Our kids have been home for what seems like forever. I have days when I love it and days when I know they need to be back in school for so many reasons.
The thing that matters to my husband Dave and I when they are at home is whether they are using their free time wisely. It is so easy to let them hop on those evil devices that turn them into little Zombies who seem in a trance while on them and cranky littles when their time is up (does that give you an inclination on my thoughts around devices?). We have always had super clear boundaries around screen time which helps. But what are they to do for the 10+ hours a day they are living and breathing without a screen?
Let them PLAY
Depending on the age of your child and their experience with independent play, they may need your help to get into a play routine. Show them different things that they own that you know they enjoy playing with. I have a friend who will put a bin of legos in one room of the house, a bin of cars and trains and a third bin with toys. Then her kiddos rotate from room to room for quiet time.
Otherwise, let them play. Give them unscheduled time that is unstructured, meaning you aren’t handing them a craft and saying do this.
Games are always a fun structured activity. We love playing Would you Rather in car rides with the kids. Get your own copy here.
Let them MAKE A MESS
A known parenting trigger for me is a mess. I have to talk myself down from a fit knowing the kids will clean up their messes (with reminders of course!)
Allow them to build that fort that uses every pillow in the house, or the bottom sheets that were so neatly folded. Let them be kids.
Parenting Hack: For a fun clean up time, play MYSTERY CLEAN UP. You select an area to clean up then choose 1-2 items that in your head are the mystery toys. Whatever child puts those 1-2 items away is the winner. They can win a piece of candy or simply a big old high five!
Let them TRY NEW THINGS
Allow them to explore their interests and develop new ones! Our girls are obsessed with making mini objects for their Barbie house. They print off templates from a mother-daugther duo online then use a bunch of glue to bring the projects to life.
Talk to your friends about things their children like to play and introduce new things to your kids. For example, our kids love Perler Beads and now our neighbor friends are on this kick. Hours of fun, plus fine motor development (I call that a WIN-WIN!)
Another place to look is in your RECYCLE BIN! Yes, clean out some old egg cartons and let your children create.