This week in our Top Tips for Isolating With… column, artist and professional sign-painter Abbi, who is isolating in Hampshire, gives us her top tips for quarantining with your in-laws, particularly when they’re a little more ‘out there’ than your own family. Read on for Abbi’s suggestions for how to isolate with your in-laws:

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1. Make sure you all have your own roles and stick to them – this is a new situation for all of you and establishing routine is really important. Decide who will cook and when and who will do grocery runs on any given day; have it written up and stuck on the fridge if need be so that everyone knows where they stand.

2. Don’t be afraid to be assertive. I struggle sometimes with standing up for myself given that it is not my family home, but I’ve had to learn to be direct and not to communicate through third parties when there is something that I feel needs saying.

3. Start your own new rituals and traditions so that you can feel part of the gang. Before lockdown came into play we were taking it in turns to do a daily ‘alcohol run’ followed by pouring drinks for everyone else in the house. This was a great way to get together at the end of the day and bond. Now our daily ritual is playing Pop Master on BBC Radio 2 everyday with my other half’s extended family on Zoom. It makes me feel part of the family.

4. Be prepared to learn something new about your partner if isolating with your in-laws. My partner’s family poke fun at him constantly which is something I’m just not used to. When it’s juts me and him he takes himself quite seriously so it’s been nice to see this other, lighter, side to him!

5. Know that families are all different; my family are quite conservative whereas my partner’s family are incredibly laid-back. It’s like a house party every other day! Initially this took some adjusting to, but I’m really enjoying it now.

6. Privacy privacy, privacy. When isolating with your in-laws, make sure to find some privacy for yourself, privacy for you and your partner, and to allow your in-laws their own privacy (remember: they aren’t used to having their child in the house anymore, let alone their partner too!)