LIFE

Keep kids on a schedule

During these challenging times, it can be tempting to let your family routine fly out the window. By using new tools such as distance-learning programming and schedule management apps, you can keep kids to a schedule that makes them ultimately happier and healthier. (copyright Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Keep kids on a schedule

(StatePoint) School closures have forced families nationwide to readjust to the current reality. However, a sense of structure is important for children’s developmental growth. To create a routine for your kids that sticks, consider the following tips:

• Just because there is no formal school day doesn’t mean kids should sleep in or stay up late at night. Keep the same bedtimes, wake-up routines and mealtimes you always maintained during a regular school week. Doing so will bookend the mornings and evenings with a sense of normalcy.

• Mimic a school day to the best of your ability. Use the distance-learning tools your child’s teachers offer as well as other educational apps and resources to have kids focus on different school subjects. This will help break up the day into little chunks just as would happen in the classroom. Be sure to build in time for art projects, exercise and music. Most importantly, don’t forget “recess.” If possible, allow children to play in the backyard where they can socially distance from neighbors, or set up an area of your home for playtime.

• Evenings are a good time to relax and unwind together. Play board games, watch your children’s favorite movies or even use the many resources available online to enjoy a virtual walking tour of a museum, botanical garden or zoo. This is also a good time to allow children to connect with their friends using video chat or with family members they are not currently able to see in-person.

• For many children, screens are their greatest distraction. For this reason, one of the best ways to ensure your children stay focused on the schedule you create for them is by managing their screen time.

One easy way to do so with less direct intervention from you (since you are likely busy yourself) is by using a screen time monitoring and scheduling tool like the OurPact app. Get started by signing up for a free account and pairing your children’s devices. From there, you will be able to manage devices remotely to create a schedule that keeps kids offline when they need to be focused on other things. It can also be customized to allow children to visit and use only certain learning sites or apps during particular hours of the day. Because this schedule lives on the children’s devices as well, you’ll be giving them the comfort of a routine. To learn more or download, visit OurPact.com.

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