The government guidelines seem to be changing minute-by-minute, but at this point it looks like we will all be in isolation by next week. It is such a tricky situation and for many of us, we will be working from home in addition to caring for and teaching our children.
I have been giving a lot of thought to how I'm going to approach being isolated with my family for at least 4 weeks. I love those 3 little stinkers (and the big stinker too), but the thought of having them around the house 24 hours a day makes me break out in a cold sweat. Caring for (and mediating between) 3 children, whilst trying to keep our business afloat at the same time seems like a pretty daunting task.
I have decided that routine will be my friend and saviour. I have written out a timetable from 8am - 7pm for us to follow every day, which I have copied below. Even if we don't manage to stick to the timetable it is really important to me mentally that I have it, as it means at any given moment, it is there for my reference, along with a huge list of activities that I have thought of in advance. I remember the long days of being a full-time mum when my two eldest were only 1 and 3 years old. Those days seemed to drag on forever and 7pm never came soon enough. I'm determined not to slip back into those days of unstructured, endless hours. This is a unique opportunity to spend some really quality time with my family, and I want us to come out of it more united, rather than ready to kill each other.
I've tried to split the day up into different tasks that will keep us mentally and physically strong. This is what I have come up with. I'm sure it will need some tweaking, but I feel like it is a good place to start
· Make or do something- 1 hour per day
· Learn something – 3 x 30 mins per day
· Build something – 1 hour x 3 times a week
· Grow something – 30 mins x 2 times a week
· Do something nice for somebody – 30 mins x 2 times a week
· Exercise – 20 mins every day
· Relaxing time –20 mins x 2 times a day
· Clean/tidy something – 20 mins x 2 times a day
· Cook/bake something – 1 hour x every day
· Get outside – 1 hour every day
I have expanded each section with ideas for activities within each section. I think of it as my cheat sheet to reference if I need to quickly find something for us to do within any given activity.
Jules also gave me a great tip yesterday that is really worth exploring as part of learning time. She is talking to older relatives about organising some facetime/skype lessons between them and her older kids. This way they get to engage with their grandparents for a longer amount of time that just a chat, and the pressure isn't all on Jules to teach them all of their spellings & times tables.
Over the next few days, Jules and I are going to start getting a list of craftalong activities to do with your children at home. We will focus on crafts that you can do with things that you will probably have lying around your house, or that use minimal specialist equipment. We are working on a technical solution to allow us live stream workshops and will be aiming to stream these daily at 11am from Monday the 6th of April - just as the madness kicks in! Please let us know if there is any craft in particular that you would like to learn more about with your kids.
MW&F = Monday, Wednesday & Friday
T&Th=Tuesday & Thursday
Useful online resources
I have been talking to people about other online resources that parents can use to keep themselves and their children entertained and here are a few for you to check out in the meantime.
Hungry Little Minds - offering fun ideas and activities for newborn to five year old children to help them learn and grow. https://hungrylittleminds.campaign.gov.uk/
Small Talk - National Literacy Trust/DFE pilot project (as part of the wider HL initiative) which supports Chat, Play, Read with ideas, tips and activities from birth to 5. https://literacytrust.org.uk/policy-and-campaigns/home-learning-environment/small-talk/
ICan - Talking Point - provides parents/carers with information about how to help children develop their speech, language and communication skills. https://ican.org.uk/i-cans-talking-point/
#Smallthings - Small things make a big difference to a child's learning. This web page provides some short videos with hints and tips on educational play at home. https://www.pacey.org.uk/working-in-childcare/spotlight-on/2-year-olds/home-learning-environment/
https://wordunited.com/ This has great free print outs!
There are some good little games by five minute mum. https://www.fiveminutemum.com/
Twinkl has a load of resources that they are making available during all this chaos.
https://www.worldbookday.com/resources/nursery/ - Loads of stuff on here like print outs and colouring in stuff plus maybe get them
Outside engaging with nature and using their senses and then making pictures with things they find.
We are also compiling and creating some online content for our website that you can do by yourself or with older children - making a salt dough tea set might not quite cut it with my 12-year old! While we are working on our online solution I have been talking to Emma May Stitching who has already created some tutorials
. Some of them are completely free, while others are paid for. Now might be the perfect time to finally learn how to make a roman blind!
If you have any tips on living in isolation or any online resourses that you think are worth looking at, please let us know using the comments below.
There is no doubt that the next few months are going to be challenging but I am determined that we will look back on these days together fondly.