Since the middle of March, 2020, the majority of North America essentially shut down. With public health officials ordering that we all stay home to stop the spread of Covid-19 by physically distancing ourselves from everyone except our immediate families. Admitedly, at first it was like a fun vacation with an end date. Two extra weeks off school to stay home and relax. As things developed, we all realized that there was no expiration date on these orders. We would be in it for the long haul. Out the window went our normal daily routine.
With that realization came another. We would be homeschooling our kids for the rest of their school year. Out the window went the idea of the lazy bump-on-a-log mode. Establishing a routine always makes me feel more productive and with little ones, it is almost essential to have their lives as predictable as possible.
Prior to the stay-at-home orders, I was still a stay-at-home mama, but had the freedom to roam as I pleased. To pop in a thrift store to browse (I mean, I am a new home owner so to me this was essential), to grab coffee and to go to the gym. On week days my youngest and I would send my son on the bus to school and we would start our day. Three times a week to the gym. One day a week was full house clean. Two other days were laundry. Throw in a lot of content creation and blog work as I could. It was predictable. We had a solid routine and bed time was 7 pm every night.
Fast forward to now, six weeks into this new normal and I can finally say we have a routine that works for us that allows us freedom and stability at the same time.
Mornings start earlier
This one I wasn’t a huge fan of at first, but overall, everyone gets up earlier. I am up anywhere between 5 and 6 and the kids follow between 6 and 7. This is the time for coffee and morning snuggles. Sometimes if the kids are extra energetic in the morning, they head right to their playroom. I like to use my coffee time for emails and computer work. We also do breakfast somewhere in this time.
‘Time for school Kain
Yes. That’s right. I set our smart home device to remind us when it is time for school. As a primary student, we don’t spend hours and hour on school so we find getting it done in the morning is our best bet. We do a combination of what the teacher sends home by email and some other topics that I add in to make sure he stays stimulated and interested (more to come on that in another post).
Cooking and cleaning more than ever
One of the downsides of being home all the time is that the amount of time spent cooking and cleaning has increased. I spend lots of time everyday cooking many meals, doing dishes and cleaning the floors. At the end of school time, the kids usually sit together and explore educational games and I get a head start on the tidy. I will throw in laundry, start the breadmachine, do some dishes, sweep around. Where formerly my routine was to do one major clean a week, now I do two. This is bathrooms, vacuum, general tidy and putting displaced items away etc. On Saturdays, the whole family does the major clean-up together. Throughout the week, the kids help here and there with jobs.
One thing I learned about getting kids to help clean, is offer to trade with them the ‘kid jobs’ for the ‘grown-up jobs’. They actually are excited to help when I say, ‘I will pick up your toys if you will dust and vacuum the living room’.
Our grocery budget has gone up, but not by much
With more meals and snacks being eaten at home, our grocery budget has increased a bit. We have found ways to counteract that by amping up my baking skills. (Making our own bread, crackers, baked goods, etc.)
Where I used shop sales at multiple stores, now we get the majority of our groceries at the store my partner works at. We supplement our fresh food and meats from a local market that does curbside delivery.
Outside time is more important than ever
Most afternoons, we spend a lot of time outside in our yard. Moving into a new house in January, we didn’t really see what our yard was and could be until the snow melted and we really got out there. We are seeing perennials popping up in various spots, found stacks of scrap wood to build a playhouse and have been working the garden beds that the former owners had made. Our backyard is a ‘yes space’ for the kids and we all need that right now.
Limiting screens for my own sanity
Besides school activities, I try my best to limit tv time during the weekdays. On days with zero cartoons, there are minimal fights and meltdowns and we have a better day overall. Some days, we turn on a movie if it’s rainy or everyone is feeling blah, but I pay for it later. We reserve Saturday mornings for the traditional ‘Saturday morning cartoons’ time and that seems to work for us.
Bedtime hasn’t changed
We still stick with the 7pm bedtime for the kids. Some nights the youngest is ready by 6 and I take her up. Keeping the same bedtime is important because they are just as exhausted by the end of the day as when school was in and we were on the go. The kids getting lots of sleep is important for all of our sanity.
So, this is pretty much how our days have went, but at the same time, we deviate some days. Since there really is no end in sight for this, does it matter if you take a day off cleaning or move Friday’s homeschool work to Saturday? Not at all. On days we aren’t feeling like doing anything, we just do what we want instead.
How has your routine changed or stayed the same over the last few weeks?