Drawing of smiling/laughing family embracing

It’s the end of the year and most students would be preparing for final state exams. Some students would be using these last few months to prepare for college or their next step in life, thus seeking advice from their support system within the faculty and staff of their school. Unfortunately, many students will miss out on the milestone moments every high school student imagines: prom, graduation, and state championship competitions. However, we can’t change the past, and we can’t change the circumstances that we do not control. But we can choose to rise above the situation and make the most of our time at home with our family.

Here’s the thing: EVERY home has a structure. Now the question is: does the structure in your home encourage growth and development? No judgement here. We are all living life together and no one’s perfect. This post is to promote thought and improvement.

For many parents they aren’t used to having their children at home seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Therefore, parents may lack understanding regarding structure and how to intentionally create it and it’s importance. We want to share a few helpful tips around this topic.

According to cdc.gov there are three essential components of building structure within your home:

  1. Consistency
  2. Predictability
  3. Follow-through

(1) Consistency means you have consistent reactions and responses to negative behaviors.
(2) Predictability means that your child can predict your reaction to their choices.
(3) Follow-through means that you do what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’re going to do it; you follow-through on the rules you set.

It is so important to have a daily routine. If you can create a morning routine, daily schedule/to-do list, and a night routine this will make life much easier and cohesive. For example, a morning routine may include: waking up at a specific time each day (which also helps you sleep better at night), hygiene, read for 30 minutes to 1 hour, workout 15 to 30 minutes, cook and eat breakfast, and then start your daily schedule. The purpose of a beneficial morning routine is to help you set the tone for your day and start it on the right track. It’s the foundation.

A big part of creating structure is time-management. While your kids are at home this is a primetime for them to continue to have a daily schedule as they would in school. Maybe set a schedule for them to do household chores, reading, writing, practicing a hobby, etc. Come up with a to-do list and a schedule for your children as well. No matter their age, this teaches them accountability, responsibility, and produces maturity.

Here’s the key component of structure: knowing what you are going to do for the day. A useful tool is time blocking. Time blocks show you what task you must complete at a specific time. You may also have task that need to be done throughout the day but not at a specific time. Prioritize task and keep flexibility within your schedule, do not overload your day with too much activity which you can’t complete all in one day. When you time-block and prioritize your daily to-do list, you will feel much more accomplished when you set realist goals for your day.

A night-time routine may include cooking and eating dinner with your family, picking a Table Talk conversation from our book Table Talks, watching tv for 1 hour, then practicing a relaxation method like yoga, stretching or mindful breathing to prepare for bedtime. Establishing and maintaining a set bed-time routine (just like a scheduled wake time) will help you and your child to function at peak levels during the day.

Written By: Shaina Marie Afful