Surviving lockdown with a toddler in a flat

by Katrina Parsons

Every morning for the last 8 weeks has felt overwhelming, as I wonder how I’ll get through the 12 long hours of the day. Most activities don’t last longer than 10 minutes, so that’s 72 activities a day!!!

Yet somehow 8 weeks doesn’t feel as bad as it should, and a lot of days I actually find myself having fun… here’s what I put it down to and how we have managed to survive in our flat so far.

1. Break each day down into segments – we do these in 2-hour chunks and then plan 1 activity and allow for some free play. This gives some structure to the day and gives me timely goals to work towards. Our days look something like this:
6am to 8am: Breakfast followed by some imaginative play with the kitchen and babies. Then free time.
8am to 10am: Snack followed by some drawing, stamps and stickers. Then free time.
10am to 12pm: Our daily walk, then lunch and free time.
12pm to 1pm: Afternoon nap.
1pm to 3pm: Baking together, free time then snacking on our freshly baked goods.
3pm to 5pm: Pouring water into buckets and containers then some free time.
5pm to 6:30pm: Dinner and the 4Bs – bath, bottle, book & bed.

2. Have some days that you don’t leave the house or even get out of your pyjamas. Let the house be a mess, let them have screen time and have some yourself. Don’t clean in nap-times and after dinner allow yourself to eat that chocolate. It’s surprising how replenished these days can make you feel and the energy you then have for the next few days.

Spending lockdown in doors and taking the day off work and household chores.

3. Get up before your kid/s– even if it’s just 30 minutes before. Starting your day on your own accord makes the biggest difference. Have a shower, get ready, have a coffee and enjoy the silence. I have been getting up at 5am which gives me around an hour to plan the day, do some work and be ready to tackle the day. Trust me on this – just try it and stick to it for 2 weeks and you will notice a difference in your mood and approach to the day ahead.

4. Exercise most days. Use that daily outing, or do Joe Wick’s home workout, yoga on YouTube or whatever it is that will get you moving. This is a gamechanger to your frame of mind. We have people living under us so I struggle to do high intensity workouts without feeling guilty that the roof is slowly crumbling onto their heads. However, run outside, or bike ride, or do burpees – whatever gets your heart moving… Do it and do it most days.

5. Meditate or allocate days you don’t exercise to do some yoga and just relax. Our minds are constantly working and being able to be present in the moment and grateful for everything you have is incredibly powerful.

6. If you’ve got a printer – use it. Print out their favourite movie characters and play hide and seek, stick them onto a box and let them feed them or glue them onto some finished toilet rolls and do some bowling. You don’t need to constantly buy toys for toddlers to have that WOW factor and get excited about new things.

7. Move their toys in the house around. You’ll be surprised at what toys you forgot you had and also how much longer they’re entertained when their routines and patterns of play are changed.

8. Plastic storage tubs are amazing! If you have some clothes stored in them, clear them out and get ready for some fun water play. You can wash toys, pour jugs into tubs, have baths, put food colouring into the water, put food colouring in shaving cream, play with ice cubes – the activities just go on and on.

9. Bake. Find some recipes that are easy to make and that just require mixing and baking in the oven. My advice is to measure out ingredients before and also have something such as measuring spoons on hand so you child can play with that. My daughter has grown to LOVE baking and understand the concept as well as enjoying everything we are making from scratch. Visit our blog for easy to cook recipes with your kids.

Baking healthy peanut butter cookies. Printable recipe here

10. Mix up your walks to the park/ around the street with a scooter, bike or toy pram. They’re getting sick of the same thing all the time almost as much as we are. Creating a hype around each different activity is key to keeping them motivated to getting out of the house and also letting them feel like they’re not actually in lockdown.

Just a few changes that I’ve made to the day makes all the difference. With the addition to the guidelines that we are able to have nannies or childminders this is good news for lots of families. However it’s not possible for some families at the moment for many reasons.

I hope the above gives you some more structure in your days and in turn helps your outlook on the situation.

We have never been more in this together and I know that we will make it through, however long it takes.

Katrina Parsons is based in London and is a first-time mum turned boutique business owner. She designs matching outfits for stylish mums and daughters, helpings mums feel and look beautiful. You can sign up to her free newsletter at her website, Follow her on Instagram to get daily hacks, tips, recipes and more

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