As a self-employed trainer and consultant, all my work for the foreseeable future has been cancelled. That means I have no source of income. In addition, I have 2 sons, Will in year 10 and Toby in year 11 who would have been sitting his GCSE exams in 2 months.

I have spent the last year trying to explain to Toby the importance of revision and slowly he had realised that the more revision he did, the better grades he got. And he was going to have to do some heavy revision over the next couple of months to get the grades he was capable of. But that has all changed. And the information is that teachers will predict their grades using a wide source of information. And schools are closed.

The advice I have read is to structure the day like a school day, so I explained to the boys yesterday that they were still going to be doing 3 hours of study a day, along with other activities such as cooking and they wouldn’t be able to go on their computer games until after 3pm. This obviously didn’t do down well with Toby, who has already had his letter accepting him to Sixth Form and I am telling him he has to go back over his work in Doddle and retake any tests, just in case that is one of the resources the teachers will use.

I woke up at 4am this morning and read every news update, article and piece of information I could to try and make sure I know how to deal with this situation. And I don’t. None of us do. I know we have to stay in as much as possible and and know we have to stay away from people and I’m ok with that. I don’t know where I’m going to get my income from and I don’t know how to do the right thing for the boys. And I started crying. I have felt like crying at random times over the last week, but been trying to keep it all in. And I think the release of emotion helped me understand what I need to do.

Firstly, I have applied for jobs at my local Tesco stores. I am healthy and I can help out in this situation and feel a sense of purpose. It also gives me a form of income.

More importantly, I am going to let the boys lie in until 10am this morning, then I am going to make them a hot chocolate with marshmallows on and I’m going to talk to them. I’m going to apologise to them for yesterday. I’m going to tell them that I don’t know how to deal with this situation and what I think I know is changing daily. I’m going to cry in front of them and let them know it’s ok for them to do the same. And I’m going to tell them that everything will be ok.

Then I will tell them that that was their first ‘lesson’ of the day. And since it is now break time, I will then make them pancakes.

I am then going to ask them how they would like to structure their day and let them put a plan together. I’m going to suggest things like reading and cooking, but I’m going to let them choose. Because the most important thing in of all of this is that they feel happy and safe. And I know I can do that.

So I would suggest to everyone that we take any pressure off ourselves and our children, enjoy the time you have together and keep talking to each other. #staysafe