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6 Ways to Ditch the Pandemic Life Now: Add More Structure to Your Day

pandemic - baby playing music

Feel like your days have been thrown off and you don’t know where to start when it comes to getting out of the pandemic rut? This isolated and unstructured daily routine has now become engrained in our lives. Many are feeling overwhelmed when it comes to deciding how to take the first steps at revamping it. Here are some tips on how you can organize your days in order to make the transition a smoother one for you and your family.

Adjust Towards Your New Daily Routine

Children thrive off of schedules. It helps them feel safe and secure, knowing what will come next in their day, because it gives them a sense of control over their world. But when that schedule or routine changes all of a sudden, it can be overwhelming or scary to children. If you know what your future schedule will more or less look like (going back to the office, grandparent’s house) then you can start to shift your daily schedule accordingly. For example, if going back to the office requires a commute time, then work that into the morning wake up time. It’ll give everyone’s system some time so they can adjust. Adding a morning walk instead of the commute time is also a great way to get some fresh air while doing a dry run of your new schedule.

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Add Structure to Your Child’s Day

For many of us, we’ve been in survival mode for most of our life in the pandemic, which has helped to overcome the challenges of lockdown. However, it has also led us into bad habits. More snacks and fewer meals, irregular naps and sleep environment, and doing whatever activity works to keep the kids busy. Bringing back that structure we’ve been missing is a key element to making a seamless transition back to the normal daily life. 

  • Having 3 healthy meals at the table and 2 snacks for toddlers is key, with an early bedtime so they’re ready to start the day with energy. Getting things back on track with a solid meal schedule helps to signal more regularity to the brain and the body. This in turn helps drive appetite and sleep rhythms. A body that eats and sleeps at the same time each day, begins to expect these things, becoming hungry and accepting sleep more easily.
  • For babies, getting on a proper age appropriate sleep schedule ahead of time, is critical to the whole family getting the sleep they need. If your baby is older than 4 months, we recommend a clock based schedule with a set wake time, naps and bedtime. When we help to synch their sleep with their natural circadian rhythms and internal 24-hour biological clock, (which sends signals to your body to be awake or asleep), we help them achieve the best restorative sleep possible.
  • Does your child fall asleep independently at night and during the day? If not, spending time now to sleep train will help your child get to a predictable schedule, as well as get you some much needed rest! With all the events and activities in store for the post-pandemic world, now is the best time to invest in sleep training. You’ll benefit from the predictability it brings, so you can always get to that Play group or Swim class. Check out our article here on the various sleep training methods we recommend.
  • A consistent sleep environment is also key to getting things back on track. When our days and routines lack structure, sometimes we find our kids napping on the couch or in the stroller. Right now is the perfect time to enforce healthy sleep hygiene and get everyone sleeping in their proper sleep environments. Do you have the optimal set up for sleep success? Find out here.

Socialization

When it comes to socialization, many parents worry that the pandemic will affect their child’s social skills negatively. However, experts say that children have everything they need for healthy development within their own home. Interaction with a family unit or bubble, is exactly what they need to satisfy those basic skills. We can also incorporate other elements to help connect back to pre-pandemic social networks. Drawing a picture for a best friend, or going for a walk and waving hello to neighbours are great options. For older children, a video chat with extended family is also way to keep those lines of communication open.

This year has, without a doubt, been the toughest year for so many around the world. In addition, being a parent has brought more challenges than we could have ever expected. We’ve all been in survival mode for a long time and that is ok! We’ve done what we’ve had to do to make it through physically and emotionally. Children are resilient, and they’ll be able to socially bounce back. However, change can be unsettling to children, given their need to feel like they have a handle on their world. So, setting up that structural foundation of a predictable daily routine, will really go a long way to helping your family easily transition to a new post-pandemic world. 

Alison
Alison
Alison Macklin is a Child Sleep Consultant, based in Toronto, Canada. She studied Psychology and Sociology at the University of Toronto and took an interest in child development. She was certified by the Family Sleep Institute, one of the most comprehensive programs available for pediatric sleep. Alison, like many of her clients, is a mom who is very familiar with how it feels to have a child not sleeping properly, and worried about their well-being. Her passion has become helping families learn how to help their children sleep better and develop those critical skills in becoming well-rested. When working together, Alison will give guidance on how to establish healthy and safe sleep practices based on science, to get your child the rest they need. She works closely with you to develop a customized sleep solution, all while taking into consideration the unique history and temperament of your child, resulting in a plan that you can feel comfortable and confident in. Alison is there by your side, through every step of the process, giving you full support and answering all of your sleep questions. Taking the health and well-being of you and your child to heart, she is with you through any bump in the road that comes up - as they always do! She has the support of her team at Good Night Sleep Site, who have been supporting families for over 12 years, and will find solutions that will work for your family. In her spare time she loves going to the Toronto Library mom & baby events, open yoga at Shops at Don Mills, going for bike rides along the Lakeshore, and visiting the Toronto Zoo with her daughter and husband.
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