Kids Stuck at Home? Keep them Busy with These Tips

Keeping yourself and your children at home is a great way to help stem the outbreak of COVID-19 and keep your family healthy; but it’s not always easy. It can be especially difficult for parents who are also working from home – trying to manage everyone’s time is a tricky task.

Engaging your children with educational activities can be a great way to help ease the stress of a full house, and there are some great free online materials available to use. Your children’s teachers may also have online and offline materials, so be sure to check with them for specific assignments.

Much of their schoolwork may include more media use than normal, so taking technology-free work breaks with your kids or encouraging them to set aside this time for themselves can be a great way to keep a healthy balance while social distancing.

Here are some ideas from the American Academy of Pediatrics and others to help keep your kids busy, happy, and connected (*Not all of these tips will be suitable for all ages, but many of them can be modified):

  • Plan your daily schedule, and share it with your kids. Talk with them about when you can schedule work breaks and they can schedule schoolwork breaks, so that you’re all able to connect with each other during the day.
  • Encourage your kids to listen to podcasts and audiobooks, which can be enjoyed while working on other projects – like creating new crafts, or painting.
  • Make time to play some games. Caring for your mental health includes blowing off some steam and relaxing, and your kids need this just as much as you do. For younger kids, bring out the building blocks, bouncy balls, jump ropes, etc., and watch their creativity unfold. For older kids, go have a catch, shoot some hoops, or break out the chalk to create a four square (or two square) court. Side note: a friendly wager can make any game more interesting.
  • Sign up for the daily activity newsletter at pbs.org/parents. This can be especially helpful for preschool-age children.
  • Bring out a large puzzle to work on. This can be especially helpful if your child doesn't have siblings. During your breaks or after work, you can work on this together.
  • Read a book together. This can strengthen your bond, help with their development, and foster a love for reading.
  • Arrange a video chat or tele-game night with your child and their school friends or other family members. While the CDC recommends we keep at least 6 feet away from non-immediate family, we can all still connect with each other using technology.
  • Go on a scavenger nature hike. Bring a list along and ask everyone to find specific items during the hike, such as a red leaf, a pine cone, an acorn, etc. The person finding all of their listed items first wins. The winner could choose the next movie to watch during a family movie night, or the next board game to play.
topics in this article COVID-19 Resources