So, you’re stuck at home with your kids during a national emergency. You can’t go to the movies or to your favorite park or out to eat. So, what do you do with the hours that tick by? Here are some ideas that will help keep you sane during this stressful and uncertain time.
1. Get reading
This would be a great time to dust off the books you’ve been meaning to read for months (or years). Pile onto your bed or the couch with the kids and have them read their own books. Right now you can get two months of Kindle Unlimited for free. So, even if you don’t have the books on hand, you can download them. Or you can listen to principals and administrators from the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association read books out loud on Facebook!
2. Pray or meditate
Take a few minutes every day to center yourself before you take on the day. You can include your children if you’d like, but make sure you take a moment to pray or meditate to find a sense of peace. It will not only help you take on the tasks you have to accomplish, but it will help ease your children’s stress as well.
3. Spend time outdoors
You don’t have to be around people to be outdoors. Take a walk in your neighborhood (as long as you are keeping a safe distance), sit outside on the porch with a glass of tea, go for a family bike ride, or drive around and find an open field or less populated area to throw the Frisbee or play catch.
4. Game night (or day)
Put away the electronics and pull out your neglected collection of board games. If your kids have gotten too old for the games you have, try making up new rules that will challenge every player.
5. Keep a normal schedule
While there’s a strong temptation to let your kids run amok for the next two to however many weeks, it is best for their psychological well-being (and yours) that they follow a predictable schedule. This is especially helpful for those who will begin doing school work remotely.
6. Take advantage of online resources
Right now, you can get an ABC Mouse subscription for free for a month. This is suitable for toddlers up to second grade. And if you’re looking for opportunities for older children, here is a giant list of websites that are offering free or reduced activities and printables.
7. Be silly with your kids
Even if you can’t control the situation, you can control how you react. So, why not let your guard down and be silly with your kids. Play “The Floor is Lava” or “Hide and Seek” or tag. Your kids will remember the fun.
8. Make pantry meals
We all have foods in the pantry that we skip over when we’re meal planning. Challenge yourself (with your kids’ help) to use what you have on hand to make a delicious meal or treat. Your kids will love helping you search for new recipes and create something new.
9. Keep a journal
This is an unprecedented time in our world history. Take some time to write down what’s going on in your home and how you’re dealing with it. Have your kids do this as well, or draw a picture if they are too young to write. This will not only help to document their time in “quarantine,” but it will also allow them to process the complicated feelings that come with living through a national emergency.
10. Have a movie marathon
What better time to start a triology or series than when you have hours and days at home? You can start something new or watch a family favorite. Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Disney+ offer hundreds of possibilities.
11. Come up with challenges
Challenges are all the rage with the YouTube generation, and what better way to wile away the time than by challenging your children to do silly things that will distract them from their current situation? You can do something like the twin telepathy challenge where two people try to guess what the other will pick or the three marker challenge where you have to color an entire picture with three colored markers you pick at random.
12. Take a virtual tour
National parks, zoos and museums are offering tours and glimpses into their locations for free online. And if you want to keep up with your local favorites at the Cameron Park Zoo, you can check out their Facebook page to see daily videos, keeper talks and animal facts that will keep your kids entertained.
If you’re stuck at home, you might as well make the environment as livable as possible. Make a list of chores that need to be completed and give yourself or your children a reward for accomplishing them.
14. Limit social media and news coverage
While it is necessary to stay informed, don’t be constantly yoked to your phone or television. This will not only perpetuate the sense of uncertainty and anxiety you might be feeling, but it might also put undue stress on your children as well.
15. Face Time with family
Whether your extended family lives near or far, you’re probably avoiding close contact at this point. So, set up a time to Face Time. This will not only allow you to check on relatives you don’t see every day, but it will give you a sense of community in a time when you feel isolated.
Beachbody and other companies are offering free online workout sessions. Take advantage of these opportunities and get your kids moving, too. There are tons of free videos on YouTube for kids that will get them dancing, jumping and away from electronics.Back To Top
Jessa is the Editor-in-Chief of Hooray for Family and the mom of three energetic children. She has a BA in Mass Communication/Journalism from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and is a long-time resident of Central Texas. When she isn't writing and editing, she enjoys playing board games with her kids, teaching Sunday school and channeling her creativity into craft projects.