Family sitting in a living room together.

Help Kids Stay Occupied and Happy During the COVID-19 Crisis

by Screen Time Team on 01/04/2020

The COVID-19 crisis has put parents in an unexpected position; they’re now at home, all the time, and so are their children, as schools are closed and workplaces order employees to work from home or simply not come in. How can parents keep their kids from losing it, while keeping it together themselves?

Be Fair To Yourself

Many parents are feeling the pressure to be super-parent, to both be at work on time, showered and ready to go, and to be the greatest parent possible at all times. But nobody can be a super-parent all the time, and there are going to be moments where you have to tell the kids turn on the TV for an hour or play a game while you handle something else. Give yourself permission to be human and make mistakes.

Use Teamwork

Part of making all this work is teamwork. Look at your current chore and work schedule and figure out who needs to handle what. Older kids can reasonably be expected to wash dishes, vacuum, prep food, and so on, while younger kids can help out in other ways. Everybody in the family should make clear what they most need from each other to get through the current situation, and who’s expected to give what.

Stick to Schedules

While there may not be classrooms or after-school activities to go to, that doesn’t mean you should just get up whenever and go to bed when you’re tired. Work on sticking to schedules across your whole family, including wake-up times, bedtimes, chores, and other requirements. 

This will both help you make time in your day for other tasks, and give kids a sense of normalcy; they may not be leaving the house as much, but they know where they need to be at what time. Leaving the schedule on a parental control app in place can be particularly helpful with this.

Family playing a game together.

Design New Screen Time Rules

Many school districts are developing online education courses or other tools in an attempt to prevent the “summer slide,” where an extended period of time away from school chips away at kids’ skills. Develop rules for screens that can accommodate these, or shift time away from other screens for school, and place an emphasis on skills and activities that can help at school.

This is also true for socialization. The unexpected upside of social media like TikTok and the widespread use of phones is that it’s easier than ever to stay in touch with friends and family. Work out rules that allow kids to stay in touch with friends.

You Can Go Outside

While you should check local ordinances and alerts, in most cases, you can in fact go outside under a stay-at-home order. The goal of these orders is to avoid gatherings of ten or more people in close quarters, so solo recreation, or just going out in your backyard, is allowed. Simply be sure to follow social distancing rules.

There are going to be frustrations and unexpected problems along the way; this is a unique situation we’ve never faced in our lifetimes. But we have the tools to get through it safely, while not compromising on our parenting. To learn how we can help, try Screen Time for free!

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