How To Make a Daily Routine For Your Family & Important Activities To Include

Over the past few years, I’ve discovered that routines help. Like you, I have a lot of responsibilities in my busy life and activities that we like to do. At this time the errands, play dates and traveling that we used to do have come to an abrupt end but routine is still very important.

If you don’t make a routine the days just run right into each other and before you know it – you’ve accomplished nothing.

Staying healthy and sane during any type of isolation or quarantine as an adult is hard enough, but when you consider the challenges for your children, it is especially difficult. They are used to seeing their friends, getting their exercise and following a strict routine during the week.

Normally our day would look something like this:

  • 4:30 am – I’d get up and work until my son would get up
  • 7:00 am – DMan would get up, we’d have conversation, sometimes I’d cook him breakfast.
  • 9:00 to 10 am – This is the goal time that I’d quit working and we’d start our day
  • 10 am – Homeschool
  • 12 pm – Lunch
  • 1 pm – Meet up with friends, hike or run errands
  • 4 pm or 5 pm – Home and cooking dinner
  • 5 pm – Evening routines (eat, shower, spend time doing our own thing or spending time together)
  • 9 pm – Get ready for bed
  • 10 pm – Be asleep πŸ™‚

As you can see we made exercise and spending time with our friends an important part of our day before – now it looks something like this:

  • 5:30 am (if I’m lucky) I get up to work
  • 7:00 to 9:00 am – My son gets up, conversations
  • 10 am – I made a goal to stop at this time, then we eat
  • 11 am – Start school (games, documentaries, etc)
  • 12 pm – Eat lunch
  • 1 – 3 pm – Free time….it gets extended.
  • (Above schedule we’re still working on mastering!)

We’re both responsible for exercising on the stationary bike or the Total Gym machine that we have.

Unfortunately, the days seem to run together. The only way we can tell what day it is is on the weekends because my brother still works outside the home during the week. When it is the weekend he stays home.

I know from past experience that we rely on some type of routine in our day and your child isn’t any different. A lot of kids thrive on having that routine in place.

That means before when they were home they were used to it being the weekend. Weekends signals that they can have fun with their games, maybe do a little homework, play with their friends, and eat more snacks than on a normal day.

During this unusual time, parents are now homeschooling their children and being home isn’t like it was before. They can’t go to their friends’ house, they have to do schoolwork on a daily basis (at home) and they have to stay in or around their house most of the time.

So setting up a routine will help you, as well as them.

Here are some tips for getting your kids on a healthy routine while you’re spending more time at home. As you can see above, I’m still working on this. πŸ™‚

Make a Basic Daily Schedule

One thing that you can do to help kids stay focused and on track would be to make a daily schedule. I wrote on a dry erase time calendar like this one that had the time and the activity but you can also use a daily schedule pocket chart as they have at school.

Having a clear schedule ensures that they know what kinds of activities will be happening throughout the day, and where they will be fitting into things – the key is sticking with the schedule and adjusting it if it isn’t working.

I have ours posted that we can see it. That way we can both easily look to see what time it is and what we’re supposed to be doing. Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been adjusting it to make it work for us.

By doing this it will still give your kids a sense of order that can bring comfort in times that are difficult.

Make Time to Work Off Emotional Energies

Even though you might be inside for a time waiting for a disruptive event to end, physical movement is very important. I believe this with every fiber of my being. My son has so much physical energy I can practically see it bouncing off him in waves.

I know that being stuck inside with limited physical activity is extremely hard on him. Before we’d meet friends at the park, at their homes or at an indoor play area. The indoor play area was a trampoline place and we bought the homeschool membership, so we could be there for hours – most of which he was active and playing.

Health-Family-Goals-Walk-300-Miles18

Children have energy and I know that if my son doesn’t get enough he starts acting out. Sometimes he’ll start pestering me (not mean, just being a little ornery) or he’ll give me an attitude that he normally wouldn’t.

So it is so important to schedule exercise into your day – EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

The exercise doesn’t matter – get up and jump around, dance, and do some kind of sustained exercise to get the blood flowing and heart rate up. As I mentioned we have a stationary bike and a Total Gym Fitness machine.

We also have the Yes.Fit app (Walking) and the Down Dog (Yoga).

I’ve seen several offline classes come online by using Zoom.us, so if your child was in an offline class – call and see if they’re offering something during the week.

Also, homeschoolers use a great website called Outschool for online classes. If you want something structured you can take a look at the site. If you want something specific you can search for it – examples would be yoga, karate, strength training, etc.

Don’t Forget About Recess!

Your kids have recess at school, where they probably go outside and play at least twice a day. You can have morning and afternoon recess at home as well. Even when it is cold – it is still good to get outside for some fresh air.

We have two guinea pigs and so when it is nice we both take them outside to eat the grass and roam around. They are highly entertaining and it is a way to get out of the house.

Spend Time Listening to Your Children

Being an adult takes a lot of focus, but one thing that a lot of parents forget to do is to take time listening to their children. Even though I’m with my son all day every day I still need to stop and listen to what he’s saying.

Sometimes this is hard when they have a passion we might not find interesting but if you don’t take the time now when they’re young – they’ll feel like why should they talk to you because you never listen.

Making your children felt heard can be very beneficial, and you can get information about how they feel each day.

It also gives a chance to give ideas on how they can spend time, or what kinds of activities they would like to do. Right now my son likes to play video games. He keeps records of his activities and what he’s doing, but yesterday he took the time to build a camera stand so that he could record what he was doing and he also took time to start a mask.

Use what you learn from your kids to switch up their routine, not just for their physical health, but mental health as well.

You can also research what they’re interested in so that you an hold a conversation with them. Another way to connect is to ask them questions or have them teach you to do it.

My son thrives and gets excited when you ask him to teach you to do something he loves.

Cook and Bake Together

One major goal that I have for my son is for him to be able to cook and bake when he leaves my household. I’ll often have him help me with dinner or he is responsible for cooking a dinner.

I’ve been teaching him how to use the slow cooker, as well as the Instant Pot because both of these can be extremely easy to use.

Over the last few months when I cook Taco Soup for dinner we’ll work together. I brown the ground beef and he adds all the ingredients to the slow cooker.

I want him to get the experience of baking as well, so he gets to bake one dessert or treat a week.

One of our favorite desserts lately comes out of a cookbook called, “Chef Gino’s Taste Test Challenge” and is called Easy Cake. It is very good. You don’t even have to wait for it to arrive because you can get the Kindle version on Amazon. Yay!

Over the last few weeks I’ve been cooking and baking more than normal. I’m not sure what is up but I’m totally obsessed with cooking dough. I want to cook bread, rolls, flat bread and calzones.

I’m waiting on more flour and yeast right now but I can still make flatbread!

I’ve been using this recipe for flatbread, but I think I’ll try this one because it uses 3 ingredients for their flatbread and one of them is yogurt (which we just bought a big tub of it!)

This is a great time to have him help me while I’m going through my baking obsession. He’ll learn how to make so many things and when they fail (which they do) – we can talk about different ways we can try it again.

I like to involve him because as an adult he’ll need to learn the essential skills of cooking. Eventually, I’d like to turn the kitchen and dinner making over to him at least once a week. πŸ™‚

Having a schedule is so important but I believe that the most important thing that we could do right now is connect with our children. My son is almost 11 years old. The time has gone by so fast.

Not only that but they might not tell you how stressed this situation is for them. Even though they don’t mention it they’re still feeling the impact of it all. I’ve noticed that my son seems to need me a lot more – he wants me to watch him play his game or talk to him more. I’m okay with this and adjust what I’m doing so that I can focus on him and what he needs.

You don’t have to go overboard with your routine, just pick something that will help you through the days. Grab your pen and start today. πŸ™‚

~April

P.S. If you’re not interested in creating an hour by hour routine, here is a video on another option a “block schedule“.

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12 Comments

  1. Shrilekha Joshi April 4, 2020 at 3:50 pm

    Every single point is valuable for me. I have a to do list but then yours is beyond perfection. I want to get up early and do my work so that child gets her home schooling..lovely read..thanks..a lot

    1. April Lemarr April 4, 2020 at 9:24 pm

      Hi Shrilekha,

      In my ideal world I like to get up around 5 am but since virus has happened I’ve had a hard time getting up early. I’ve finally got to 5:45 am. I’m sure as time goes by I’ll go back to my early mornings. πŸ™‚

      But it is the best way for me to be able to get everything done. I’ve tried many things and getting up early works for me.

      ~April

  2. Jeanine Byers April 4, 2020 at 4:23 pm

    Wow! What a fantastic post!! You have inspired me. I have gotten away from planning my day, because my son is mostly doing this last year of homeschooling on his own, in independent study. I have an accidental morning routine, but should get more on purpose about it. Especially given the stress we all have going on right now. I need to be sure to nurture myself and make time to spend with my son that is on purpose and not just whenever it happens during the day.

    1. April Lemarr April 4, 2020 at 9:27 pm

      Hi Jeanine,

      I have to work on purposely giving him time and attention. Lately, we’ve been playing Donkey Kong on the Nintendo Switch, watching a movie or tv series episode at night and I’ve been reading a book to him during the day.

      I’d use the accidental morning routine and figure out what works and expand on that. πŸ™‚

      ~April

  3. Dr.Amrita Basu April 4, 2020 at 5:37 pm

    I like the idea of a schedule and we used to have one before the Lockdown.Reading this post I think I will make one with my daughter tomorrow. The days are running together in crazy ways.Stay safe

    1. April Lemarr April 4, 2020 at 9:30 pm

      Hi Dr. Amrita Basu,

      We didn’t have much of a routine for a couple of weeks and it felt like we didn’t get anything accomplished. He’d do his thing and I’d do mine. Now we have a routine and some days it works amazing and we follow it and other days we have to adjust it.

      You stay safe as well. We’ve been self-isolating before our state went to Stay Safe, Stay Home but we were also a hot spot because up North was the senior assisted living that had the COVID-19.

      ~April

  4. Kat Sturtz April 4, 2020 at 8:09 pm

    If my kids were still school-age there’s a good chance I’d be home-schooling. Your schedules remind me of ours when kids were young I growing up on our dairy farm. Just substitute some of the school and free time for tending animals and crops.

    1. April Lemarr April 4, 2020 at 9:19 pm

      Kat,

      When I was young we always had animals – not a dairy farm, but we always had horses, cows, goats, donkeys, and other animals.

      I love homeschooling and think it has worked well for our family.

      ~April

  5. Carrie A Tripp April 4, 2020 at 11:40 pm

    April, great examples for this season. I am such a proponent of schedules. Especially schedules for kids. Scheduling teaches so many *soft* skills that are necessary to be effect productive members of society.

    1. April Lemarr April 5, 2020 at 2:47 pm

      Hi Carrie,

      I think schedules are important especially when you are a homeschooler who doesn’t have to have one. I want to make sure that even though we don’t need one that doesn’t mean he won’t in the future. As people, we all rely on the clock for appointments, jobs and so much more – so I’ve got to make sure he realizes how important they are now.

      ~April

  6. Martha April 5, 2020 at 5:34 am

    You sure have a busy schedule! I have to have a schedule even though I don’t have school aged children. My days tend to flow all together and without a schedule I don’t have a clue what day it is at times. LOL. When my 1 1/2 year old G-Granddaughter is with us we also have baking days. She loves helping and even through she’s young she is still learning. Plus she helps me stay on schedule.

    1. April Lemarr April 5, 2020 at 2:51 pm

      Hi Martha,

      Yes, we do have a busy schedule – even when we’re self-isolating. πŸ™‚ I have to make sure that we get school, work and household chores done during the day. Some days it works better than others but each day I try to make it work.

      Oh, children are so fun. It is amazing how much joy they bring to our lives. I remember when my son first started helping me cook and all he wanted to do was chop vegetables. OMG – that was the scariest thing ever! But I let him do it (with supervision) because I wanted him to have the skill to use it.

      ~April

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