by Mary Qamaniq-Mason
My son Nathan edited and approved this post 👍This is the schedule/rhythm/routine that we use with our gifted-spirited-challenging Fireball (and cousins, and foster children, and whoever is home) in the summer/on holidays/on weekends, and now EVERY SINGLE DAY!
It’s fantastic if your kids don’t need a structured routine to be happy! And it’s fantastic if you have a daily routine that looks very different! I am posting this here so it might reach the parents that will find it useful in this challenging time ❤ I know that some are really struggling.
A note: If you look closely this daily rhythm involves alternating between rest and activity. This is a foundational philosophical principle of Yoga: it says that the Good Life, the creative, joyful, dynamic life, depends on continually striving for the right balance between rest and activity. True for grown-ups, true for kids, and true for the planet. While this balance sounds simple enough, in practice it requires tremendous skill that can be honed for a lifetime.
1 – Wake up, work on morning list (teeth, hair, dress, etc) and play in room alone or with siblings till parents are up and ready.
2 – Family breakfast, then family household chores all together (plus any other nag-y activities kids might not want to do ie. bathe).
3 – Computer time. When all items above are completed you earn some computer/phone time to play video games, learn how to google stuff, skype grandma, do the Mo Willam’s masterclass, whatever. *(Have trouble switching the screen off after this activity? Agree on a plan ahead of time every.single.time: decide together on what activity will come after screen time; set a timer for screen time; give a reminder a few minutes before that timer goes off.)
4 – The One Big Activity. This is where one parent goes all in. Choose one thing. Go outside. Homeschool. Creative projects. Indoor obstacle courses. Boardgames. Forts. Baking. Be awesome together.
5 – Lunch (and clean up).
6 – Quiet time. Everyone in their own bedroom (or separate rooms of the house if kids share a room). Read or listen to an audiobook and rest or play quietly. (In our house quiet time is mandatory for everyone including grown-ups and lasts 1 hour.)
7 – Netflix/tv/movie time (purposely placed directly after quiet time in order to give parents a long, restorative, reliable break). When TV is turned off it signals snack time.
8 – Tricky time. All hands on deck for witching hour/post screen time. We go into this time armed with a variety of options and judge which is most appropriate after checking in with each kid. At this tricky time of day a child might need a) A loud and crazy physical activity (ie. wrestle with Dad, play tag in the front yard, dance party, family walk); b) A solo decompress activity (ie. Lego, art); c) A connection activity (ie. reading together, chatting together while you cook dinner).
9 – Family dinner, debrief from day, share your bests and worsts, tell some jokes if energy is low. Clean up together IF the kids can still take it.
10 – Upstairs time. For us, we “close” downstairs (turn off lights, etc.) a full 90 minutes before actual bedtime, and start Cozy Time. Go to bedrooms for the last playtime of the day. Then bedtime list (pjs, teeth, etc.) and get cozy in bed and read to yourself. Then a parent will come by to read/sing to you, tuck you in, and turn off the lights.
Happy Quarantining 😅