We’ve been sharing stories regarding the little changes we’ve all made during lockdown which have had a positive effect on our mental wellbeing, our finances or our relationship with those around us.
Here, mum Hannah explains how lockdown has allowed her to take her foot off the pedal, and appreciate the life she shares with her husband and daughter.
We are a pretty active family. Pre-lockdown the week consisted of breakfast club, tea time club and frantic bedtime routines. The weekends weren’t much different with Saturdays consumed by swimming lessons, football clubs, dancing and the odd kids’ party – leaving only Sunday for a lazy PJ day of den building and movie watching.
This all came to an abrupt end in March with the closure of schools signifying the start of the extension of our Sunday routine… or at least it could have. In fact, quite the opposite happened. We realised quickly that we weren’t built for life indoors and didn’t fancy our chances of surviving lockdown as a functional, happy family without finding a substitute for ‘normal’ activities. Thankfully, we managed it and for a fraction of the price!
We scoured the internet and social media sites to discover places of interest on our doorstep. We packed picnics and set off for walks by the canal to feed the horses, we did the Gruffalo trail around the lake, we learnt how to ride a bike in the woods… and stumbled across a DIY rope swing at the same time. Also, we made sandcastles in the bunkers on the golf course and created an obstacle course using chalk on the pavement outside the house to entertain passers-by. All for the grand price of £0.
Our pre-lockdown weekend routine cost around £60 a month and on reflection, this brought only a fraction of the enjoyment we have had throughout the whole lockdown experience. What I’ve also realised is that we stumbled on so many cool places whilst out wandering. Wandering without purpose or agenda, armed with only a water bottle and a handful of Haribo has been wonderful.
I joined the ‘ideas for lockdown’ groups and the local postcode groups on Facebook which provided tonnes of ideas on places to go and see within the area. It also gave a ‘heads up’ regarding any places to avoid and gave handy hints on tips that helped us prepare for each trip.
“What’s even better is that my daughter has been the happiest she has ever been during lockdown – she is a born explorer!”
Within three weeks of lockdown I’d been invited to join ten WhatsApp groups from friends and parents at school all there to provide support (and encouragement) throughout lockdown. It’s like my own min trip advisor for our local area… Never again do I need to wonder if the ice cream van does contactless payments or where’s best to pee in the woods!
What’s even better is that my daughter has been the happiest she has ever been during lockdown – she is a born explorer! With another baby on the way I had worried about how we would sustain the cost of providing entertainment for two kids whilst they weren’t at school, but lockdown has proved that kids are happy being out and about having fun, rain or shine.
Puddle jumping, hill rolling and bike rides cost nothing and it has brought more enjoyment to my daughter than any dancing class or football club. That’s not to say that we won’t go back to these activities but from now on we will try and find a balance between structure and just going with the flow.
I think before COVID-19 we’d spend more money because we’d take part in the same activities that all her mates did, and what we thought she would benefit from (such as swimming lessons). It’s only really been through lockdown that I’ve seen any posts about what the local area has to offer, and I suppose lockdown has forced us to get out and about and explore instead of jumping in the car and attending an activity.
I always felt quite anxious at the weekend because we had a packed schedule of places to be and fees to pay but now I feel a lot less anxious and have loved every minute having the freedom and flexibility to just ‘wing it’. I am certain that thanks to COVID we will be less bound to a routine in future. I suspect we will spend less on buying food and drink whilst we are out and about and will continue with our baking, picnics and flasks of tea.
Although we aren’t out of the thick of it yet, we have already changed the way we socialise with friends. The kids are content to ride their bikes in the park together and meet up to explore the rope swing in the woods. Not once has my daughter asked when the trampoline park or clip and climb will reopen, in fact, she is more excited to get her waterproofs on and jump in muddy puddles.
Above all its proved that we enjoy each other’s company. We can survive a weekend without bouncing from activity to activity… and daddy’s picnics are rubbish!
What will your family continue after lockdown – any new hobbies or life hacks that have changed the way you do things for the better? Let us know on social media. Find and tag us on Facebook using @familyaction, Twitter and Instagram using @family_action.