I’m the first to admit that our lockdown routine isn’t always perfect. Some days it doesn’t go to plan and it’s absolute carnage in our house! But some days we do stick to this rough routine and it works really well.
It isn’t a lockdown routine I ever sat down and made a formal schedule for, it’s just something that works for our family. I find it really interesting to see how other families are coping with lockdown and the routines they’ve developed to get everything done, so I hope you enjoy reading about our lockdown routine and maybe it helps with your own.
Lots of people have asked how I’m coping with lockdown with three young children at home!? To be honest, some days I don’t! But I’m getting better at realising when some days need to be written off and I accept that no one will be doing any work that day. And that’s OK. I’ve realised there’s no point in forcing it on some days because we end up having a horrible, stressful day and no one does much work anyway! But I have found that having a lockdown routine really helps – even if we don’t always stick to it!
To give you a recap on our family and our circumstances…
I have three children and my partner, Sam, works full time and can’t work from home.
- George – Age 5 and in year 1 at school
- Joseph – Age 4 and in Nursery/Preschool
- Alba – Age 1 and into everything!
- Sam – My partner who goes out to work from 7.30am-4.30pm Monday-Friday
- Me – I’m a blogger and a copywriter and I try to work about 1.5 hours a day from home
Here’s our family lockdown routine
6.30am – The kids all wake up
All three of our kids are early birds and usually wake up between 6-6.30am!
Joseph is always first and he’ll come up to our bedroom and get into our bed and usually fall back to sleep – so at least we don’t need to get up!
Alba is next and I’ll go into her room and feed her in the dark while I check my messages on my phone. I’ll scan Instagram and my emails and delete the junk that came through overnight, reply to any messages and comments and then I’ll start writing my Instagram caption for the day. Sometimes it’s something I’ve planned but it’s often just whatever is on my mind.
7am – Prep for the day (the important bit!)
This next half hour is 100% the most important part of my whole day. If I don’t do this then our lockdown routine goes out the window and the whole day is complete chaos and I feel like I’m chasing my tail all day!
I sort the kids out with breakfast, empty the dishwasher, tidy up the kitchen, put a load of washing on, make the kids a packed lunch, prepare a morning snack and make sure there are snacks and drinks in places they can help themselves. I also leave the sink full of hot, bubbly water so the kids can wash their own dishes when they’re done.
One of the hard things about having three young children is that they still can’t do a lot for themselves. Even making themselves a bowl of cereal can end in disaster. I want them to be independent – but it’s often more hassle than it’s worth! So I’ll prepare all their food and put it in a place where they can then help themselves to it, because when you’ve got three children asking for drinks and snacks all day then you barely get anything done!
8am – Get myself ready (another important bit!)
The three kids will always play nicely in the morning so it’s a good chance for me to relax and have a quiet breakfast and a nice long shower in peace!
Even if we’re not going anywhere, I still get myself kind of ready because I feel like shit all day if I don’t. I’ve been living in Fabletics outfits recently so I’m comfy for the day but wearing sportswear makes me feel energetic – even if I’m not setting foot anywhere near a gym!
9am – Homeschooling begins
The boys will get themselves dressed and they’re usually raring to go at 9am.
I’ll get all the pens and pencils and print outs and everything we need and put them on the kitchen table.
Both the boy’s teachers will share a video via the school app and they’ll explain what they’re doing for the day. They both love their teachers and Joseph in particular loves watching these videos. He’ll watch his video about 6-7 times!
No phone time: I play the videos on my laptop because I try and put my phone away for most of the day or I just get too distracted or stressed by all the work I should be doing!
Mama Hack Tip: I’ll also put some colouring books out because George is always very reluctant to do any school work, but he will happily sit and colour. So I just ask him to come and sit at the table and colour and once he’s settled into that I can usually persuade him to do a bit of work.
What to do with the baby!? I get a basket of toys out of the playroom for Alba and we also have a box of old felt tip pens she ‘draws’ with. She tends to eat crayons and makes a massive mess with pens that aren’t dried up so I’m glad she doesn’t mind having all these old pens that don’t even work! When she sees the boys drawing and colouring she wants to do the same so I’ll give her some scrap paper and try to keep her in one place. My main challenge is getting Alba to stay in her seat or stay on the floor. She climbs onto the table so quickly and will start scribbling on the boy’s paper and grabbing at everything – this is usually when the chaos begins!
But, in all honestly, I mostly just feed her snacks for an hour to try and keep her happy and quiet while I attempt to give the boys some one-on-one time,
What do I do? When I’m not wrestling Alba back off the table, I’ll mostly sit and colour, drink tea, write my to-do list or shopping list or whatever. The boys still both need a lot of help and support and encouragement. They don’t need so much help that I’m constantly 1-1 helping them, but they need so much that I can’t leave the room for more than 10 minutes before one of them wants something. There’s not a lot of point in me trying to work, but I also can’t do anything else because the second I get up they’ll want something – so colouring in pictures of dinosaurs usually keeps me busy enough!
10am – Snacks!
The boys will usually start to get bored at about 10ish so we’ll stop and have a snack and watch TV. This is the one part of our lockdown routine that ALWAYS happens at 10am on the dot!
Sometimes George, my older son, can concentrate for a bit longer so I’ll leave the two younger ones to play while I sit with George as he does another half an hour of work.
11am – Alba goes down for a nap/I work
Alba will usually nap for an hour to an hour and a half so this is my chance to get a solid hour of work done. Well, that’s always the plan anyway!
The boys will have lunch and entertain themselves and will play downstairs while I work in my office which is upstairs. Some days they’ll sit and watch TV for the full 2 hours but other days they don’t even turn it on.
And this is why it’s so handy for me to prep their lunch and snacks and drinks! If their food isn’t prepped they’ll keep coming up to me asking for things and I don’t get anything done.
1pm – My lunch/get ready to go out
When Alba wakes up we will have our lunch and then we’ll get ready to go out.
2pm – Go out for a walk or to the park
It can take a lot of persuasion to get the boys outside after lunch but we’re all so much happier when we do! They’re usually very reluctant to leave the warmth of the house, especially at the minute when it’s freezing outside! But I can usually bribe them out with either hot chocolates, a treat from the shop or the possibility of bumping into some of their friends at the park.
We live in a small village so wherever we go we’ll always bump into someone we know! I love this because it gives me the chance to have some grown up conversation and the kids will run wild for an hour.
3pm – Another hour of school work?
We usually get a second wind at about 3pm and the boys will sit back down and do a bit more of their work – especially if they’ve been set something crafty (which they usually are!)
4pm – Day is over!
At 4pm the day is over and we’ll have a quick tidy up and I’ll start making dinner for the kids. They often go a bit wild at this time of day so I just leave them to it and let them run around and go mad.
5pm – Kid’s dinner – Sam comes home – Runs/walks
Sam and I go for a walk or a run most evenings. We take it in turns (because we obviously don’t want to take 3 kids with us!) and the person who has the worst day usually gets priority to go first while the other one sits with the kids while they eat dinner.
Unless I’ve got loads of energy I usually go for a long walk rather than running. I take the dog and listen to a podcast and I aim to walk 5km each evening (it’s up a hill so it feels like a bit of a workout). It can be hard in the winter because my choice of 5km routes is limited in the dark but I feel much better for doing it and I like that time to myself after constantly being with the kids (who don’t stop talking!!)
6pm – Dinner/bath/bed
The bath and bed routine begins at 6pm. Alba goes to bed at 6.30pm and the boys watch TV for half an hour before they go up at 7. Sam and I then have dinner once the boys are in bed. We’ve also been having a few games of Mario Kart on the Nintendo Switch recently. It makes me feel like a teenager but it’s such a fun way to destress at the end of the day.
8pm – Back to work for me
I’ll do another hour of work from 8-9pm. It can be a struggle to go ‘back to work’ after eating dinner and the house is all cosy and warm and I just want to curl up on the sofa with a glass of wine!
It’s not often I get a straight run of 2-3 hours where I can work and I do find this really difficult. It sometimes takes me 10 minutes to settle into a project and when I’m interrupted every 15 minutes, well, I don’t get a lot of work done! But I’m also really grateful I have the kind of job where I can still keep my toes in the water without working full time. I know I won’t be able to work like this forever but it’s been good to have this option during lockdowns.
9pm – TV and wine
At about 9-9.30pm I’ll stop working and Sam and I will have a cuppa or a glass of wine and watch TV for an hour. We’re watching Schitt’s Creek on Netflix at the minute and it’s absolutely perfect for easy evening TV. It’s so funny and those 20 minute episodes are a bit dangerous because we keep saying, ‘Just one more episode!’
And that is our lockdown routine!
My lockdown tips for homeschooling and working from home
- Prepare snacks and meals so young children can be independent and you don’t spend half your day fetching them food and drinks!
- Have a set ‘tidy up time’ so you don’t feel like you need to be tidying up all day
- Get outside for at least an hour every day
- Do some ‘proper exercise’ everyday – you’ll sleep better and feel so much better
- If you’re with the kids all day, make sure you have some time alone
- Accept that young children want to do what their older siblings are doing so find ways for them to join in and feel involved (like Alba ‘working’ with her dried up felt tips)
- If George is refusing to do his school work, I don’t push it, I just tell him to go and sit quietly on the sofa and watch TV and come back when he’s ready to work. He’ll usually come back in 20 minutes with a much better attitude. If he doesn’t, I tell him it’s time to send a photo to his teacher and she won’t want to see a picture of him sitting watching TV! That always does the trick!
- If Joseph doesn’t want to do any work then I just put an ‘educational’ YouTube video on for him. He’s only four so I don’t push it too much and he likes to watch The Singing Walrus!
- Chocolate helps everything! Want the kids to be quiet? Chocolate. Want the kids to do 10 more minutes of school work? Chocolate. Want to motivate yourself to reply to those emails? Chocolate. Chocolate is always the answer in our house!
Do you have a lockdown routine? And if you do, is it much different to ours?