Establish a Routine

Tips and Resources

Routines can facilitate a sense of normalcy even in these abnormal times. Explore below for help getting on schedule so you thrive despite disruptions from the pandemic.

Tips

General

  1. Dedicate time each week to plan, discuss, and write down schedules of everyone in the home
  2. Reflect on the previous week when planning ahead
  3. Start with simple routines, such as regular wake times or mealtimes
  4. Try to eat meals at the same time each day. Schedule a few family meals during the week
  5. Include family activities, screen-free time, alone time, and relaxation time
  6. Dedicate time for wellness, including alone time, screen-free time, and time for exercise
  7. Keep a family calendar where everyone can see it
  8. Test drive your schedules and find what works best for you
  9. Be flexible and avoid strict time blocks. Not every minute needs to be accounted for
  10. Find what works for you and your family, and don’t be discouraged if your first tries aren’t successful

For Teens

  1. Try to stick to a week day / weekend framework, even your teen is learning remotely
  2. Encourage teens to use a calendar, planner, or app to keep track of their own schedules and school assignments
  3. Dedicate blocks of time for school work and projects
  4. Work together with your teens on scheduling screen-free time
  5. Encourage your teens to shower and get dressed even if they aren’t leaving the house

For Kids

  1. Let your kids customize their schedules with pictures or their own writing
  2. Be mindful of child attention spans. Plan lots of short breaks throughout the day
  3. Use schedules as an opportunity to teach time, days of the week, etc.
  4. Let your kids be bored. Don’t take on the burden of always having to find them something to do

For Infants and Toddlers

  1. For the first few months of life, infants generally aren’t ready for a schedule
  2. Work toward a general sleep and feeding schedule for your infant, allowing flexibility for feeding on cue
  3. As you are able, keep a consistent nighttime routine
  4. Keep consistent bedtimes and nap times for your toddler

Articles

Importance of Routines

Routine Basics

Sample Routines

Videos

Activities

Frequently Asked Questions: Establishing a Routine

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Q.

What are some good apps to help sync my family’s calendars and agendas?

A.

Many phones have a built-in calendar, but options such as Google Calendar are free and can be shared among multiple people.

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Q.

How detailed should my weekly plans be?

A.

This depends on what works best for you and your family. Experiment with schedules of varying detail and choose what makes you the most effective and happy.

Q.

Should I make a plan for every day of the week?

A.

Including every day in your plan will help you stay consistent, even if most of your day is scheduled for down time.

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Q.

We never seem to stick very closely to the schedules that we make. How can we improve this?

A.

Start out slow; try scheduling one or two days in your week and then ramp it up as you are more able to stick to your schedules. Also try making less detailed/intensive schedules.

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Q.

How can I help my kids take control of their own schedules?

A.

Involve your kids with the scheduling process. Ask what they have going on in their week and allow them to schedule the time they need for it. Revisit their plans in future planning sessions, ask them if they had enough time, and allow them to implement changes based on what they learned.

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Q.

Our family struggles finding a time in which we can all be together for dinner. How important are meals to a schedule?

A.

Regular meals are an important component of a healthy diet. Eating together as a family has a host of benefits for a family’s relationships and is a good time to check in. That said, it can be difficult to find a time to eat together. Try starting with one regular family meal per week, and don’t stress if you can’t get the whole family there every time.

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