What might your 'Sanity Saver Schedule' look like in case of a lock down?
This weekend I've been working on this - our family lock down plan (might call it the Spillane Sanity Saver Schedule...) - so that something is in place if (when?) we end up needing to lock down. School is still open here in South Gloucestershire and I am feeling grateful to be able to crack on with work while my husband still has a job to go to and the kids are being educated and well looked after, but if the news is anything to go by, then we'll be joining other regions and countries soon enough, it's just a case of when...
When so much feels out of our control, it’s important to work on those things we can control – this definitely helps for me anyway. Planning for all eventualities is where I head when I start to feel uncertainty about what’s on the horizon, and I've found doing this exercise quite cathartic.
I’ve consciously drawn on my business planning and support skills, time spent teaching in schools, and experience of parenting and training in attachment and trauma to come up with something that helps me to feel more in control of a potential upcoming situation – this has a knock-on effect to helping my kids feel safe in uncertain times so, in my opinion, is time extremely well spent all round!
My plan takes account of our family of 5 (2 adults, 2 kids (9 & 10 years old) + cockapoo (a very spritely 1.5 year old!)), and I'll come up with a kid-friendly visual for them to follow which can be put up on the wall. My husband and I will need to tag-team on leading learning times and supervising play.
It allows for balance in all things, creates structure to our day to ensure we have clear purpose, and includes time for:
the kids to do some learning
my husband (employed, doesn't usually work from home but may be sent home with laptop and can do so) to get some focused work done
me (self-employed, work predominantly from home anyway) to get enough work done to keep business afloat while my clients’ needs evolve (which they are already, and I’m responding to this)
some exercise (so long as we can still get out and about)
some time to connect with friends/family outside of the house
some self-care and down time for all of us
I will say, however, that while this is a ‘starter-for-ten’ plan and we’d have to see how it went, there are one or two things we will not be moving at any costs as far as we can help it:
Meal & snack times and associated routines
These points in the day remain the same for us during term time and holidays, and are huge in terms of helping the children feel safe (in fact they respond incredibly well to routine generally) – our children have had difficult experiences in the past around food and sleep, and so these have been particularly important ‘hooks’ for us to a normal day - consistency across these gives us half a chance of settling into a new mode of 'normal' for a while.
There's no denying things will be challenging, but better to have a baseline plan to work with than no plan.
At the heart of this is the idea that we attempt to create just enough balance to help us all stay both healthy and sane in our little bubble. It might not be exactly the right plan for you and your family unit - age, ability, attention spans, individual needs etc. all play their part - but I’m sharing in case there is anything that might be useful for you in terms of food for thought…
Above all, be kind to yourselves when things aren't going to plan, and change your day up as you need to :)
If you'd like a pdf copy of this plan for use at home, please do email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'd love to hear your thoughts, or indeed more about your own plans...