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Routine, Consistency and Grace: Back to Basics in a Challenging Parenting Season

By: Learning Consultant Heather Blome

November 4, 2020

In the wake of the ongoing pandemic, the approaching flu season, shorter days due to the recent time change, post-Halloween fatigue (for those who celebrate), and the election, now seems like a good time to remember the basics of parenting: routine and consistency. Amongst routine and consistency, I would like to also stress the importance of feeding healthy habits and giving ourselves grace. There are so many stressors in our lives, for both kids and parents, that we all need to be intentional about caring for ourselves so we can care for our little and big kids alike.

Let’s face it, any one of the above named stressors can throw us for a loop, but all coinciding can make the weight on our shoulders feel heavy and unmanageable at times. I want to take the time to emphasize the importance of a few basic routines and ways to show our kids consistency in the next few months when things around us may feel out of control. Some of these “basics” can include sleep hygiene, nutrition, having a solid after school routine, and having fun with your family. 


According to the National Sleep Foundation, the recommended sleep guidelines by age are: 

Age Range

Recommended Hours of Sleep

Preschool (3-5 years old)

10-13 hours

School-age (6-13 years old)

9-11 hours

Teen (14-17 years old)

8-10 hours 

Young Adult (18-25 years old)

7-9 hours 

Adult (26-64 years old)

7-9 hours 

Getting enough sleep is essential for our bodies to function properly. In kids a lack of sleep can cause irritability, a lack of focus, anxiety and more. Visit for more information on setting up the sleep environment and for more information about sleep hygiene. 


MyPlate has a wealth of information for healthy eating for the whole family. A good rule of thumb is to aim for two fruits and vegetables a day and avoid sugary drinks. Sweet treats are fine in moderation in combination with physical activity.

After School Routine

The evenings after school can be different for everyone. With many activities or little to none during the pandemic, it is a good idea to have a routine in place. Here is an example of an after school routine, which can be easily modified to fit your family: 

  • Snack right after school and then a short playtime outside before dark

  • Some students will be more independent with homework than others, but it is always a good idea to have an organized workspace close by an adult for the children who need checking in on or in their bedrooms where it is quiet for those who are more distractible but independent. 

  • Dinner time and after dinner game or reading time

  • Bedtime routine: bath, books, and bedtime

If you need more ideas for schedules — morning, afternoon, dinner or bedtime, check out this article from ADDitutde. 

Have Fun!

The best way to get out of a rut or get over the “getting dark at 5 o’clock blues” is to give yourself, your child(ren), or your family a break and do something fun. Here are some simple suggestions that need little to no planning:

  • Dance to your favorite music

  • Tell jokes

  • Do a craft 

  • Play hide and seek

  • Build a fort

  • Have a movie night

  • Take a walk or exercise 

For more family fun while stuck at home, explore these ideas from


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