In the district where my children attend school, we had about three weeks between the time schools were physically closed and when our distance learning officially started. This gave our family a lot of unstructured free time.

I know from my work as a Conscious Discipline Certified Instructor and a mental health consultant at a therapeutic preschool that the brain is pattern-seeking and survival-oriented. In practical application, this means that anxiety will lessen when the brain can detect a pattern.

So, I created a morning routine that would help create a felt sense of safety by lending structure to our days. Our morning routine gives us an opportunity to check in with a positive morning message, review our agreements and choose a commitment for the day.

In this video, you’ll see that we’re pretty new to our routine. Prior to the morning I filmed, we had a family meeting where we talked about what it would look like with school being closed for a while.


We, as a family, created some agreements for how we wanted our day to look so we could co-create an environment that was safe and helpful for all members. The morning message also became part of our routine to start our days with positivity.

Each day, every family member (parents, too) choose something we commit to doing to be helpful to the family that day. In the weeks since we started this routine, I have been impressed with our commitments, and have found them to be very helpful to our family. At dinner, we check in to see if we were successful with our commitments (you did it!) or if we had an OOPS (other opportunities to practice skills). This has been a really helpful way for us to work together as a family so days run more smoothly.

I created our visual schedule out of old manila folders and a laminated sheet of computer paper we could use with dry erase markers. I created visual icons for when school starts with specific visuals of each subject (math, reading, Spanish, etc.) for the kids. Then I created a schedule for myself, too! Conscious Discipline has provided free printables for a learning routine and a daily schedule you might find helpful when creating your own materials.

As my family navigates this new way of being, I am grateful for the powers and skills of Conscious Discipline that help us handle whatever bubbles up for us during this uncertain time. I hope you experience something similar, and that we have been helpful on your journey.

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