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Utah mom shares easy schedule hack to keep kids' lives consistent during isolation

Posted at 6:42 PM, Mar 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-17 20:42:49-04

SOUTH SALT LAKE – With kids home from school and parents working from home, one Utah mom is sharing an easy scheduling technique to help families stay consistent during isolation.

As concerns of coronavirus grow kids have been sent home for weeks, and parents have been asked to work remotely – but, for some, learning how to share a space 24-hours a day can be a challenge.

“There’s five of us in a tiny home and no one’s leaving,” said Jonelle Edwards in a video chat from her South Salt Lake home. “So, it’s been stressful.”

Jonelle’s family of five, like many others, had to find new ways to adjust to isolation and cooperate as a family.

“So here’s the schedule,” Jonelle said as she pointed the camera at a small white board covered in red writing.

The idea is to provide a task, chore or fun activity on an hourly-basis, to fill the entire day.

“The world is really crazy right now and so making them feel like this is a place that is predictable and safe and full of love helps them feel calm and not anxious, because there’s nothing they can do about it,” Jonelle said.

The schedule looks something like this:

So, what is a rotation?

Rotations are listed three times on the list, each child takes their turn spending an hour either doing homework, having quiet time, or having screen time.

“So, today my daughter did school first and then my youngest son did screen and my oldest son did his quiet time,” she said as she pointed to the list.

Jonelle said the list allows her family to still follow a schedule, like her kids would in school – throwing in fun and chores, helps to balance out the household so they can all isolate together.

This isn’t something new for her family. The schedule was recommended as a summer-time staple by one of her kids, who has high functioning autism. Jonelle said it helped all of her kids stay on track during the summer months – so it made sense to reintegrate it now during the coronavirus pandemic and isolation.

“I know when I get anxious my kids get anxious,” Jonelle said. “Trying to make this as least traumatic a time for them is important… once they know you’re calm and in control, then they feel calm and in control themselves.”

Given that this is only day-2, Jonelle is sure there will be some arguments and speed-bumps – Still, they’re taking it one day at a time thanks to a white board and a little bit of planning.

“Even though we don’t really know what’s happening next in the world, if they know what’s happening next in our home, it helps that feeling of safety,” Jonelle said. “We’re all on a team and we’re going to get through this together.”