New “Normals” During Abnormal Times

June 3, 2020

During these uncertain times of COVID-19, many parents find themselves asking hundreds of questions.

Am I letting my child stay up too late? Are they spending too much time watching TV? How do I navigate being both a parent and a teacher? How is it possible the house is messy again?

So many parents are asking the same questions you’re asking. They have similar doubts, fears, and anxieties. You’re not the only one, and there’s definitely no “right” way to navigate this unique situation. This post, in honor of Better Speech and Hearing Month, is meant to provide some encouragement and insight on how to navigate these common daily uncertainties.

To start, develop a daily routine. According to ASHA, embedding opportunities for children to participate in every day routines is an evidence-based practice recognized as an important component in development (Bronfenbrenner, 1992; Dunst, 2006; Wilcox & Woods, 2011). Children thrive when they have a routine and clear expectations.

Take 5 minutes to write down 3-4 tasks you want to complete every day. Start small, generic, and keep them reasonable. I suggest including designated meal, work, and play times.

See the example below:

Today I want to…

  • Eat dinner at the table
  • Play outside with the kids for 1 hour
  • Read the kids a book before bedtime
  • Complete 1 load of laundry

Review your accomplishments at the end of the day! As you feel comfortable, add to your list. Children yearn for structure, so don’t be afraid to add specifics.

Today I want to…

  • Eat dinner as a family at the table: 6 pm
  • No electronics: 2-4 pm
  • Play outside with the kids for 1 hour: 3 pm
  • Read the kids a book before bedtime: 7:30 pm
  • Clean the bathroom during nap time

Developing a routine should not be dreaded or stressful. In fact, routines should help ease anxieties and help you feel in control during these unknown times. Go easy on yourself and take it one day at a time. As therapists, we’re here to lend a listening ear and provide support for you and your family. Celebrate the small victories and remember: you’ve got this!

Much Love,

Gracie Franklin, MS, CF-SLP

Gracie graduated from Old Dominion University in December 2019, with a Masters of Education in Speech-Language Pathology. Since graduation, Gracie has received specialized training in AAC, therapeutic oral motor interventions, and Orofacial Myology. She currently lives in Birmingham and is looking forward to marrying her fiance, Kevin, later this year (her wedding was originally planned for May, but was rescheduled to September, Thanks, COVID-19). Gracie enjoys spending time outdoors, going on adventures with her friends and fiance, and loves the pediatric population.