Hello to everyone from the school SEN team. We are thinking of you all during this time of uncertainty and hope everyone is keeping safe and healthy. (Just FYI – this post is aimed at parents.)
If anyone would like any further advice or support along these lines, please contact the school on firstname.lastname@example.org and mark the email ‘FAO:Mrs Joyce/ Ms Byrne’.
We know that your class teachers have been in contact with everyone to support any academic work that you may have chosen to do. This series of posts from the SEN team therefore focuses on the non-academic needs of the children. This advice is generally applicable to adults also. As any air stewart will tell you, is difficult to look after your children’s well-being if you haven’t already looked after your own.
This post looks at the importance of routines to create a sense of security for your children.
We deal with anxiety and worry in children in part 2 of this series.
What does my child need right now?
You may have seen this hierarchy of needs before. It is a great visual and shows the most important needs at the bottom. In order for the needs further up this hierarchy to be addressed you must first meet the lower down ones. In the current environment therefore it is important that we ensure that physiological needs (such as sleep, nutrition, exercise) and safety & security needs are being addressed before you can even begin to think about academics.
Having a routine is really important for our physiological needs (regular sleep, food, exercise) and to provide a sense of security for children. In a world where there are so many unknowns it is important that within the home there are some ‘knowns’. It cannot be understated how much security there is for a child in the predictability of a routine. (As an added bonus routines help to allow your day to run more smoothly also.)
Routines do not necessarily need to include academics. They don’t have to include set times but, certainly, they do need a predictable, set order and duration. It is advisable to have a good wake-sleep routine, getting up at a given time and going to bed at a set time. Having set meal times is also important. Everything else then can slot in between.
Your routine could include things like
- Meals & snacks (including the prep)
- Responsibilities; chores, jobs (they can be fun!)
- Reading; shared reading, independent reading
- Creative time; Lego, crafts, baking
- Nature time; gardening, farming
- Physical activity; outside games or walks
- Family time; board games, card games, language games
- Academics; work assigned by teachers or other work
- Free play/ free time
- Some online activities you may be following e.g. Joe Wicks PE 9am, Donna Dunne Fitness 12pm (facebook), David Walliams reads David Walliams 11am, Seomra Ranga Stay-at-Home quiz (seomraranga.com), RTE School Hub 11am – 12pm (RTE 2), Fúta Fata – Scéal an Lae 11am (facebook), watch feeding at the zoo (2.30pm)
- TV time or other screen time – it makes a nice treat at the end of the day.
It’s up to you what you put into your routine – predictability is the key.
NEPS has provided some advice on putting a routine together. They advise parents to include children in deciding and setting up these routines. They also ask that you include lots of elements from the hierarchy of needs. You can read their advice here, which includes a template for putting together your own routine.
These are some nice sample routines that have been circulating. Of course your routine should suit the needs of your own family.
Some extra information on the importance of routines if you are interested: