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Across the country, schools are closed and parents are working from home due to COVID-19. This makes for a lot of family together time. How can you keep your kids busy and entertained?
Balancing Work and School at Home
For many parents, work-life balance has taken on a whole new meaning. It’s a challenging time, to be sure. But with a little creative planning, your family can be productive — and still enjoy some downtime and fun with your kids in the process.
Having your kids follow a basic daily schedule can help. See our tips for a sample home-schooling schedule on our Coronavirus Resource Hub.
Your kids likely have school assignments or distance learning planned into their day. Ask your older kids or teens to help out with their younger siblings so that you can finish a project. If you need some uninterrupted work time or have a video call scheduled, settle your kids in another room to watch a favorite show or movie.
If you feel your child needs more academics right now, check out some of the many free online learning sites for help. Two to try:
Khan Academy offers interactive content and video tutorials in math, science, engineering and history, as well as SAT test prep.
Scholastic has created a free online educational learning center for kids from pre-K through grade 9.
Teach Your Kids Some Skills
Now that you’re all at home, it’s a great time to teach your kids some basic skills and have them pitch in around the house. For younger kids, this can mean showing them how to help out by:
- Emptying the dishwasher
- Setting the kitchen table
- Prepping some foods for dinner
- Vacuuming or dusting
- Making their beds
For tweens and teens, this is a good time to learn how to:
- Cook some favorite foods
- Make dinner
- Do laundry
- Learn how to sew on a button or fix a ripped seam
When it’s time to take a break from school and work, try these ideas:
- Play your favorite games
- Pull out old home videos or photo albums
- Bake cookies or a favorite dessert together
- Have a family video game contest
- Help your kids clean out their closets
- Give your child’s bedroom a makeover
Stay Connected With Family and Friends
Social distancing is one of the best ways to slow the spread of coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That means that visiting other family members in person isn’t advised right now. But virtual visits are a great way to keep in touch.
Set up daily Skype, Zoom or FaceTime video chats with your child’s grandparents, aunts or uncles and cousins. Older relatives can also use this video chat time to help your kids with schoolwork, read them a story or play a game together.
If you have teens, encourage them to have video chats to keep connected with their friends, too.
Take a Virtual Field Trip
There’s an incredible world to explore out there — and your kids can do it all from a laptop or phone. Whatever your child’s age and interests, here are some ideas to get started.
For the science lover: Try Skype a Scientist. Just click on the For Families link, fill out a form and they’ll get you set up for a video chat with a scientist who matches your child’s interests — from astronomers to marine biologists.
For the art or history lover: The Louvre Museum may be closed, but you can still visit from home. Many other museums and cultural and historic sites around the world can be toured online, too. Check out Google Arts and Culture.
For the game design or music production lover: Check out Full Sail Labs for free online courses.
It’s important for everyone to go outside for a while each day. Getting some fresh air is a great way to recharge, get some exercise and do something as a family. Explore the neighborhood, go for a bike ride or take the dog for a walk together.
Do Something for Others
It’s always good to have your kids think about and help other people — especially now.
Older adults are more at risk for severe illness from coronavirus, according to the CDC, and also are more likely to live alone. If you have an older neighbor who’s on their own, call or email to check on them.
You could also help your child make a care package. Your child can create a colorful card, and put it in a bag with some pasta, canned soup or other basic food items. Let your neighbor know you’ll be leaving this outside their front door.
Another idea: Help your child make some cards to send to a local nursing home for their residents, who can’t have visitors right now. Check out our blog for more information on older adults and coronavirus.
Just Have Fun
Let’s face it, this is not your typical time. So have fun doing some things you might not typically have time to do:
- Have a picnic in your living room
- Plan a movie-watching marathon
Try Slowing Down
Remember that every minute of every day doesn’t have to be jam-packed for kids. It’s OK for them to just have some quiet time on their own. And it’s okay for kids to get a little bored now and then — and figure out what they can do.
Helping You Stay Informed
At AdventHealth, we’re here to help you and your family navigate your way safely through this coronavirus outbreak. You can find more helpful coronavirus FAQs, updates and resources on our Coronavirus Resource Hub.