So, the world’s in a little bit of a scary place right now. The coronavirus has well and truly taken over every single person’s life. It’s impacted all of us in totally different ways. For me, I’m in my third week of isolation/staying home. I haven’t actually seen anyone since we got home from Centerparcs on the 13th of March. So I truly think I’ve got this isolation routine thing down to a T.
Honestly, it hasn’t affected me as much as I thought it would. I can sometimes go a whole week without seeing another adult apart from Brad. It’s something I’ve always been pretty good at for a while now. Since I work from home it means I have no colleagues to talk to, and though that seems pretty lonely it’s just something I’m so used to.
Being at home with a toddler all the time is something I am used to. But not being able to get out of the house with him? That’s another story. Pre-corona we would go out almost every day, whether that was to a toddler group, for a play date or to visit family. It broke up our day even if it was only popping out for an hour or so. Now that opportunity to leave the house has completely gone, Theodore has definitely been feeling it.
Our first week in isolation was awful. Mostly because both I and Theodore were so poorly. I’m not sure whether we had the virus or just a common cold, but, it was nasty, and it was a complete right off. There was no routine whatsoever. I just gave Theodore his 3 meals a day and had the television on whilst we laid on the sofas. No routine, no one’s perfect. Even the ‘best’ mums have these days (I don’t believe there are such things as better or worse mums, we’re all doing what we can) where the television is on, all the unhealthy snacks are eaten and everyone stays in their pyjamas, and those days are perfectly okay to have, especially in a worldwide crisis like this.
But routine works splendidly for us, and I actually think all children love routine. It helps them understand what’s going throughout their day. It gives them structure and security, especially when they’re younger like Theodore (2yrs 3m) and doesn’t quite have that concept of time and understanding yet. This routine is what we’ve always roughly done, but since isolation started I’ve begun really living by this schedule and it genuinely saves my sainity. I will try include both what Theodore and I are doing at these time points in the day.
Daily Coronavirus Isolation Routine with a Toddler
7:00 – Wake up. Come downstairs, drink coffee (me), fix my hair and makeup whilst Theodore plays
8:00 – Both sit down for breakfast. Once Theodore is finished I’ll tidy up the kitchen whilst he goes and plays again
9:00 – I’ll brush Theodore’s teeth and hair and he’ll have a wash. We then head upstairs to both get dressed and Theodore usually plays in his room whilst I make beds and do a general upstairs tidy up.
10:00 – Weather dependent we’ll head into the garden to do activities or play out there. I would usually set up messy play outside, so perhaps something with water and dirt. Or I’ll drag his little table out and we’ll get creative like doing some paints. If the weather isn’t great we’ll do an inside activity, usually along the lines of crafts, song and dance, drawing, playdough, small world play and baking.
11:00 – Swap to another activity and this is when I’ll try make it a little more educational. So we’ll play games and activties I set out that encourage counting, speech, shapes, abc’s, puzzles and fine motor skills. Each day I’ll obviously concentrate on different things to keep it interesting. I’ll try lots of different games and methods within this hour to help him understand and learn. If he’s not feeling it we’ll just move on to something else. Nothing’s worse than unpleasant learning.
12:00 – Lunch. We both always sit in the living room with the television on to eat lunch. It’s our little rest after all the playing and learning and I think helps us both wind down and have a moment of calm. We have alwasy tided all the toys and activities away before lunch as otherwise I find Theodore gets extremely distracted and won’t eat. After lunch is done with I’ll tidy up and then we’ll spend the rest of this hour cuddled up together in front of the television or reading books.
1:00 – I take Theodore up to his room and put him down for a nap. I’ll write a to-do list that’s either work related or house related. I then spend the whole majortiy of his nap working on my laptop on the dining room table, and once a week I won’t work and I’ll do those extra jobs that need doing round the house, including cleaning, gardening or sorting. If I get my to-do list finished before he wakes I will take some time for myself so I’ll either read, watch television or scroll through my phone.
3:30/4:00 – Wake Theodore up from his nap. Most days I have to wake him myself but there is the odd occasion that he will wake up alone. I know I’m in a great place where my toddler naps for roughly 3 hours a time which gives me great opportunity to work and have some me-time. I might shorten his naps in the future but right now it’s working well for all of us.
4:30 – Theodore will have a small bland/healthy snack (want to keep him interested in dinner later!). He might have some crackers, breadsticks or pieces of fruit. I will then start preparing dinner. Dinner is always somewhere between 5-6pm for us as I try to be plating up as Brad walks in the door home from work, but usually it’s around 5.
5:00 – All sit down together and eat dinner at the table. No phones, no television.
5:15 – We clean up after dinner whilst Theodore usually eats some kind of pudding like yogurt or jelly.
5:30 – I use any spare time between finishing dinner and bath time to my advantage. Whilst Theodore and Brad play together in the living room I will usually potter around completing any odd jobs that need finishing or I’ll just take myself upstairs to have a little bit of quiet time to relax or read. If I get time before bathtime I’ll also hop in the shower and do my nightly skincare routine.
6:00 – I give Theodore his bath. He has a bath every night but that’s just part of our routine and I wash his hair every other night. We sing bathtime songs, play with his pouring bath toys and I try encourage him to talk about his day (speech is a big thing we’re trying to work on!). Brad is usually taking half an hour to hiself at whilst I bath Theodore.
6:30 – Bath time is over and the 3 of us head upstairs and cuddle up in Theodore’s room. We get him dry and dressed and ready for bed. Between now and bedtime the 3 of us will *try* play quiet calming games (though Theodore just ALWAYS wants to play hungry hippos…) and read some books. We have also been using this time lately to Facetime grandparents and have a little catch up with them which has been lovely as obviously, we haven’t seen them in weeks and probably won’t see them for many more weeks!
7:00 – I let Theodore pick one bedtime story he’d like me to read. I get him tucked up into bed and read it just once (we accidentally got sucked into a loop of reading more than one book or reading one multiple times, this RUINED bedtime for us all as he learnt he could keep asking for more and would cry if we didn’t! So we nipped that in the bud!). After finishing the book I give him a kiss and say goodnight.
Then that’s his day over until we have to do it all over again the next day! Our weekends go nothing like this. They are very fluid, include movies and treats and overall just have no routine apart from breakfast, lunch, nap and dinner. I find it difficult to live by a routine at the weekend mostly because Brad is home and he isn’t used to our weekday routine. We have spent these last few isolation weekends getting bits done in the house that I can’t do myself or alone in the week. Theodore usually just plods along and tries to get involved in whatever we’re fixing/building/doing.
One huge tip I’ll give you is to not stress out about sticking to routine. If your child is so engrossed in an activity then let it carry on longer. Some days we’ve skipped our educational activity and just spent the whole morning up until lunch outside in the sun painting rocks and chalking on the drive, simply because the sun was shining and Theodore was loving it all so much.
On our whiteboard I’ve written this schedule down simplifed so that whenever I’m feeling a little frazzeled I can take a look and make a quick decison on what it is we’re going to occupy ourselves with. I’ve also been doing a little think each night about what activities we might do the next day so that I’m not starting the day on a blank note.
How are you and your children coping staying home during this coronavirus crisis? I truly hope that you’re all staying safe and *trying* to keep sane cooped up at home together. Come chat to me on Instagram if you’re just looking for some adult conversation.