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In our last two blogposts we talked about developing a "Lockdown Childcare Strategy" and the first key variable we wanted you to consider adjusting was SCHEDULED ROUTINES. 

In this simple post, let's walk through what an effective schedule for both a mom and her kid would be: 

KID'S SCHEDULE

1) 6:30-7:30am wake up and do morning routine 

2) 7:30-8:30am breakfast and chat with family 

3) 8:30am-12:30pm begin "preschool" learning/activities. Test how long YOUR child's attention span is for doing structured learning activities, and split up this time into Learning Sessions of that length. So if your child can stay on an activity for 30 minutes, then have 30 min sessions with 10 or 15 minute breaks in between. 

4) 12:30pm-1:30pm lunch time & walk off the food (this should be your lunchtime too, if you're at home. Take the hour off! Your colleagues or customers or whatever can wait. It's a normal lunch hour, and your kids need quality time with you -- so this hour each day kills 2 birds with 1 stone). 


***if you want to really optimize your time and take a huge burden off your shoulders, then I can't emphasize enough how great it is to Meal Prep say every Sunday for the entire week. Get some well-made glass containers free of toxins, cook all you and your kid's meals for the week in a several-hour spree on Sunday, store what will go bad in the freezer, and put the rest in the fridge. That way when 12:30pm comes, you'll be able to simply pull out the right container, reheat it on the stove or microwave, and voila. Takes less than 5 minutes to have ready. 


5) 1:30-2:00pm nap time 

6) 2:00-5:30pm resume Learning Sessions with breaks and naps in between -- because of the importance of Unstructured Play and Solo Playtime in early childhood development, you should aim to have at least 30 minutes of each somewhere in your schedule. When you and your spouse are done with work, you can play and love on your kid some more. 

6) 5:30-7:00pm dinner with the family, and WITHOUT the TV or any screens (this is an extremely important ritual to adopt if it's not there, Michael Gurian and many others have researched the impact of unified family dinners on the long-term development of children)  

7) 7:00-8:00pm evening routine and bedtime 


YOUR SCHEDULE

When you're crafting YOUR own schedule, bear in mind that you've got several hours of uninterrupted time starting from when your kid goes to bed. Alternatively, if you're a real morning bird, then you've got a couple hours prior to your kid's wake-up time to get things done. Choose wisely for what works for you! And I implore you to stick to it with consistency. 

Assume you're a night owl like me, and bent on doing LOTS of work, staying as productive as possible all the time; this sample schedule would make more sense in that case. 

1) 6:30-7:30am wake up and do morning routine (take kid with you for morning walk, meditate, have a cup of coffee, and review plans for the day -- without immediately jumping on the phone, email, text, social media, or worst, the news) 

2) 7:30-8:30am breakfast and chat with family 

3) 8:30am-12:30pm; and 1:30-5:30pm This one's really important. You have to communicate with your kids (to the extent that they're capable) that you need to do your work so you can't always be around; however, you still are always there for them emotionally, you always love them, etc. They really do need to hear that in their first few years, otherwise they might develop deep-seated feelings of abandonment that haunt them later in life. So wrapping the message in motherly love is so important. Beyond that you can say that during break times you'll see them, but for a lot of the day you have work to do. If there's something really bad (emergency) they can ring a bell or something simple like that. 

Little kids are very needy -- there's no way around that. This fact can cause a ton of stress, resentment, anger, frustration, you name it. We get it, we truly do. 

But what doesn't need to happen is that you feel overcome by those feelings, and by that fact. One thing you have in your power is to identify PATTERNS in your children's behavior: what things do they keep interrupting me about? Do they just need easier access to go potty? Do they need more water than I thought? Are they hungry at certain times? Are there things I can simply leave them or teach them how to do so that they don't need to come grab me for it? 

Think about what it's like to be in THEIR shoes -- a child barely capable of language or the complex cognitive processes we grown-ups take for granted every day. Yet they're stressed, nervous, anxious, worried, mad, sad, afraid, or all sorts of things about whatever's going on in their world. Imagine how hard that must be, to try to get the message across! 


4) 12:30-1:30pm lunchtime and quality time with kid then back to work 

5) 5:30-7:00pm wrap up work, get dinner ready, eat together as a family 

6) 7:00-8:00pm while your kid's getting ready for bed, you can have some quality time with spouse or de-stressing or planning for the next day. 

7) 8:00-10:30pm OK kid's in bed, get some more stuff done! Remember: your own attention span is afflicted during the day because you have to care for your child. Now's the time to make up for it. 

8) 10:30-11:00pm get ready for bed, and sleep at least 7 hours every night 


FINAL THOUGHTS 

The schedules we've provided look nice on paper but are harder to put into practice if you are the only live human adult overseeing your kids' education & care at home. We won't beat around the bush. 

If your spouse is capable, it's certainly worth negotiating reasonable ways of splitting the responsibilities involved: for example, he takes care of the kid M/W/F, you do Tu/Th and switch every week so it evens out. Or, you take care of the first half of the day, and he takes care of everything in the second half of the day, every single day.  

That said, it bears repeating from my prior post that it really does take a village to raise a child. It was never meant to be just a mother's sole duty... and certainly not when mom is busy full-time with a job! 

If it's getting to be too much, and too unrealistic for just you to handle, then you're not alone! We're happy to jump on a call with you and offer some simple ways to make the dance between work and kids more manageable. Our 2020 remote summer preschool is still accepting applications -- please click "Contact" at the top or bottom of the page to get in touch if you'd like some help. 

Jason Bern


Jason Bern is the Founder of Ready Education. He leads a team of dedicated early childhood educational experts who are specialized in helping families care for, engage, and educate their preschoolers -- whether in a real-life physical preschool or remotely from home. 

If you're interested in making the balance between kids and work from home more manageable, then definitely reach out and request a free preschool application call today.
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Jason Bern

Jason Bern is the Founder of Ready Education Group.
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