I see them floating around everywhere.
Colour-coded expectations and tedium.
Time for maths, time for writing, time for chores, time for reading, time for science, time for screens, time for art.
A smidge of time for free play.
Even a separate bedtime for compliant children who stay on task and don’t fight with siblings, and non-compliant children who apparently deserve to be punished.
Does that in any way resemble how you would like to spend your time? Do you feel particularly creative within strict time limits? Can you sink into a good book knowing someone will tell you to stop in a minute and move onto the next task? Is math an interesting problem, or a frustrating chore, when someone is making you do it? Do you think you are likely to enjoy learning when you get punished for how well you do it?
I hope the answers to those questions are quite clear.
And the bedtime punishment! At a time of stress, anxiety, uncertainty, and upheaval, these are extremely unreasonable expectations. Of course, children are going to resist their home, their safe space, suddenly being turned into a schoolroom. Home is meant to be the escape. And naturally, there may be some fighting and arguing between siblings. Everyone is dealing with some big feelings!
I understand the appeal of a schedule. Parents are feeling the uncertainty too! They want a quick fix, a plan, some direction. It feels good to know what to do! Having some sense of control is comforting when everything else feels so out of control.
I encourage you to pause and really think about it though, before reaching for the quick fix (which realistically will lead to much more stress anyway).
Now is not the time for strict schedules.
There is a world of difference between a rhythm and a schedule. One is comforting, the other is confining.
If you have to schedule something in, schedule fun. Schedule connection. Schedule memories. Schedule time in nature. Schedule comfort. Those are what will get your family through this time. Those should be top of the list of important things that children need right now. Another math worksheet is so far down the list it’s not even visible.
Choose what makes it into your schedule wisely.