We all have our own little rituals that we have as individuals that we are probably drawing on now more than ever as we try to find some sense of normality in the current climate. No longer do we have the sense of freedom we had only a few months ago or the daily grind of life which is something we now crave. One of the ways we can find some normality is keeping routine and developing rituals which are very important for us all, especially our children.
A few months back I wrote about the importance of having a routine for children and adults, when we embarked on our journey of remote learning. Maintaining bed times, morning routines as if children were going to school and adults going to work, the only difference being we didn’t all leave the house! The longer this has gone on, the harder it is becoming to maintain routines because there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. We were teased with going back to school at the end of last term but then swiftly thrown back into remote learning and with that, the disappointment, uncertainly, added pressure and burden of remote learning and it all it brings on students and their families.
I know as a family, we have felt the pressure with everyone working from home and keeping both my children on track with their own learning plus the 27 others I have in my classroom. But the one thing that has kept us going is maintain a routine during the week and making our weekends look really different. There are no alarm clocks on the weekends, there are late nights, there are different meals cooked and we have our own rituals. One advantage of me being home is that I can cook my children breakfast in the morning, something they haven’t had for many years as I am often out the door going to work. One morning mid-week I cook them breakfast or get them a lunch or sweet treat delivered to keep them going. I couldn’t do that if we were back to our old life.
Speaking to students, many of them are struggling this time around and they don’t necessarily have a routine or one that was a strict. Bed times have become later, sleeping in mid-week is become more common, staying in their pyjamas is always easier than getting dressed apparently as is shovelling down breakfast when they are on a video call! But the one theme that has come to light is that families are trying to start new or maintain rituals. It might be as simple as pancake Saturday, scone Sunday, a movie night, keeping your pyjama day for a weekend or family bike rides. It could even be that everyone is sitting at the table together for a meal with no TV or technology and talking to each other about the week coming up. The importance of positivity and trying to remain positive is what our children are looking for from us. When there is a negative comment, try and respond with a positive even though it might be hard. Ask the children for their input too which is equally important because they are more likely to engage in something new that is introduced. Anything that makes the weekend look different to the mid-week is important as it gives everyone something to look forward to and it can become a special time or ritual that sticks.
So when the days start to roll into each other, (if they haven’t already), sit the family down and develop your own family ritual. It might just be the only sense of normality we have for a little longer and you never know, it could be the start of something new!