Young children thrive on routine, but the current global health threat has thrown us ALL out of routine. That doesn't mean we need to start making strict schedules or routines that fill every minute of every day - that's not realistic. 
With many of us working from home and trying to juggle parenting, homeschooling, work, cooking, cleaning, etc, it can be quite the balancing act.  When my husband and I first started working from home, my 4-year-old son thought we should be playing with him ALL day and got very upset when we couldn't. It was a daily scramble to get him occupied with something so I could get started on my work before he wanted my attention again...until we made a daily planning chart to give him some choice and control over his day.  
This daily planning chart has encouraged our son to be more independent throughout the day, instead of expecting mommy and daddy to play with him every minute of the day. It has also given him back a sense of choice and control in this current situation where many things are out of all of our control. We even managed to sneak in some learning activities, which he has been surprisingly motivated by! 

Here is the process: 
1) You will need sticky notes, 2 markers of different colors, a large piece of cardstock (or two pieces of smaller cardstock taped together), and washi tape or something to stick it on a wall 

2) Make a list of activities that MUST be done in a different color - those are your daily non-negotiables. My son already has his morning and even routine checklists which I spoke about in another blog post awhile back, but he often lacks the motivation to complete them in a timely manner. We made his morning checklist a non-negotiable that MUST be done before he starts his choice activities. 

3) Make a list of activities that he can do independently, as well as some activities that can be done WITH a parent. That way, he's still getting daily quality time with mom or dad, but also has some independent activities that can be done while we work. 
4) Draw and/or write (depending on their age and if they can read or not) one activity on each sticky note 
5) Divide the cardstock in half and put the sticky notes on one side as the "holding" area and ask your child to choose a few activities for the morning and a few for the evening at the start of every day. If they don't get to all of them, let them know that's okay and that they can do them tomorrow.  

The first thing our son does when he wakes up is go by himself to his daily planning chart and plan out his day. If he has chosen an activity that requires mommy or daddy, and we're not able to play with him right at that moment, I ask him to go look at his plan and choose something else to do right now and tell him I can play with him in 15 minutes (or however long it needs to be).  

I hope you find this to be a helpful tool as we all try to find balance in our lives. Remember, you don't need to be so strict with a schedule, but some sort of routine is important for young children and could help them cope better during these uncertain times.

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