By now many of you have settled into the reality of your expanded role beyond regular parenting. You’ve donned the cap of all-day babysitter, academic instructor, taskmaster, internet-connection specialist, entertainment planner, and referee if there’s more than one child.
Add to that the stress of trying to maintain a household, keep the food flowing, and possibly work from home as best you can.
We’re hearing it from all directions! Does any of this feel familiar?
- “I’m a terrible parent! I used to restrict screen time but now ‘anything goes.’ At least I try to monitor content.”
- “We’re definitely in survival mode and all on different schedules.”
- “I used to want my son to get up and start the day. Now it’s just the opposite. Sleep! Sleep! Please! :) “
- “I always watched the clock for when my girls were off to school so I could catch my breath. Guess those were my good ol’ days.”
- “My husband and I should appreciate this extra time with the kids but. . . how can the days seems so-o-o-o long?”
Tips and tricks to get through your days
Based on years of providing parenting ideas to our members, we’d like to offer you some help.
See how these ideas below fit your situation. Of course, there are lots of different scenarios, from the number of kids and ages, temperament and independence of a child, any special health or emotional needs — and your own stamina, resources, time available and . . . patience.
With all that in mind, we hope some of these will be of use to you:
Tip #1 Have a daily schedule
Maintain a daily schedule for your kids. Be prepared to switch it up once in a while, but stick to a routine. It will help you with meal schedules and offer a daily structure that you won’t have to create from scratch each day. Draw up your own routine chart or consider one of our Printable Routine Charts.
Tip #2 Assign appropriate chores
Get the kids involved in chores around the house. This is the perfect time to let them see how they can help. It can give them some satisfaction when accomplishing a task, and will also give you a break once the habit is established. We offer the advice below on our section about age-appropriate chores for kids:
Most experts agree that three factors can be the key to success. One is to have chores that are appropriate for the child. Second, have a positive attitude and don’t make the chores feel like punishment. And the third is to use Printable Chore Charts to help target the behavior and monitor activities.
Of course, a child’s age doesn’t really define what chores are appropriate, but it can give a starting guideline. The the physical, developmental, and emotional age of a child all make a difference. So be prepared to adapt the list!
Tip #3 Select activities that work for you
A major goal is to keep them busy–but of course you already knew that. It’s always good to have some creative “busy work” on hand. (Now you know why teachers hand out so many worksheets!”) Order some inexpensive materials online, or download and print activities from the internet. Have a stash of art supplies that you can pull out for creative time.
Beyond that, we offer 175+ Activities for Kids at Home that you can consider! Some will be a better fit than others, but there should be something for everyone.
Tip #4 Keep your interactions positive
Now that you all are joined at the hip throughout the day do you find yourself saying “No” over and over? The questions keep coming during lock down: Can I have a snack now? May I watch a movie? Is it time to play Switch now? Do we have ice cream? What about cookies? Can I go outside? Can Jose come over?
We’ve had a tremendous response to our 22-Ways to Avoid Saying “NO” to Kids post. Find a quiet moment (ha-ha) to review the suggestions in the post and see what resonates. Even if just a few make sense to adopt, they could make a big difference. They can help start a new habit with your communications that will save you energy and be more enjoyable for your child as well.
We welcome your ideas and comments. These are challenging days for kids and adults, but in many ways they are also precious days. We hope these ideas help make the home-time experience go more smoothly for everyone.