Parenting 7 during COVID-19 Following a mom with a full schedule and a full house during a global pandemic

On March 11, 2020 the World Health Organization declared the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak a global pandemic.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney declared a public state of health emergency March 17, which caused the shutdown of many businesses, parks and schools.

The shut downs have forced a lot of parents to be laid off and children to stay at home to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

For lots of parents the time spent with their children has been cherished and has even made families closer.

Ashley Barnard is a mother of seven and has been home with all her children during the pandemic while her husband Tim Barnard continues to work.

The Barnard children vary in age: Aiden, 13, Hailey, 10, Kailyn 8, Britney, 6, Jordyn, 5, Max, 4, Zackery, 2.

Due to the pandemic the children were forced to do their school work from home.

The elementary school the girls attend, Penbrooke Meadows Elementary, provided a tablet to help students to get their schoolwork done.

On loan: The tablet provided to the household of students by their school Penbrooke Elementary School.

The tablet given to the family by Penbrooke Meadows Elementary serves a second purpose at the home.

The younger boys Maximus and Zackery use it to play games and watch videos as well.

Playing together: Maximus (left) and Zackary (right) play on the school tablet.

The tablet is only temporary however, all families must give the tablet back at the end of the school year or pay a $300 fee.

At the start of the pandemic Ashley bought the children different school workbooks to help the children stay up-to-date on their education.

Between the workbooks and attending classes online the kids have caught up on school work from home and the eldest girl, Hailey, has even graduated elementary school and will be moving on to junior high school.

When I heard they were opening things up all I could think was open the schools back up, said Ashley Barnard, when talking about the school closing.

The youngest of the girls, Jordyn, is set to start kindergarten in the fall.

Working Hard: Jordyn Barnard works on one of her many school books in preparation of kindergarten.

Jordyn has already half finished her school workbook and is excited to start school and make friends.

Ashley says her schedule with the kids since COVID-19 has completely changed.

Normally the kids would go to school and she would take care of the younger ones.

Everything was more organized, now every day is different.

Bed times are later and the kids spend more time playing Fortnite on their PlayStation 4.

"In the beginning we tried having an order, but kinda just lost order of it all after awhile. It became what day is it? What time is it?," said Ashley Barnard.
Inside Gaming: Kailyn Barnard plays Fortnite with her sisters online in the other room.
Family Feud: With only two televisions available Jordyn (left) and Britney (right) begin to watch the television to take their turn from Kailyn.

Ashley tries her best to make the kids have different activities to do.

She occasionally does all of the girls' hair in different styles and braids.

Ashley tries her best to make the kids have different activities taking trips outside to the open field down the block and playing outside in the back yard.

Ashley like to do her girls' hair in different styles to keep the girls looking good and to do something different for the day.

Everyone gets a turn: Ashley works on all of her four girls' hair one at a time.
"I cant wait to go outside and to be able to see my friends at school, I want this flu to be over," says Kailyn Barnard, age 8.

Life at home for the family is busy while the husband Tim works.

The kids have lunch time like normal every day, followed by quiet time where the little ones can lay down with a blanket and watch television.

Lunch Time: All the kids gather for lunch of macaroni and cheese.
Quiet Time: After lunch the kids relax and watch videos and Ashley can have a moment of peace.

Once Tim gets off work he gets the eldest boy, Aiden, to help him with any errands they need to run, such as taking in bottles.

After a long day the kids get ready for bed around 9:00 p.m. through normally Ashley says the kids stay up and chat way past their bedtime now since their schedule is messed up because of COVID-19.

The girls all sleep on two mattresses on the floor together.

Currently Ashley and Tim are looking for a new place to live so sleeping on the floor for the girls is only temporary.

Good Night: All the kids get in their pyjamas and get ready for bed.


Dawn Ilg/SAIT