The family is stuck at home for who-knows-how-long-now, and you’re starting to run out of ideas. Playgrounds and public spaces are off-limits, you need to squeeze in time to work from home too. Naturally, Your no-screens no-snacks ideology is not as strict as it used to be. Let them grab a bag of chips and scroll through TikTok for 3 hours. You say, desperate times call for desperate measures? We say – we hear you and we feel you! This is war, and we’re here to arm you.
We’re happy to share with you some activities and resources that we’re pretty sure will help to turn this challenging time into an opportunity to learn, to grow, and to make new memories as a family. So, let’s go ahead and get you equipped.
In this article we’ll cover:
- Lowering Your Culinary Expectations
- Aim for a Schedule – But Don’t Get Attached to It
- Encourage Independent Play
- Provide Quality Screen Time, or at Least Try
- Make Time for Learning
- Stay Active
- Practice Mindfulness
- Enjoy Old Hobbies, and Make New Ones
Lowering Your Culinary Expectations
This is no time to channel your inner Gordon Ramsay. Just keeping every fed is enough. Focus on dishes you can make big batches of, to make meal preps, and avoid the need to cook every single day. Freeze food. Make good use of leftovers. Make food that’s nutritional and filling—stock up on healthy snacks, like fruits and nuts. Allow your kids (and yourself) to indulge every once in a while.
- Cooking at Home in the Time of Coronavirus (Bon Apetit)
- Healthy, Easy and Affordable Snack Recipes for Kids (NBC DF)
- Easy Recipes to Cook While You’re Self-Quarantined (New York Times)
Aim for a Schedule – But Don’t Get Attached to It
You’ve probably already read and heard it everywhere – routine, routine, routine. That’s what your kids need, that’s what will keep you sane. But while some supermoms around the internet are sharing the ridiculously productive schedules they’ve made for their kids, it’s completely fine if a detailed schedule is unrealistic for your situation.
The things we do recommend you to give thought to are the waking up and bed times, meal times, and screen times. That’s what families are struggling with.
Encourage Independent Play
Independent play is a win-win. You get some much-need quiet time to work, cook or take a nap (you deserve it!), and your kids have the opportunity to have fun with themself, develop their imagination and improve their focus and self-reliance. All you need to do is to give the time, space, and appropriate toys. They’ll do the rest.
- Going Solo: Independent Play in Toddlers (Parents)
- Indoor Toy and Play Ideas for Children Aged 1-8 (littldata)
- 10 Ways To Encourage Independent Play (The Parenting Junkie)
Provide Quality Screen Time, or at Least Try
If your kids know exactly when is the dedicated screen time each day, they’re likely to nag less about it. Likely, we said. But let’s face it – as much as it’s not ideal, screen time for them is also quiet time for the parents, so it’s not that bad. Try to stay guilt-free and do your best in helping your kids choose high-quality content to watch or play.
One last tip about this subject: lead by example. If you’re going to be in front of a screen all day long, how can you expect your little ones to behave differently?
- Storyline Online – Actors Read Children’s Stories
- 25 Best Podcasts for Kids (Common Sense Media)
- The Best Kids Shows to Watch on YouTube (Make Use Of)
- Best Kids’ Movies on Netflix in 2020 (Common Sense Media)
- 17 Best Apps for Kids, According to Parents and Kids Alike (Good Housekeeping)
Make Time for Learning
Whether you like it or not, you’re a home-schooler now. Even if your children’s school provides guidance or Zoom classes, there’s still a lot you can do on your own. Setting up some curriculum can help you find structure. Luckily, the good internet is filled with educational resources for any age, topic, and approach. Conveniently, we summed some of the best of them up for you.
- Khan Academy Kids
- Homer Reading App
- Free Worksheets and Activities
- TedEd for Studends – Animation Video
- Oversimplified History Videos (YouTube)
- Free Printable Practice Books, Grades K–5
- Hooked on Phonics – Online Reading School
- Mystery Science – Free Science Lessons for Kids
- Scholastic Learn at Home – Projects Organized by Grade
- Abcmouse – Full Online Curriculum for Children Ages 2-8
- Twinkl – Teacher Created Teaching Materials for Each Age Group
- Home Learning Guidance For Schools and Parents In Primary Schools
- 17 Ted Talks for Kids to Inspire Little Minds to Do Big Things (Lifehack)
- YouTube Science Video Channels: minutephysics, MinuteEarth, TheBackyardScientist, The Brain Scoop, SciShow, Veritasium
Movement is a great way to release tension, have fun, and stay healthy. It’s also an excellent way to exhaust the little energizer bunnies already. Dance, stretch, go for a walk. Just keep it varied and try to do it every single day. If you need online help, there’s a lot of it.
- Cosmic Kids Yoga
- GoNoodle – Movement and Mindfulness Videos Created by Child Development Experts
- 6 Easy and Simple Exercises for Kids
Mindfulness is a fantastic tool to improve your and your kid’s focus, self-confidence, inner peace, and overall wellbeing. That’s true at all times, but it’s even more so at such uncertain and stressful times. Practicing mindfulness can help to cope with anxiety, depression, or even just boredom. Many apps and services offer guided meditations for kids and adults, but you don’t need anything to practice mindfulness – except for your own mind.
- 25 Fun Mindfulness Activities for Children and Teens (+Tips!)
- Meditation Apps for Kids (Common Sense Media)
- Headspace – Meditation for Kids
Enjoy Old Hobbies, and Make New Ones
With all due respect to traditional education, a (hopefully) short time off of school can help the kids to re-connect with their natural curiosity and creativity that might have been lost. Let them dive into the things they’re passionate about – arts and crafts, coding, playing an instrument. Your rule is to provide them with tools to develop their skills. Our rule is to help you with that.
- Free Alphabet Playdough Mats
- Hands-on Activities to Do with Your Kids
- Tynker: Coding For Kids
- Piano Learning App
- The Best Painting Ideas for Kids to Try
- The Toymaker – Paper Toys to Print and Assemble
- ChessKid – Online Chess for Kids
Create Videos Together
One day, as far away as it feels right now, this too shall pass. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll even get nostalgic about quarantine. We encourage you to document everything going on in your house and make videos out of it. And also, because making these videos is great fun for kids and adults 😉
Brainstorm together on the different types of videos you can make – share a crafty project, make a clip of your funny family workouts, or create a compilation of your everyday moments. Magisto’s app is a fun and easy way to turn your memories into beautiful videos that you can share with friends and family or keep to yourself as something you can always go back and reminisce about this unusual time.