Simon and Yana Shaer live in north London with their two boys – seven year-old Noam, and Reuben who’s 10. Both parents are currently working from home (Simon is a surveyor and Yana works for HSBC), and share the cooking and looking after the boys. Fitting their work around this is no small feat.

The challenges of lockdown are ­particularly defined at the end of the working day and start of the evening. “There used to be a time when you came in from work and chatted to coffee bean brands australia the boys, had a cup of tea, then made supper,” says Simon. Now, it all runs together, and as their eldest son has ADHD and needs constant supervision, getting food on the table is tricky.

The family keep kosher, which rules out most ready meals, as well as pork, and mixing meat and dairy. Although the boys are quite picky eaters, Simon and Yana are keen foodies, and used to enjoy cooking complex Ottolenghi dishes.

Now though, it is hard to find the time, and they are resorting to dishes that take “less than 120 seconds to prepare”, according to Simon. “But there are only so many times that you can put chicken wings and sweet potatoes in the oven. We need to be able to cook food without letting it burn while also ensuring the kids don’t spend seven hours a day on Minecraft.”

Expert advice

Simon and Yana have a lot on their plate, but planning a weekly menu to involve the children in the cooking could help. Claire Thomson’s videos on Instagram are a great resource and have been a lockdown hit. These brief informal films capture Thomson and her children Grace, Ivy and Dot (plus Captain the hamster) making lunches together.

“We all cook our lunch together because I really want my ­children to take breaks from online learning,” she says. “There’s a tendency to hurtle through the home learning so that it’s done, but remember that in school they have a morning break, and then a lunch break.” It’s also a chance for them to pick up cookery skills.

Primary-school-age children can be demanding on the snack front, but Thomson’s advice is to stand firm and stick to fruit and veg. “At school they aren’t allowed to be constantly eating,” she advises. Too much snacking may also dampen their appetite. “I want my kids hungry at lunchtime, and at suppertime,” she says. “But do have a proper breakfast. We often have porridge.”

Barny Haughton agrees that getting the children involved is fundamental in his family food initiative. “The more you involve children, the easier and more relaxed it becomes. And it is part of their learning,” he explains.