Comment: Getting used to our new life in lockdown

Coronavirus-induced chaos: fighting kids are an added stress for parents now the schools are closed.

Coronavirus-induced chaos: fighting kids are an added stress for parents now the schools are closed. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

So, it’s finally happened: the dreaded lockdown has begun.

While these strict measures seemed inevitable – and, many would argue, long overdue – one aspect has been overlooked: parents’ sanity.

Yes, we know these measures are necessary for the greater good, but that doesn’t make the reality of life under house arrest any easier.

Our house is small, and the only unsupervised activity that’s guaranteed to go without a hitch is TV-watching. Absolutely everything else requires some form of supervision or it could all kick off – not ideal when you’re also trying to work.

Separating them helps and, as the weather’s good, I can have one kid upstairs, one downstairs and one in the garden. It’s when they’re all in the one area that things quickly turn bad.

I write this on day two of homeschooling. Day one went... about as well as could be expected given my low expectations; afterwards, I felt glad it was over, and ready to return to real life. Sadly not to be. As per Boris’s latest guidelines, real life is at least three weeks away, possibly a good deal longer. We’re going to have to get used to this.

To all the parents with the colour-coded schedules, I salute you and wish I was more organised. We’ve adopted a more freestyle approach,with a bit of Google classroom action mixed with TV, playing and letting them be bored (in separate spaces) in the hope that a burst of creativity will follow.

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We’ve had mixed results with this approach. On day one my son made a freedom bid over the back fence to join the neighbours’ kids on their trampoline. It made for a bit of an awkward first meeting for me and their mum, after she dispatched him back over the fence to get me.

None of us know what the future holds. The only certainty for now is that, for three weeks at least, none of our household will be going any further than the supermarket.

All I can hope is that, at the end of all this, we’re still sane.