I’ll be the first to admit that my lockdown routine hasn’t always been perfect. There are days when things don’t go as planned and there can be carnage in our house. But some days I stick to this rough routine and it works out really well.
This is not a lockdown routine that I sat down and formally scheduled, but one that works for our family. I think it’s very interesting to see how other families are coping with lockdown and the routines they’ve developed to get everything done. So I hope you enjoyed reading about our lockdown routine, and perhaps it might be useful for your own lockdown too.
Many people asked me how I was coping with the lockdown with three young children at home. To be honest, some days I don’t. But I’ve come to understand that some days need to be written off, and I’ve come to accept that no one will be working on those days that’s ok. I ended up having a really stressful day and realized there was no point in forcing it since there are days when no one gets much work done anyway. But I’ve found that having a lockdown routine really helps, even if you don’t always stick to it!
A summary about our family and our situation…
I have three children and my partner Sam works full time and is unable to work from home.
- George – 5 years old, 1st grade at school
- Joseph – 4 years old, attends daycare/kindergarten
- Alba – I’ve loved everything since I was 1 year old!
- Sam – My partner who goes to work Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m
- Me – I’m a blogger and copywriter and I try to work from home for about 1.5 hours a day
Here’s our family lockdown routine
6:30am – All kids wake up
All three of our kids are early risers, usually waking up between 6 and 6:30 a.m!
Joseph is always the first to arrive, comes to our bedroom, gets into bed and usually falls asleep again so at least we don’t have to wake up!
Next is Alba. I go to her room and feed her in the dark while I check messages on her phone. Scan your Instagram and email, delete any junk that came in overnight, reply to messages and comments, then start writing your girlfriend’s Instagram caption for the day. Sometimes it’s something I planned, but often it’s just something in my head.
7am – Getting ready for the day (the important part!)
This next 30 minutes is 100% the most important part of my day. If we don’t do this, our lockdown routines will go out the window and the whole day will become a complete mess, leaving us feeling like we’re chasing our tails all day long!
I prepare breakfast for the kids, empty the dishwasher, clean up the kitchen, put out a load of laundry, make lunches, prepare morning snacks, and put snacks and drinks where the kids can eat on their own. Make sure there is. Also, keep the sink full of bubbly water so the kids can wash their own dishes when they’re done.
One of the challenges of having three young children is that they still can’t do much for themselves. Even just making yourself a bowl of cereal can have disastrous consequences. I want them to be independent, but that’s often more trouble than it’s worth. So I prepare all the children’s food and put it in a place where they can eat by themselves. Because when you have three kids asking for drinks and snacks all day long, it’s hard to get much done!
8am – Get ready (this is also the important part!)
My three kids always play nice in the morning, so it’s a great opportunity for me to relax, have a quiet breakfast, and take a nice shower!
Even if I’m not going anywhere, I still do some preparation. Because if you don’t, you’ll feel like shit all day long. Lately, I’ve been living in Fabletics clothes, so I’m comfortable for the day, but even if I don’t step foot near a gym, wearing sportswear makes me feel energized!
9am – Homeschooling begins
The boys dress themselves and are always eager to leave at 9am.
Prepare everything you need, including pens, pencils, and printouts, and place them on your kitchen table.
Both boys’ teachers will share videos via the school app explaining what they will be doing that day. They both love their teachers, especially Joseph, who loves watching these videos. He watches the video he watches 6-7 times!
I don’t have time to make phone calls: I spend most of the day trying to get away from my phone and playing videos on my laptop because I’m so distracted and stressed by all the work I have to do!
Mommy Hack Tip: George doesn’t always want to do much schoolwork, so I also get him some coloring books. But I’m happy to sit down and color. So I ask him to sit at the table and color, and once he gets used to it, he can usually be persuaded to do a little work.
What will you do with the baby? ? I take out a basket of toys from the play area for Alba, and I also have a box of old felt-tip pens for her to “draw on.” She tends to eat crayons and she makes a huge mess with pens that aren’t dry, so I’m glad she doesn’t mind that I have all these old pens that don’t even work. When she sees the boys drawing and coloring, she wants to do the same, so she gives them scraps of paper to keep them in one place. My main challenge is to keep Alba in her seat or on the floor. She immediately climbs onto the table and begins scribbling on the boy’s paper, grabbing everything. Usually this is when the chaos starts!
But to be honest, I mostly end up giving her treats for an hour, trying to keep her happy and quiet while I try to give her some one-on-one time with the boys,
what do i do? When I’m not wrestling Alba back from the table, I mostly sit and color, drink tea, write to-do lists, shopping lists, etc. Both boys still need a lot of help, support and encouragement. They don’t need that much help as much as I always support them one on one, but they need so much help that one of their I can’t leave my room for more than 10 minutes before I want something. It doesn’t make much sense for me to work, but the minute I wake up they want something so I can’t do anything else. Coloring pictures of dinosaurs is usually busy enough!
10am – Snack!
The boys usually start getting bored around 10 o’clock, so we stop and have a snack or watch TV. This is part of my lockdown routine, which always happens at 10am!
Sometimes my oldest son, George, can concentrate for a little longer, so I let the younger two play while I sit with him while George does another half hour of work.
11am – Alba goes to nap/I go to work
Alba usually naps for an hour to an hour and a half, so this is a chance for me to get a solid hour of work done. Well, that’s the usual plan anyway!
While I work in my office upstairs, the boys plan to eat lunch, enjoy entertainment, and play downstairs. Some days I sit and watch TV for 2 hours straight, and other days I don’t turn it on.
That’s why it’s so convenient for me to prepare their lunches, snacks, and drinks. If their food isn’t ready, they come to me asking for something and I can’t do anything.
1pm – Lunch/get ready to go out
When Alba wakes up, we eat lunch and get ready to go out.
2pm – Go for a walk or to the park
It may take a lot of persuading to get the boys out after lunch, but we’re all so happy when we do. They are usually very reluctant to leave the warmth of their home. Especially when it’s freezing outside. But I can usually lure them away from bribing them with either hot chocolate, sweets from the store, or the possibility of meeting friends at the park.
We live in a small village, so we always meet new people wherever we go. I love this because it gives us a chance to have adult conversations and it keeps the kids occupied for an hour.
3pm – Another hour of school work?
Usually around 3pm a second wind blows and the boys sit back down and do some more work. Especially if something sneaky is set up (which they usually are!)
4pm – The day is over!
I end my day at 4pm, do a quick cleanup, and start making dinner for the kids. He tends to get a little wild during this time, so I leave him alone to run around and get wild.
5pm – Kids dinner – Sam comes home – Run/Walk
Sam and I go for a walk or run most evenings. We take it in turns (because we obviously don’t want to take 3 kids with us!) and usually the person who had the worst day goes first with priority and the others sit with the children while they eat dinner.
i usually go for long walks rather than runs unless I have a lot of energy. My goal is to walk 5km every night (it’s up a hill, so it feels like a bit of exercise) while listening to podcasts with my dog in tow. It can be tough in winter as there are limited options for 5km routes in the dark, but you’ll feel much better doing it and you’ll always be with the kids (who can’t stop talking!!) After being there, I like having time to myself!!)
6pm – Dinner/bath/sleep
Bath and bedtime routines begin at 6 p.m. Alba goes to bed at 6:30 p.m. The boys watch her 30 minutes of TV and then she wakes up at 7 o’clock. Once the boys are in bed, Sam and I have dinner. Lately, I’ve been playing some Mario Kart games on my Nintendo Switch. It makes you feel like a teenager, but it’s a really fun way to de-stress at the end of the day.
8pm – Return to work
I work for another hour from 8pm to 9pm. It’s hard to go “back to work” after dinner, but the house is so cozy and warm that all I want to do is curl up on the couch with a glass of wine!
It’s not often that I can work for 2-3 hours straight, and I think this is really difficult. Sometimes it takes him 10 minutes to get used to a project, but if he’s interrupted every 15 minutes, he doesn’t get much done. But I’m also really grateful to have a job that allows me to keep my toe in the water without having to work full time. I know I won’t be able to work like this forever, but I’m glad I had this option during lockdown.
9pm – TV and wine
Around 9-9:30 p.m., I get off work and Sam and I have a drink or a glass of wine and watch TV for an hour. We’re currently watching Schitt’s Creek on Netflix, and it’s a great way to casually watch some evening TV. It’s so funny and the 20-minute episodes are a little dangerous because you keep saying, “He’s only got one more episode!’
That’s our lockdown routine!
My lockdown tips for homeschooling and working from home
- Prepare snacks and meals for young children so they can be independent. No need to spend half your day picking up food and drinks for the kids!
- Set a “clean up time” so you don’t feel like you have to clean up all day
- Get outside for at least an hour every day
- Get some “proper exercise” every day – you’ll sleep better and feel much better
- If you are with your child all day, make sure you have some alone time
- Accept that younger children want to do what their older siblings do, and find ways to get them involved and feel included (Alba uses dry felt tips to “work)
- If George refuses to study at school, I won’t force him. Just go and sit quietly on the couch watching TV and tell them to come back when they’re ready for work. Usually he comes back within his 20 minutes with a better attitude. If not, he will tell the teacher that it’s time to send the photo. Teachers don’t want to see pictures of teachers sitting and watching TV. It always works!
- If Joseph doesn’t want to work, I just play an “educational” YouTube video for him. He’s only 4 so we don’t push him too hard and he likes watching the singing walruses!
- Chocolate helps everything! Do you want your children to be quiet? chocolate. Do you want the kids to do 10 more minutes of schoolwork?Chocolate. Want to be more motivated to respond to those emails? Chocolate. Chocolate is always the answer in our house!
Do you have a lockdown routine? If so, would it be much different from ours?
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