Expert review by:

Suzanne Nystrom,
MA (LMHC candidate), PMH-C and mom of 3

Ever since March went out like a lion instead of a lamb we have all been trying to navigate this pandemic in the best ways we know how. Adults jumped into action to get our children up and learning again. Our children tried to adapt to this “new normal” while feeling the loss of their regular school year that ended abruptly. I’ve spoken to many teachers who still had March on their calendars and pencils and books no one came back to. This was an enormous change for all of us. Some things that helped my family, and other families I’ve spoken to through this time, were realigning expectations to our new reality, communicating our own stress level, and being kind to ourselves on hard days. I certainly set up a routine to keep things as “normal” as I could, while recognizing some days we had to be extra flexible. I also used a routine to help us have things to look forward to like Mommy Monday (pick a game of your choice to play with Mom!), Pancake Wednesday, and Waffle and Pajama Friday. Keeping it simple was important to making it possible.

Keeping it simple was important to making it possible.

As summer rolls on, one thing on everyone’s mind is – what will routines look like when school starts? The truth is, not everyone knows yet. It won’t look the same for all of us and it could change as we go. I speak to hundreds of families all over the country and I’ve heard a few different possibilities – it could be in person at school with precautions in place, all online, or a hybrid of the two. With so much unknown, routine can bring comfort in difficult times. Once you know what the fall will look like, start building a simple routine. Keep a few things to look forward to throughout the week and build in a check-in. How is everyone feeling this week? Do we need to shift a bit? Routines can adapt when something isn’t working. My biggest lesson has been to check in with myself and my family. We’ve all been in the red zone a few times. The more we know about how we are feeling, the more we can work through and manage them as we enter the “new normal” school year.