(Amber Baldwin and daughter Avery)
As the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus outbreak, most of Australia remains under strict stay-at-home orders. It's important for children to feel safe at home; not stuck at home. We spoke to mum of two / content creator Amber Baldwin (@ambercbaldwin) about how she's coping--and thriving--at home with her two young daughters.
(Amber's daughters lounging on their DockATots)
What is your school day schedule?
We are following the remote learning curriculum for Avery, my older daughter, three days a week and I have an activity for my youngest set up as well! The girls have taken over our second dining area as their dedicated “school” while we homeschool and spend a lot of time indoors. Filling our days with lots of imaginative play, meals, and family time!
Our daily schedule looks something like this:
6 am: Mama’s up! Water with lemon and a cup of coffee. I read/answer emails as well as get my to-do list ready for the day. I always mediate before kids wake, even if it’s in my bed. Getting my head right before starting the day is important to me. There are great apps for meditation: Headspace, Calm, Oak are a few of them!
7:30 am: Kids start waking, greet them, we cuddle for a little and start to get breakfast going. While breakfast is being made, my girls love to independent play. They are usually chatting away in their rooms or in their playroom.
8:45am: Clean up breakfast. The girls are learning to bring their dishes to the sink and wash their hands after breakfast on their own.
9:00am: Everyone heads upstairs to get dressed for the day. My oldest is now dressing herself with little help from me, as well as brushing her teeth. I make sure to wash my face and moisturise.
9:30 - 11am: Gather downstairs, pick a craft/activity/academic. I throw ideas around and let the girls choose. There are some great Instagram accounts to gather ideas from:
This account provides ideas for messy play, quick and easy play, bath time play, sensory play, inside play, and outside play. She also provides a section for learning arts, science, maths, literacy, fine motor skills, and gross motor skills!
This account has daily themed activities you can follow that are fun and inspiring!
Printable learning shop!
Create with recycled items!
Sarah has great calligraphy books and has just released some free colouring sheets!
Also has free colouring sheet downloads right now as well! They also ship this as part of their packaging which is so neat!
Fun subscription for kids to learn one new profession a month! We have received vet and animator and both were hours of fun for my girls!
11:00am - 12:00pm: Wind down with a movie, while I make lunch!
12:00pm - LUNCH! Turn on some music and eat away!
12:30- 12:45pm: Clean up lunch! Girls bring dishes to the sink and we all wash hands.
12:45 - 1:15pm: Read a book
1:15pm - 3pm: Nap time
3:00pm - Academic activity or independent play; preferably outdoors, such as a nature walk, puzzles in the backyard, read a book and scavenger hunt things found in the book! Dribbling, kicking a ball.
4:30pm - Start dinner
5:00 - 5:45pm: Dinner! We always sit down together, say our daily prayer and start conversation using a game called, Worst, Weirdest, and Best! We go around the table and share one of each, the weirdest thing that happened, the worst thing that happened and the best thing that happened in your day. This game helps everyone connect and understand each other and what is impacting them daily. You learn things that make someone happy, sad and feel uncomfortable. Our oldest will always start the game and she won’t let us forget to play. Dinner is the most important gathering of the day in our house.
5:45pm: Clean up dinner. Girls continue to practice bringing their dishes to the sink and washing their hands.
6:00 - 6:45pm: Bath time and pyjamas
6:45 - 7:30pm - Independent play. We also announce the “Ten minutes until bed!” That gets them ready to wind down and think about bedtime.
7:30pm - Tucked into bed, read a book.
7:45 - 8:00pm: Lights out!
8:00pm: Parent time. I use this time to wrap up my day, get some work done, watch a tv show with my husband and spoil myself with a at home facial treatment. Do a quick in-home yoga session. YouTube has some great 20 minute videos you can play.
10:00pm - Lights out for us!
What are you DIY-ing at home now that you weren't before?
At home fitness is a huge one! My friend Morgan (@morganfaithsuarez) has barre workouts that she streams on her IG TV channel on instagram! Those are super helpful as she usually works out with kids around her and makes you feel less alone while working out!
Lots of DIY crafting! Using shipping boxes to make forts and playful dress ups! @amylouhawthorne on Instagram has put together a challenge to only use what’s in your house to build something fun and playful for the kids!
I’m a huge skincare/self care fan, so keeping up with daily facial masks/cleansing is something I will continue. Now is the time to relax and apply a Bio Cellulose mask, apply vitamin C, moisturise and exfoliate!
How are you handling working from home with your whole family now at home with you?
This is the biggest change for me. Because my oldest is homeschooling now, instead of sending her to preschool three days/half days a week. I'm using the early mornings and late nights to focus on things for me. Doing my best to spend quality time during the day and give my attention to my girls. I share a lot of our daily life at @ambercbaldwin and I am more than happy to have her home but being intentional is a high priority, as this will be a change for her to and I must not forget that!
Making our home an enjoyable space for my entire family is extremely important to me. I’ve ordered fun puzzles, blocks, and crafting items that will be arriving to our home shortly and hope to keep both my girls busy during this pause!
My Tips for WAHM’s: Schedule time throughout the day for yourself, set alarms and timers!
- While masking, use that time to scroll through your favourite apps/sites.
- While kids are napping, use that time to work/create content/edit content.
- While kids are napping, use that time to hydrate and gather thoughts.
- While kids play independently, use that time to read.
- While dinner is being prepped, use that time to dance & wiggle.
- While kids are snuggled up watching a movie, snuggle your spouse or walk in place.
- While doing laundry, ask kids to help by providing them a job... ie. put all white clothes in the hamper!
- While kids are playing in the backyard, read and answer a few emails.
- While kids are playing with their DockATot, pick up the house, read a book, laugh with them, write that email.
Is there a silver lining out of this disruption to your daily life?
I worked away from home the first two years of my oldest’s life, so being a SAHM is a blessing no matter the circumstance. But today, I am even more grateful to be here for my family. We are great about getting outdoors and I want to continue allowing them explore as much as possible! The outdoors can be a magical place once we allow them to explore. I’d love to make different meals and involve my children more in the kitchen. I tend to stick to the meals I’m comfortable making! I’d love to read more often and challenge myself to a book club list of some sort. I’d love to even start a marriage challenge! This would be a great time to start digging deeper into our marriage and getting to know each other on a more silly, playful level! We tend to stick to what we know, because daily life felt abundant. We must not take life for granted. Find time to appreciate the little things and dig deeper and relax with the ones you choose to love day in and day out.