regularly, but you don’t have to fill every moment with activity for their sake. They will be ok!
Ease into this upcoming chapter. Breathe. Establish some daily rituals that feel good and ground you, and do it at your own pace. Set up a loose schedule with a lot of space between activities. I know some of you will be working from home, so that may present you with some different constraints which will require some creativity and support. We’re hopeful to share some ideas with you that will help you out towards that end. Above all, don’t be too hard on yourself and do what you need to do to take care of yourself and your family. You’ve got this, and we’re here cheering you on!