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How Can I Establish Structure for My Child During the Chaos of a Pandemic?

Living through a pandemic feels like a constant rollercoaster. Guidelines change daily, updates occur hourly, and fears can escalate at any moment. While this can be challenging for any adult, it can also leave you, as a parent, unsure of how to establish structure for your child during this time. These tools can be helpful for you as you consider how to provide your child with the structure they need to be successful during this uneasy time.

1. Take the time to get grounded yourself

You are your child’s best role model. Your behaviors guide how your child will act and feel. This is why your self care is a priority. Take the time to get yourself grounded:

  • Spend a few minutes each morning journal writing or meditating.
  • Exercise each day
  • Devote 30 minutes reading your favorite book.

Whatever it might look like for you, spend the time each day for self care. Your child is more likely to stay calm and composed, if you feel that way too. 

2. Stay consistent with routines

Children of every age need consistent routines. This is even more true during the chaos of a pandemic. Work with your child to create a daily schedule, and stick to it. Decide:

  • When will your child wake up each morning, go to bed each evening, and when will each activity take place throughout the day?
  • Does your child need a visual schedule?
  • Where will you post the schedule?
  • How will you make sure the schedule is followed?

Post the schedule in a place where everyone can view it, and be sure to stick to it. Consistency is key to establishing structure. 

3. Use clocks and timers

Clocks and timers can be very helpful in establishing structure for your child.

  • Have clocks throughout the house
  • Refer to the clocks when discussing your family’s schedule and activities.
  • Use timers to keep your child on pace throughout the day.
  • Set a timer when letting your child know that playtime is almost over, or use a timer to give them warning that it is almost bedtime. 

4. Make movement a priority

This pandemic has brought along with it a lot of uncertainty in regards to organized sports, outdoor activities and playdates. Because of this change, many children are not getting their typical movement and exercise.

  • Movement is essential for children to have an overall healthy social, emotional, and physical development.
  • Movement during the day can help children to get adequate sleep at night.
  • In order to establish structure for your child, find ways to add movement to your child’s daily schedule. 

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