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Parenting During a Pandemic: Keeping Kids Occupied and Learning

keeping kids occupied

Good for you! You’ve had the talk about COVID-19 with your kids. You’ve answered all of their questions. You should be super proud of yourself because you are crushing the “parenting during a pandemic” game.

Now what?

If you find that the four walls of your home are closing in and everyone is a little out of sorts from being together 24/7, you’re not alone. You may be running out of ideas for keeping kids occupied or retaining what they learned this year in school.  We’ve got some ideas and resources for you.

Whether you’re a little kid, a big kid or an adult-sized kid, we all need and want the same basic things.

  • Routine/Consistency
  • Physical stimulation
  • Mental stimulation
  • Fun/Joy/Creativity/Music/Art
  • Food/Water
  • Rest

Keeping Kids Occupied While Learning at Home

Structure Your Routine

Of course, I totally understand letting your child sleep in while you enjoy your second or third cup of coffee in peace, but after the novelty has worn off, consider using your child’s school schedule as a template for their new normal.  If you’ve had to get up at five-thirty to get them on the bus by six-fifteen, here’s where you can alter things to give them (and you) a break. You don’t have to tackle the day early at home, but a basic routine will help tremendously. Give your kids a simple schedule and some structure to follow so they know what comes next. This isn’t the time for rigid schedules- you might have to pick other battles during the day, so save your strength! If you need to flex to make things work, DO IT!

Don’t forget to PLAY

Running, playing, yoga, walking… they all get the blood flowing and wake the brain when it starts to feel sluggish. Physical activity energizes the body and combats stress. It also helps pass the endless hours and gives your kids something to do that doesn’t involve a screen. This is a perfect time to get your kids moving, but make sure it’s something they enjoy so they will stay engaged. Consider making a list of activities they can do to get moving and then let them choose something each day from the list that they can do for 30-60 minutes. Don’t forget to join in -- they’re watching and we model with our actions more than our words!

Create Mental Stimulation

Have you ever had a teacher who bored you to tears? If you’re not interested in the subject matter, then chances are your children won’t respond well either.  You don’t have to be an expert to help your kids learn, but you do need to have a positive attitude about the process to keep them engaged.

Encourage Creativity

Everyone needs creative outlets that will stimulate the right side of the brain.  Schedule fun and sparks of joy throughout the day; playtime with the pets; design a new piece of lego art; have a digital playdate with your child’s bestie; stare at a hummingbird feeder. Albert Einstein thought of E=mc2 while he was daydreaming and watching clouds…not when he was in science class. Use this time to help your kids discover world music or play around on an instrument. Enjoy!!!

Eat Good Food!

For centuries, the French have taught their kids to love all kinds of foods without waiting for their children to veto textures, colors and tastes. They have elevated gastronomy to an art form and maybe this is your chance to get your kids to finally try beets, sushi or cauliflower pizza.  Serve new and good food with intention and explain what they are. This might sound crazy, but take them on a digital trip visiting McDonald’s restaurants around the world. That chain is ubiquitous and it might expand their minds and help them expand their palates.

Make Time for REST

Here’s your revenge from kindergarten…NAPS FOR EVERYONE! And why not? Rest means recovery and rejuvenation and gets us ready for the next task. A 30-minute nap helps clear the mind, allows the body to relax and makes you feel great. Never underestimate the power of a nap.

In addition to the six suggestions to keep sanity within your four walls, here are some really great links to help keep kids occupied and on track with learning you establish your new normal.

Resources for Keeping Kids Occupied & Learning at Home

If you are experiencing financial difficulty and are looking for a solution, CESI is here to help. Our counselors are available to assist if you are experiencing job loss, temporary loss of income or financial hardship during this time. Contact us today for a free financial assessment with one of our certified credit counselors.


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