Livin’ la vida lockdown – an A to Z of family life during the Coronavirus pandemic

I think we must be on week 6 or 7 of lockdown in the UK now. Like everyone else, I’ve lost all concept of time at the moment and days roll into one. Coronavirus, aka Covid 19 has hit the world hard and here in the UK we have been staying at home to protect ourselves and others since the 23rd/24th March 2020. 

Life has been incredibly busy here at home. My fiance Carl and I live here with Little C who is four. Carl is fortunate enough to still be working, so between us we are keeping up with the day job, parenting, home ‘schooling’, cooking and general house admin. So, even though we’re at home all day every day, there doesn’t seem to be too much time for down-time. A strange thing to happen, and we are living in unimaginable times, but the important thing is we’re managing to stay safe and keep others safe. Life has changed in so many ways, I thought I’d share an A-Z of life during this pandemic! Familiar?

A is for Artwork

Artwork, creating and generally getting crafty provides hours of fun. We have an overflowing art box which is gradually getting emptier by the day as we’ve produced no end of artwork. One thing in particular which we’ve enjoyed is creating colourful window displays, as seems to be the trend during this time. We made a rainbow themed ‘smile’ window display first of all, and now we’ve created a window full of colourful decorations on the VE day theme. Looking at what other’s have created too on our daily walks is also a highlight too! One other favourite item we’ve created is a clock to learn to tell the time. Art can be used as a great tool for learning at the same time as providing an outlet for getting creative!

B is for Baking

If you can get flour that is. There has been a nationwide shortage of many items such as toilet rolls, handwash and flour as everyone goes back to basics baking in the kitchen. Baking is a wonderful activity that we’ve enjoyed as a family, both the baking and the eating afterwards. Plus, someone also gets to lick the spoon, which is especially yummy with the mixture for fairy cakes! Check out our page here for a foolproof fairy cake recipe

C is for Clapping for Carers

“What’s the day? Thursday! Oh! It’s clapping day!” This sentence uttered just a few months ago wouldn’t have made any sense, but now it’s being said up and down the country. Thursday nights at 8pm mark the clap for carers. We all come out on our doorsteps and clap and make noise for all of the key workers who are keeping this country running during the crisis. Thank you to NHS staff healthcare workers, emergency services, shop staff, delivery staff, refuse collectors, teachers and nursery staff, prison workers and social services to name a few.

D is for Daily Routine

We’ve all had to get used to a new ‘normal’. The weirdest normal we’ve ever known. The daily routine has become a bit of a mish-mash and varies day-to-day dependent on everyone’s moods. We start the day a little later in the morning as there is no rush to get up. A snuggle in bed and playtime, an online exercise class (Joe Wicks annoyed Little C a bit so we much prefer Andy’s Wild Workouts!), then a film in the morning, arts/crafts/baking, lunchtime, lots of play time, dinner time, then our exercise in the late afternoon/early evening before more play time and bed. This can vary day to day, but this sort of routine has been working for us as a family.

E is for Exercise

At the moment, we are allowed out once per day for exercise. Isn’t it funny how when you’re only allowed out for a limited amount of time, you take advantage of this? I think it’d be great to keep up the after dinner wander foray around the local area once this pandemic has disappeared! I have really enjoyed going out with Carl and Little C for an evening walk, bike ride or scooter and discovering hidden gems close to where we live. Undiscovered trees, ponds, flowers and new places to spot bluebells have put a smile on all of our faces. I was planning on writing a Warwickshire guide on where to spot bluebells this year, but haven’t got around to it. If you’re in Berkshire though, do check out this guide on places to spot bluebells on your walks! It’s also been nice to see all of the wonderful artwork that families have created and also play the hopscotch trails chalked on the pavements by children staying at home.

F is for Family

We have had to stay home with whoever we live with. This is the longest continuous amount of time I have spent with my fiance and daughter, and I have enjoyed and cherished every extra minute spent with them. It’s a pleasure to feel the closeness of our togetherness and enjoy each other’s company. Solitude is definitely not a word that applies in our house, but gratitude is. The love I have for my little family is unreal. (Sorry for the slush. Just saying how I feel). 

G is for Games

Snakes and ladders, anyone? Nice to see that my competitive streak has been inherited by the mini one. This could get interesting as she grows older.

H is for Home Schooling

Ok I say home ‘schooling’ but really this is distance learning. It’s trying to educate your child and keep up the good work their teachers have been doing so they don’t miss out due to Coronavirus. Little C is at pre-school and starts reception in primary school this September. However, her pre-school teacher had started a really good job of teaching her phonics (via the read, write, inc method) and we don’t want her to lose out on what she’s been learning. Her brain is a sponge right now, and if she’s learning to read and write, we want to keep this up. We have been using some great books on phonics and numbers, and also using every day situations to learn words, numbers and facts. There are some great resources to use out there, we especially like Twinkl and Mrs Mactivity.

I is for Imaginative Role-Play

Every day is a role play day. Whereas our children have always been able to play with their friends at preschool, school and beyond, now we are their only play mates. It’s not my natural forte to be honest, but both of us parents have upped our role-play game and are quite good at Barbie games, playmobil games and naughty brother/good little sister games. Not quite so sure on the Miss Hannigan/Annie game though, especially when the neighbours can hear us all day in the garden!

J is for Just in Case

Turns out this pandemic has been good for the ‘just in-casers’ amongst us. After years of festival going, the stash beneath our bed of anti bacterial hand gel has come in quite handy!

K is for Karaoke

Music is life. Creating music or listening to music, it is all fun. We have been enjoying lots of musical fun day to day by singing (thanks Singstar), dancing and even playing the piano. We have watched and sung along with lots of musicals, The Greatest Showman, Frozen/Frozen 2 and Annie are firm favourites. Some of my friends even went a step further with their musical creativity and hosted a ‘Fauxrovision’ song contest in absence of the Eurovision Song Contest this year. Very Entertaining. We have been listening to lots of extra music whilst staying at home, I am impressed at her singing along to Maximo Park (great choice, even if I’m biased) and laugh and smile whilst she sings to things like Barbie Girl and Who Let the Dogs Out.

L is for Learning New Skills

In this time, I have learned how to bake (almost) perfect fairy cakes and Little C has mastered how to do a forward roll. I’ve also learned new skills at entertaining her without the need to go out to all of our usual haunts. The long 6 weeks of Summer Holidays in the future will be a doddle after this, we didn’t know how lucky we really were. 

M is for Missing Everyone

It is heartbreaking not to be able to see Grandma, Nana, and other members of our family during this time. We miss all our friends too and can’t wait to meet up again. Isolation can be hard on many people (but here are some tips to make it easier…) Roll on normality and we can get back to the usual! I think there will be some tight hugs once the time comes round again.

Heart with hands

N is for Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube & BBC Iplayer

Screen time is always traditionally a tricky subject. But, we have to use what we need within reason, and where we are being encouraged to keep in touch via screens, with education, classes, video calls and everything being delivered by the screen, it’s difficult not to have it on at least a portion of the day on and off. We try to adhere to Sensible screen time as much as possible, but I think we have watched a bit more than usual since being inside most of the time. We have quite a few subscriptions at the moment and have been entertained by quite a bit, some educational, some pure entertainment. I am quite impressed at the numbers Numberblocks get up to nowadays. I have also personally enjoyed learning quite a bit more about history from Horrible Histories!

O is for Online Shopping

We used to think that the biggest challenge of supermarket shopping was dragging children along the weekly shop against their will and trying to make it through without resorting to bribery. Now it’s actually getting a food shop in. It’s quite risky to get out and about physically, especially if you have a child by your side, so online shopping has become even more popular. Staying up until midnight to grab an exclusive Tesco shopping slot has become the norm. The excitement of seeing the delivery van pull up outside your house is unreal. We get so used to being able to pop into a shop when we want to, and now you feel like mama bird bringing food back to the nest when you get the holy grail of a food delivery slot! 

P is for Pub Garden

Oh what I’d give to be able to sit in a nice pub garden in the sunshine with a beautiful view. But, alas, we can’t even go to the Winchester until this all has blown over! (When you can’t rely on even one of your favourite catchphrases for comfort and grounding, you know we’re in trouble). Luckily, we’ve had gorgeous weather so our very own garden is now the spot of dreams. Nice cold drink on the patio at the weekend whilst you watch and interact with your child playing happily on the trampoline/swings/slide? Check! Pub garden home style.

Q is for Quizzes

I love a quiz. I miss going to pub quizzes since becoming a parent, so any opportunity for quizzing from home I take with open arms. Where I used to listen to Popmaster alone when Little C was at pre-school, I now catch up with the podcast last thing before bed. It’s great to play along and helps relax the mind before drifting off to sleep. I also take part in a virtual pub quiz on Facebook (check out the Spice Facebook Page) with some lovely friends of mine. We confer over WhatsApp then email our answers in. It’s always nice to have this in the diary as great to catch up with everyone and very entertaining!

R is for Rainbows

It has been wonderful to see rainbows in so many places on our restricted local travels. The rainbow is a nice symbol of hope, unity and positive attitude. Coronavirus is scary and these are confusing times. Being positive and strong shows a great example to our children. Their minds must be full of all sorts right now, so good to provide some sort of grounding for them. Even if we feel like the rugs have been pulled from beneath our feet.

S is for Social Distancing

So sad, especially for children who are used to playing with their friends. We have seen one or two friends from a distance, but they just want to play with each other. Little C is rather good at understanding the 2 metre rule, even going as far as shouting to someone ‘excuse me mister keep your distance’. You tell them girl. 

T is for Trampolining

We’ve always ummed and ahhed about getting a trampoline for a garden. I mean, they’re huge aren’t they. Are they really worth it? They are like gold-dust at the moment, but after seeing a post on a local Facebook group, we were able to get one in store at Asda. We’ve got a 10ft trampoline which is perfect for Little C growing up, but not too big as to dwarf the garden. It has been worth it as gives her a bit of fun, she especially likes it if we blow bubbles inside and she has to jump and catch them. Roll on the day she can invite her friends around again to play on it though. If you’re thinking of getting one, I’d say it’s definitely worth it if you have the space! It’s fun for the adults too…

U is for Unprecedented Times

At the beginning of this year, none of us could have guessed how much life would change for everyone. We’re all equally being exposed to this, but inequal and different in how it affects us. But, as the Queen said in the speech for the 75th Anniversary of victory in Europe, “Never give up, never despair, that was the message of VE Day”. Let’s keep on keeping on. We’ll meet again and all that.

V is for Video Calls

Facebook messaging, houseparty and Zoom have become useful tools for keeping in touch. It has been nice to keep in touch more with family. I just wish that the special effects weren’t tempting as they are quite a distraction! Virtual playdates were a great idea, but sometimes quite stressful as everyone seems to be quite frustrated if they are trying to say something and the other not paying attention. We have found seeing friends from a distance through windows has been more effective. Zoom has also been great for brain tumour support from brainstrust to keep me on the straight and narrow amongst medical appointment related anxieties. Video calls are also a great way of combatting loneliness!

X is for X Marks the Spot

It’s all about the scavenger hunt. Great way to pass the time of day. Rock hunts around the garden, Easter egg hunt, scavenger hunts to find things around the house etc. What kid can resist a pirate map and the promise of treasure at the end?

Y is for Yo-Yos and other rediscovered toys & books

The joy of finding old toys and books again after a long time! We found the washimals again (little animals you colour with a pen then wash away with water), lots of Barbie clothes and also a Tiny Tears Doll that I had back in the 80’s. I’m enjoying time just playing with Little C, and she definitely is to be honest. I love coming up with new play ideas for when you’re stuck indoors. There’s a box in the garage which I’m convinced is full of toys left over from us moving house two years ago, but I’m thinking of saving it for week 8 so we have a new trick to break up the week! Don’t crack out all your good shots all at once, right?

Z is for Zzzzz

Bedtimes have been an absolute nightmare, if I’m honest. I think the clock change didn’t help whatsoever. Remind me again how you get a child to sleep at night? Little C is so full of energy (even if we’ve been out) and can’t settle for a long time. It’s been nice though that generally she’s slept until after 7am so we’ve enjoyed a few extra lie-ins. Breakfast in bed too. What’s it going to be like though when we have to get out the house on time for the school run? It’s all become a distant memory!

How are you surviving lockdown? What do your children and grandchildren think? What one word sums up the situation for you? Let us know by using the comments below or by joining in the conversation on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. In the meantime, stay safe! (and sane).

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