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A Parent’s Guide to… establishing routine

Living in coronavirus lockdown, our lives are a little (or a lot) different than they usually are. You’re spending all your time at home when you’re used to frantically dashing out the door in the morning to do the school run before rushing off to work. You may be home schooling, whilst trying to work from home yourself, unable to get any out-of-home entertainment or activities. Our routines have gone out the window, and we’re all learning to cope with a temporary new way of living.  

But, although our usual routines are no longer in place, it doesn’t mean that we should give up on any sort of routine altogether.  

Having a routine is important because: 

  • Routine builds good habits (eg. Doing a family workout before eating breakfast together) 
  • It manages your child’s (and entire family’s) expectations and responsibilities. 
  • It allows for healthy habits to be integrated and prioritise 
  • It can help strengthen family relationships  
  • It offers stability in a stressful and uncertain time  
Below we have outlined some tips on establishing and maintaining a routine while in lockdown.  
Girl Sleeping With Her Brown Plush Toy
Sleep Schedule

It’s important to stick to a normal bedtime and wake up time routineIt’s likely that your child will wake up at the same time most mornings – even if they’re going to bed later. This means that they will be getting less sleep, which can affect mood, concentration and also have an effect on our appetite, resulting in consuming more food as well as craving more high fat/sugar foods. 

By sticking to our normal sleep and wake times, it provides a sense of normality to our lives and the extra time in the morning which would usually be spent commuting could be used to do something as a family together such as a family workout or all sitting down and having a peaceful breakfast together. It’s easy to use this extra time to sleep in, but make sure you’re still waking up, and getting dressed is going to help make the day feel more structured (even if it’s tempting to stay in pyjamas all day!)  

Mother and Child making breakfast
Meal and snack times

Sticking to regular meal times helps the family know when they can expect to eat and is a good strategy to minimise aimless snacking 

There is a temptation to eat more snacks while at home, especially if we’re bored or trying to fill time. We know this is likely to happen, so having a routine around when meals and snacks will be available will help keep everyone on track and aware of when they can expect food. You could even try using our snack tuck shop to keep snacking under control. 

This may be a great time to try and eat meals together as a family, with your normal routine it may be difficult but with this additional time at home we can spend some time forming a new meal time routine. This could include what everyone’s roles are at meal time (such as cooking, cleaning, making the table etc.) 

A boy logging into online school at the table
New Normality

During this time, try and have “normal school hours” focused on learning. It helps your child stick to differentiate between work time and free time, and reserves the TV, video games and other activities for after school/evenings and weekends.  

Example Daily Routine

Before 9 am Usual Routine – Wake up at the usual time, get washed, dressed and make your bed. Eat a healthy family breakfast and talk about the day ahead. 


9.00 to 10.00am Exercise –   Go for a walk, practice some yoga or do an online workout video. Get energised for the day ahead! 

You could watch: 9am PE with Joe Wicks 


10.00 to 11.00 Academic time – Whether you are home schooling your child, or their school has set work for them, or they’re old enough to get on with studies on their own – use this time to focus on an academic subject.

You could watch: 10am Maths with Carol Vorderman  


11.00- 12.00 Creative time  If you have younger children spend some time doing arts & crafts, cooking, or music. If you have older children do they have a creative project they can get on with or a musical instrument to practice? 

You could watch: 11am English with David Walliams 


12.00 Lunch- Make a healthy lunch and try to eat together. 

You could watch: 12pm Lunch with Jamie Oliver


12.45 -1.30- Chore time- It is important that families pull together, and everybody helps with a range of daily chores, so clean up after lunch together.  

You could watch: 1pm Music with Myleene Klass


1.30- 2.30 Quiet time-  Everyone in the family could benefit from some quiet, alone time. This could be spent reading, or doing puzzles or even napping.  

You could watch: 1.30pm Dance with Darcey Bussell 


2.30 – 4.00 Academic time–  More studying or home schooling on an academic subjects 

You could watch: 2pm History with Dan Snow(free for 30 days)


4.00- 5.00 Exercise and fresh air- weather permitting, try and get outside walking the dog, bike riding, play in the garden. 


5.00- 6.00 Dinner – eat together, help with setting the table and clearing up afterwards. 


6.00pm onwards Routine as usual-  Free time to enjoy TV, video games, storytime and usual bedtime routine.