Lockdown ain’t easy. The Australian government recently announced ‘Stage 4’ restrictions for the residents of Victoria sending a shudder down every working parents’ spine. But we’ve done it before, and we can do it again…right? The Circle In team put our thinking caps on and came up with our 12 best hacks from lockdown 1.0 to help us survive the next six weeks.
For when the whole fam is working and schooling under one roof…
- Designate your spaces. We can’t stress this enough. You’ll be less distracted, more organised, and feel less out-of-sorts. Choose function over beauty — it’s not like anyone’s popping over for a cuppa! Move the kids into a shared bedroom to create a home office, or put your coffee table in storage to free up some space for indoor exercise and play.
- Stick to a routine. Encourage kids to get dressed and make their beds every day (though the odd doona day is cool, too!). This gives kids a role to play, and a productive start to the day. Hello positive attention from mum and dad.
- Leaving treats in the pantry is asking for trouble. Lock treats in the filing cabinet so the fam won’t be tempted to reach for them. Instead, set up a healthy snack station, pack lunch boxes or make your fruit bowl fruitylicious by filling it with all the colours of the rainbow.
- Ditch the screen time guilt by using it smartly. Schedule video calls with family and friends, get kids moving with screen time PE, lean on learning apps or online storytimes. Free up a window for work calls, prepping dinner or, heck, just for you.
- You’ve mastered the pomodoro technique, now get the kids working in bursts too. Lockdown 1.0 had us all frazzled juggling two or more kids’ schoolwork, and getting frustrated keeping kids on task. It’s become pretty clear the only way to get primary schoolers to focus is to work with one child at a time. Try it in short bursts, while leaving the other children free to play (without you on their back). Work in shifts with your partner. Switch. Repeat.
- Be upfront with your manager about what work you can realistically get done and when. Managing expectations is everything.
For when you’re trying to build in some ‘me time’…
- You have good intentions for exercise and mindfulness, but the day always seems to slip away. Start the day right with a jog, or keep yourself accountable by meditating with your partner first thing – that’s couples time ticked off for the day, too.
- If you’re just not a morning person (or the kids won’t let you be), use the first hour after kids nod off in the evening for ‘me time’. The dinner dishes can wait. So can the work emails. Get your yoga on instead. Chat over the phone with a friend to up the good vibes. Watch trashy TV and leave the COVID world behind.
- Get your online shopping fix – because sometimes only retail therapy will do.
- Build in a daily gratitude practice, round the table at dinner or at bedtime. Evidence shows it increases optimism and resilience, and positively impacts your health and wellbeing.
- Notice the kids are particularly cranky? Check their bedtimes, and wind them back if need be.
Whether it’s kids getting on your nerves, work overwhelming you, or you’ve had a COVID news overload, remember it helps to breathe deeply.
Written by the Circle In team.