Two weeks since the Government announced the closure of all UK schools, ten days with our children at home with us all day, and five million memes later (my fave), here’s what I’ve learnt so far during lockdown:
*Never underestimate the power of moving around furniture to bring new energy to a room. We did this on the Sunday night before the first Monday of the kids being home, and it totally switched everything up. Our downstairs has an entirely new vibe, and I love it. Just be mindful of those houseplants, who let’s face it, are basically like actual babies to us all.
*Music makes everything great. We have music on all day, every day. It’s on all through the downstairs, flowing through the kitchen and living room and bringing a calm, cosy and crucially, *grown up* vibe to the place. I’m working on a juicy new playlist but for now, check this one out from last Spring. I honestly cannot imagine navigating this all without tunes.
*Everything is better with (some light, friendly) competition (where nobody actually ever wins or loses). Whether it’s who can get their socks on first or a quiz I’ve started randomly running sometimes in the afternoon with shells for prizes (more on that another time), there is nothing like some gentle competing to grab your kids’ attention and get sh*t done.
*…and rules. Kids freakin’ LOVE rules. I’ve always known this but the Power of the Rule has really come in to its own these past two weeks. Jack will actively ask me how many raisins is he allowed or what time he should stop reading a book. It always catches me off guard and I have just about enough time to catch my breath and reply with as much assurance and authority as I can muster up: “Just a small handful of raisins”, “Nope a few less my love”
Kids freakin’ LOVE a rule. I’ve always known this but the Power of the Rule has really come in to its own these last two weeks.
*Eating dinner as a family is a game changer and has quickly become my favourite time of the day. Yes it’s sometimes a little hectic but it’s chaotic and special and a time for real connection. We light a candle and talk about our days and everyone holds up fingers to show how theirs has been. Also, the kids are eating more ‘grown up’ type of food, and sure, the baked aubergine didn’t go down that well last night but we’ll get there. Trying this outrageously easy vegan lasagne some time soon. It’s also a lovely time to hang out with our au pair, who is amazing, lives with us and is a big help to us (sadly she’s actually been sick with the suspected virus this week).
*Food waste is not tolerated. I abhor wasting food at any time but these days it’s become a huge no no in our family. Cauliflower leaves go in a stir fry, potato peelings become crisps and the fridge has never been more full of random tupperware containers. I’m a happy mama.
*Rituals, not routine, works for us. So whilst I knew that a rigorous routine wouldn’t be for us (it never has been), I am a huge advocate of rituals. Every day at 2.45pm we call my grandma and then at 3pm Jack has a ‘class’ with a grandparent. He learns some Spanish with Sam’s mum and with my mum he does this sweet cute class called ‘AGA’ (Ask Grandma Anything). Jack prepares questions in advance and they discuss them for 30 mins over FaceTime – hearing snippets of their conversation is literally the highlight of my day (“Why are colours so lovely?”, “Why is Google so clever?, “Why is Sonny so loud?”)
*Rewearing clothes all week is THE ONE. The kids have their ‘uniform’ (leggings and a t shirt) which they wear everyday and I rotate between harem pants and dungarees (depends which is closer to my reach at any particular moment TBH). But also something totally miraculous has happened since we’ve all been home – our washing pile has DECREASED!
*Make weekends different. I’m keen to differentiate between the ‘working week’ and weekends in order to keep our ‘learning’ fresh so come Saturday morning, we throw any iota of structure out the window and 100% go with the flow (my favourite)
*Brushing teeth once a day is totally acceptable. Right?
But also something totally miraculous has happened since we’ve all been home – our washing pile has DECREASED!
If you’re interested, here’s what a rough day looks like for us (at least this is what it looks like in my head; the reality is that each day is VERY different and depending on our energy levels, really and truly does vary. Some days the below works, other days the kids seem to entertain themselves all day cutting our characters from a PJ Masks magazine purchases c.2017)
|First thing||Sam is in charge and does breakfast, mooch time aka ‘independent play’ and to be honest, I don’t really know what else. Every night before I go to sleep, after clearing up for what seems like the 10,000th time, I chalk up a ‘morning task’ for Jack on the blackboard for the next morning. And yes it takes me way longer than it should to think of one and yes I sneak in extra loving along the way because well, we make the rules now and #lovelessonsforthewin. He has an exercise book (provided to him by school) where he writes all his daily learnings and we’ll talk through them at some point in the day|
|9am||We’re big fans of P.E with Joe so Sam whacks that on. Around this time, I emerge, or if I’m lucky, Sam brings me up a coffee and usually a tired Abey|
|Pre – lunch||Around this time I’ll start to introduce the idea of getting dressed (it typically takes around another hour to actually get clothes on. Then we’ll do some light chores led by me (duh) with some involvement from the kids. Emptying the dishwasher goes down well, as does anything involving a spray, obviously. I also usually try to create some sort of learning around what we’re doing but keeping the kids’ attention can be tricky|
|Middayish||I ask myself how can it possibly already be time to eat again, chuck the kids in to the garden, turn up the music, eat some toast and hope the husband might emerge.|
|Post lunch||We’ll attempt to do something arty, bake or water our seeds. Forever finding inspiration from our fave mag.|
|2.45pm||We call great grandma. I miss her.|
|3pm||Jack has his call with one of the grandparents whilst Sonny and I might face time one of his buddies. Or clear up. There is always clearing up to do.|
|4pm||TV time for the kiddos* and pray Abe sleeps or watches along so that mama can get a cuppa and catch up on some emails|
|5.30pm||Sam might take over around now (every day is different) and take the kids for a bath whilst I start prepping dinner.|
|6pm||Play – the kids are always so happ once they’re bathed and feeling clean. Jack might do a bit of schoolwork in this time too, and I’ll pop on cBeebies radio for Sonny.|
|7.30pm||Teeth, toilet, bed wrangling whilst the other one washes up, hoovers, sorts and generally attempts to get the place in order again to do it all over again tomorrow|
|8.30pm||FLOP. Preferably with ice cream. A yoga class if I’m lucky.|
|10pm||Hang out the nappies, chalk the task up and tell myself again and again how I should have appreciated everything my parents did for me like ten hundred fold more when I was little.|
|Way too late||We head to sleep (post a baby dream feed) – tired, really tired but content.|
How are you all doing? What learnings can you all share after 2 weeks at home? Let us know in the comments below
P.S How Coronavirus Might Just be Making us Calmer, Kinder and more Grateful and An Update – Life with a 5 year old, 3 year old and 6 month old
*Unless it’s been a terrible night, and then I feel fully comfortable letting the kids watch 3 movies back to back.
We too have been enjoying P.E. with Joe, as much to give us a sense of continuity and solidarity and to kickstart our day, literally, as to keep fit! Try to do some chores with the kids after that, then sit down with the older two (8 and 5) to do work while the baby sleeps (11-12:30 ish), lunch around 1, then afternoon spent outside. TV from 4, like on a usual school-night, then supper altogether around 6 before the bedtime routine. Like you, I have loved eating together in the evenings, not least because then there is only one round of washing up and meal prep. to do, but also, as you say, it is a good opportunity to chat and the kids have become (slightly) more adventurous at eating from having to have the same as us. Love your tip on having music playing to lift the mood, going to try that, and also keep meaning to get onto Cbeebies radio (to make a change from Cbeebies TV!) so thanks for the reminder! x
😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍 love this
You really give me a big sense of Calm! Well, Italian lockdown is a bit different…like family dinner around 8.30 pm and kids in bed never before 11 pm is something we are starting getting used to (not so happy about, but that’s it!)
yes i can imagine lockdown in each country is very different and ps.- thank you ! sending love!
I think a handful of rules or principles are easier to stick to than a full schedule. We started out with a schedule as the kids were used to one but have gradually all relaxed and now it’s just in the background if needed. I’m sticking to no telly before 4.30 Mon-Thurs and the other days they have to have spent some time outside – either a walk with us or in the garden – before they get the telly on (after lunch). Other than that, trying to do a bit of school stuff, juggling a toddler and a baby and two pretty much full time jobs. But it’s actually nice not to be in such a stressed rush all the time. Thinking hard about how to implement some changes in the future to keep the good bits.
YES to not being rushed / trying to do all the things, all the time. Same here re making some long lasting changes 🙂 Thanks for reading Nicole x x
Loved reading this, this morning.
Rules, I agree with – I have noticed that my 4yr old asks similar in regards to things that require rules – like his tv chill break in the afternoon,
I have become patient, fun to be around with no other commitments booked in, exploring cooking with what I have in the fridge, I’m actually quite good at the home schooling thing and no routine helps me along with lots of outdoor time and Learning combined.
I also am quite enjoying it all.
Love your blogs as always, happy Friday x
love LOVE this Laura – especially the part about how you see yourself as being so changed. And absolutely re the rules – kids are funny (lovely) old things arent they. Happy Friday Laura and thanks for reading xxx