It’s back to getting sh*t done in the Sheffield household with school returning today. Well, there’s a full online timetable of teaching and work to do so we’re not exactly ‘homeschooling’ but I still seem to get asked about algebraic equations… As we’re all trying to work, run a business, do a term’s work and stay sane in the same house I thought it’s a good chance to share my top tips on managing lockdown with a teenager. I hope these resonate so do let me know if you have other suggestions too!

Agree a family timetable

Respecting space and quiet time for everyone’s work is important when you’re all at home. When are people on video calls or online live teaching? Work out when you all need to use the office space/ corner under the stairs/ kitchen table for video or conference calls. I’ve learnt that bowling into the kitchen and crashing around whilst there’s an online class going on is about as well received as when someone flounces in behind you on a video call.

Rotas and sharing jobs out

There aren’t any excuses now about teens being out at activities or with their friends so are too busy to contribute to household jobs. We’re all in this together and they’re old enough to contribute, so get them to pull their weight a bit and the incentive of a bit of cash helps in doing those tasks nobody wants to do. You might find they’re more capable than they let on and you have a budding decorator or cook on your hands.

Time for exercise, games, films and activities

Get them out of the house safely, sensibly and with gusto. Run, walk, cycle or anything you can do safely as a family is great and it burns off some frustration and cabin fever. And being social online with their friends is great, just watch for the social media usage. It’s better to be chatting on video to real friends than disappearing into the social media vortex of doom and comparison.

Helping others

I don’t advocate sending teens out to shop for others right now but once you’ve got the food in, how about having teens drop it off to your elderly neighbours and say ‘hi’ and have a chat from a distance? They can still be involved in volunteering by calling others who need help and staying in touch with isolating friends and relatives.

Don’t underestimate the food bill

Wow, I didn’t realise how much food needs buying and cooking with us all at home. Having a growing teen is like having a very tall toddler. Food on the hour every hour and only when they’re asleep does the fridge door get a rest.

Play games and be embarrassing

Nobody will see you embarrass them now so “OMG, you’re SO old and you’re SO embarrassing” falls on deaf ears without an audience. So play games, dance, mess around and know they can’t give you grief for it.