Adapting to Our New Normal

Published on March 19, 2020 - Updated on April 23, 2020

Working Parents and Homeschooling

The new norm is working from home while caring for and homeschooling kiddos. We are feeling the influx of interest from busy families looking to balance kids of different ages and needs while honoring social distancing. 

Many of our parents are anxious about caring for their beloved kids while still working full time to meet their professional goals. Not only do we understand the responsibility attached, but we are also grateful for the opportunity to help guide our happyly families through this time.


To start, we compiled a Detailed Daily Schedule. It has sixteen blocks of time and assumes fifteen to thirty minutes of engagement for each, with lots of room to adjust. While there are other schedules available, we proactively exercise ours on a daily basis and are the first to acknowledge that despite momentary feelings of control, in theory, it’s only as reliable as our kiddos’ moods.

When considering a schedule with stricter timelines, we discovered that it didn't work as well as floating through certain activities and allocating more time for those working best at the moment. Some activities require guidance at the beginning but keep imaginations active longer, while others are more self-guiding but result in inconsistent time frames. I'm learning, slowly at times, how to adapt, make suggestions based on my work calls and take into consideration our child's overall mood and reaction.  

work from home

The truth is, many of us need to spend the majority of our day on the phone with other grown-ups working in professional services. We need to ensure that even during a precarious time, we are working hard to give the appropriate attention to the career we love so much. Others are even unwillingly forced into an uncomfortable state of fear and uncertainty regarding our line of income. No matter what the unique circumstances, we are all being pulled in new and different directions, and it’s not easy. 

Strategic success often requires working in the morning before the kids wake up, and obviously squeezing in some work at night. This lifestyle is certainly an adjustment, but it is part of the necessary equation while we’re still early in the process of building structure at home. We already, humbly and in all transparency, use bribery at times to ensure we get work done. 

Also, in this time of long days inside and maintaining professional productivity with little to no childcare, we’re okay with a little bit of screen time. This issue has raised a lot of discussion with our happyly team. In general, very little screen time is our goal. However, this new normal means we must discuss what shows are educational and positive and choose formats that are worthy of consideration. 

Ultimately, our kids need to learn and we need some level of flexibility. We’ve seen that the type of show or app we select can positively or negatively impact behavior. Since an informed choice is not something we are willing to compromise on ourselves, we are eager to share our list of Virtual Educational Tools and Activities with our happyly family.

play outside

Above all, we’ve learned that time outside is a must. Whether it's playtime in the backyard or a walk around the block, fresh air is good for everyone. This may sound familiar, but my daughter is challenging during transitions. She loves being outside, but the suggestion is generally met with resistance. 

Once we are outside she’s so happy to be there, and inevitably proves to be more cooperative following a period of fresh air. Be prepared to put on your patience hat, parents, and push the things that you know are important, while finding other areas to establish flexibility.

Lessons Learned So Far

Planning Goes a Long Way

I make the schedule each evening and set up supplies so we're ready for a fresh start in the morning.

Take a Shower

It sounds simple but it makes me feel ready and energized for the day. Simply, try not to be the pajama parent.

Maintain a Flexible Mindset

Positivity is contagious. This is a challenging time for everyone and in order to show up as your best self as a parent, your brain needs a regular flow of positivity. 

Lean on Podcasts

I rely heavily on podcasts. Rise Podcast with Rachel Hollis, Happier with Gretchen Rubin, NPR's How I Built This, You Be You and I'll Be Me with Jen Kessenich, and TED Talks all help tremendously.

Use Your Tools

Rely on some of these wonderful and free resources to help round out your day (online yoga, drawing or sing-alongs).

Music Sets the Mood

Work together to find a playlist throughout the day that makes the whole family smile. 

In the coming days, we will be covering kid-friendly podcasts, more lessons learned from homeschooling and of course, our updated daily schedules. Our content is active and we eagerly welcome your requests and are grateful to the entire happyly community for continuing to share inspiring ideas. 

What's working well for you and your family? We look forward to and appreciate hearing from you at 

Also, please check out the blog for more inspiration from a list of March Weeknight Meals, join as we Disconnect to Reconnect or if you are looking for family-team building at home, we recommend 100 Things: A Rewarding and Fun Family Challenge.

Take a moment to explore suggestions from the happyly team about Keeping Kids Active while Protecting Them, Yourself and the Community from the Coronavirus as well as the previously mentioned Daily Schedule For Preschool and Grade School. As always, we welcome your family's highlights! Tag us on Instagram @gethappyly!

If you are enjoying our content, please take a moment to download the happyly app for fast access to all of our weekend roundups, frequent blog content, and favorite activities, both locally and in many communities and travel destinations across the country.

Thoughtfully captured by:
Randi Banks
Randi (Betts) Banks grew up in New York and graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. She moved to Washington, D.C. more than thirteen years ago with her husband, Eaghmon, and they love to explore the area and seek out adventure, now with their two young children along for the ride. Growing up right near the beach, they are happiest when on or near the water, so exploring the rivers, lakes, and streams in the greater DC area is a favorite pastime for their family. In addition to serving as one of the Washington, DC area ambassadors, Randi is also the Editor in Chief and Co-founder of happyly.
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