92Y Parenting Center Director Sally Tannen offers some tips for creating structure to allow both parents and kids to thrive best:
For young children:
- Make a visual schedule. Little ones love being to see the activities for the day, and having something concrete really helps them.
- Create the schedule together as a craft project. Use stickers, draw pictures or glue photos on the chart—whatever cues you think will help children know what to expect.
- The sequence of activities will be as works best for your family, but categories can include things like:
This is when we take a walk
This is when we have lunch
This is when you have your nap
This is when we have playtime
This is when we read
- Screen time is difficult to eliminate entirely when everyone is home and children are restless. Designate an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon when young children can use a screen device, and be clear that the other times are when they can’t.
For older children:
- Creating a general schedule is still important, though the shape of that will be very different for a seven-year-old than a 12-year-old.
- Establish guidelines and communicate them effectively.
- Screen time for older children needs to take into account online schoolwork and learning, along with a family’s regular allowances and routines. But it’s very easy for older children to become more deeply engaged in texting and social media when their regular activities are temporarily unavailable. No one knows your family better than you. Remember that you’re still in charge, even if you get some pushback!