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A family schedule is an oxymoron if ever there was one. But, kids thrive on routine so during the first day that the schools closed during New Zealand’s Covid-19 lockdown, I quickly sketched out a rough daily schedule to follow. I figured it was more important than ever to have a sense of order during this uncertain time.

Ready, set, routine

We are big on routine in this house anyway, only because otherwise nothing ever gets done. Having a daily schedule helped us settle as quickly as possible after immigrating to New Zealand too. I’m old school and normally write our list out and pin it with magnets to the fridge or, if I’m super organised, I set daily reminders using my phone’s alarm. That can get annoying fast, especially when Child B is having a nap and the message alert starts chiming. You can guarantee the phone is never within arms reach!

Be prepared to be flexible

Following a routine though is easier said than done with a baby, six-year-old and day-sleeping night worker to plan for. I prefer a loose structure based around set mealtimes. It makes it easier for Child A to understand as I can say, for example:

“We’ll do such-and-such after lunch,


“You can play your game after teatime.”

Today, it all went to hell in a handbasket. Child B kept waking up during the night so I then got up late. Which meant I missed my window to get dressed. Which meant I didn’t feel like following the rest of the schedule. This threw Child A out of whack and by 9:30 am he had already done the following:

  • Put on all his dinosaur tops at once
  • Added his Jurassic World hat and watch to the ensemble
  • Insisted on putting on matching dinosaur tattoos, which were old and fell apart (cue wobbly)
  • Had breakfast while watching his tablet (normally a no-no)
  • Listened to me reading out the Pobble 365 story prompt but lost interest
  • Practised number writing instead
  • Wrote of ghost story with illustration
  • Played outdoor on his scooter, bike and skateboard

So without any structure, he had burned through most of his daily activities in about two hours!

I decided we needed to get back on track and quick.

Since we had gone off-piste anyway, it seemed like a good time to simplify my initial schedule to make it easier to follow, building in more playtime. After all, just because we are on lockdown, doesn’t mean we can’t have fun! Just as I was about to sit down and review the family schedule, I got a helpful prompt from the school to establish a daily schedule.

I’ll share it here as a useful starting block for you to prepare your own family’s routine or update your existing schedule.

Family planner example

Example daily schedule for a family during the Covid-19 lockdown
#Adapted from a resource by Jessica McHale Photography

Let me know in the comments what kind of family routine or schedule works best for you.

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Kia ora!

In 2019, we sold our house, packed our bags and flew 18,782.17 km from the UK to New Zealand. This is our story of beginning again on the other side of the world, proving it’s never too late to chase your dreams!  Learn more here.