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Taking agency of our lives

In times of lockdown as we remain indoors, we are bound to indulge in entertainment and social media for disproportionate amounts of time. We binge on television series and check our mobile phones every 3-4 minutes. As adults, unless we control our urges,  we should not expect our children to be any better with their use of time. 

Today, I wish to discuss having a structure, not just in our daily routines but also inculcating this in our children. A structure can be fluid or rigid as long as it is effective for you. For some, their day needs to be broken down into half hour slots whereas some can manage with 2-3 hour slots as well.

In the case of my 5- year old son, we have a visual schedule with hourly slots. He follows the schedule despite not knowing to read the clock or read words. He matches the image on the schedule to the clock to know what time it is and then follows what it says. This has been very helpful for us as working parents in keeping him engaged while not micro-managing his time. Once the expected task for the hour is complete, he is free to choose his next activity until the next hour. So at 10 am it is writing time- he practices writing the alphabet and numbers, it takes him about 20 minutes to complete. After completion of his task he has 40 minutes to pursue an activity of his choice. 

In the case of adults, we usually have a to-do list for the day. But we tend to procrastinate and sometimes fail to accomplish the listed tasks. And the lock down has annulled our go-to excuse of ‘lack of time’. Being mindful and implementing some of these techniques can go a long way in managing our time better. Having slots assigned to certain activities like work, entertainment, chores is helpful. For example- Telling yourself that I will watch the next episode only after I finish washing dishes or I complete the required work task. This gives us a reinforcement to look forward to- pursue our activity of choice. Realize your reinforcements and motivations. This is a good time to put them to use. 

Why is this important now? This, what we are experiencing now, seems to be the new normal. Working from home, schooling (more like homeschooling) kids, doing house chores will need a lot more self-management than before. The earlier we take agency of our lives, the easier it will be on us and our kids as well. Having a structure that suits your family needs will definitely go a long way to keep you sane and positive in these crazy times. 

Stay healthy. Stay safe. Follow rules.