School is canceled and so are the events you planned to attend. The kids are restless and probably a little sad missing their friends and routines. You’ve been trying to juggle working from home, helping the kids keep up with their studies, child care and your own worries about the coronavirus, not to mention when you are ever going to find toilet paper on the store shelves. Date night and self-care aren’t even on your radar.
We are right there with you. So, we’ve rounded up some ideas to help you through this ‘new normal’ until life gets back on track again. When will that be? Even the experts have been disagreeing, but we’ve got you covered until then.
If the kids get restless….
Use your ‘village’
If kids can learn online, the whole family can connect online. “Play” board games via Skype or FaceTime, set up your book club to “meet” in a chatroom or have dinner on a call with relatives across the country.
Speaking of board games
Teach your kids the classic games you loved when you were kids. Is your 5-year-old ready to learn Cat’s Cradle yet? Pull out Candy Land and let older kids change the rules to make it harder.
Bring the outdoors, indoors
For littles, don’t hesitate to bring some of the outdoor toys inside. Set up the kiddie slide in your living room (into a pile of pillows, whee!) or ride the Big Wheels in the basement, if you can.
Sweat it out
Get off the couch and just move. (That includes you, Mom and Dad!) Turn on your favorite jam and have a dance party or get your blood pumping by exercising.
– Cheryl Eugenio
If the kids need a screen break …
Podcasts are a great option. They can be enjoyed in the car, while doing chores and as a family before bed.
Animal Sound Safari
Discover the weird and wacky histories humans have with animals, as each episode of Animal Sound Safari is jam-packed with cool stories, kooky facts and “pawsome” puns.
Designed to soothe kids to sleep, mindfulness coach Amy Taylor Kabbaz guides kids on wonderful, imaginative journeys to magical places, visiting animals with super powers, and meeting up with some very friendly dinosaurs.
But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids
Are your kids constantly asking you questions that you struggle to answer? Tune into this NPR podcast that tackles topics large and small about the world around us.
How do you make your childhood dreams a reality? Join 7-year-old Eva Karpman and her mom Olga as they interview world-class performers about how they made their dreams come true.
Smash, Boom, Best
This is a debate show for kids and families. Every episode takes two cool things, smashes them together and lets you decide which is best.
– Lori Orlinsky
If the kids are begging for a play date …
With these virtual play date apps, have kids play board games, taking turns virtually on the board, read to each other from the same book, create art together (each creates half a picture and put it together on screen when done) or have a scavenger hunt around each child’s house.
This video-calling app immediately offered free, unlimited access as schools began shutting down. Kids can read books from the 1,000-plus titles together, play games and color during a video call.
This app allows kids 6-12 to video chat and message friends and family, with challenges, drawings and filters. Plus, they can use it to collaborate on homework with a study group or talk about group projects.
Just like the game Marco Polo, with your kids calling out Marco to see who will answer “Polo,” kids can reach out to friends and family with this video chat app easily.
Your older kids can still hang out with their friends virtually (without the need of social media apps). Netflix Party is a great option. Download the Google Chrome extension for free and they can watch their favorite movies and shows at the same time no matter the distance. It also has group chat window to let you message each other.
– Tamara L. O’Shaughnessy
If you are tired of cooking dinner …
Most local food establishments are still available for families not wanting to cook or wanting to keep their money local. Here are a few food delivery services that will bring it right to you.
In addition to local, independent businesses, DoorDash also delivers from chain and fast food restaurants. There is a $0 delivery fee on the first order for new customers.
Enter your address and GrubHub or Seamless will find restaurants close to you for delivery. Some restaurants have a minimum purchase requirement for delivery.
Order for pickup or delivery from Postmates, including 7-Eleven, Walgreens and non-traditional restaurants. Delivery fees vary by location, but using a code SAVE100 will allow new customers free delivery for their first $100 in fees.
Just like Uber car service will pick you up, Uber Eats will pick up your food and bring it to you. Watch for deals on the app, like $0 fees from some restaurants or money back for spending over a threshold amount (i.e. $3 back if you spend $15).
Direct from Restaurant
If you want to know what’s open in your area, find a restaurant close to you on a new website, Dining at a Distance, created during the pandemic for restaurants to advertise their options. You can also check a restaurant’s social media for daily specials and deals.
– Hillary Bird
Looking for even more coronavirus help including homeschooling tips, digital events and activity ideas? Visit our COVID-19 help page.