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Many schools across the country, regardless of when businesses begin to open their doors again, have already made the tough decision to remain closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year. Students and teachers will have to finish out the year doing remote learning and teaching. While daycare facilities have been deemed essential during the coronavirus pandemic, parents who can are opting to keep their children home while they work from home. Taking care of young children is a full-time job in itself. Keeping them entertained while you’re in meetings all day is enough to make even Mary Poppins throw in the towel. If you’re a single working parent, it may seem impossible.
Younger children, for the most part, aren’t participating in online learning as their older siblings are. Sticking children in front of a screen for hours while you work isn’t ideal, but these are difficult times, and you have to work. The good news is that many free options exist to keep kids busy while parents work. You can keep your young children entertained while teaching them a thing or two, and maybe even encourage a little exercise, too.
1. Connect with Grandparents
Use Skype, FaceTime, or Zoom to connect your child with Grandma and Grandpa. A smart TV or tablet may be best for younger kids. The grandparents can chat, read books, and maybe play a game. Not only will the grandparents appreciate time with the little ones, but they also can keep them engaged while you work.
2. Listen to a Book from Space
At Storytimefromspace.com, your child can listen to a book read by astronauts at the International Space Station. Several books and several different astronauts are available to browse. For anyone, not just for a single working parent, that is very cool!
3. Go on a Virtual Field Trip
If your child is old enough to be a little tech-savvy, and let’s face it, they’re practically born that way these days, museums and parks all over the world are offering virtual tours. Your child can view penguins, otters, and more on live webcams from the Georgia Aquarium, hang out with orangutans and elephants at the San Diego Zoo, or go on a virtual tour of Buckingham Palace, The Great Wall of China, and The Great Pyramids.
4. Learn to Draw
Art for Kids Hub is full of videos that your child can draw along with that feature uncomplicated cartoon pictures. From something as simple as a Popsicle or cupcake to something more detailed such as a monster or unicorn, these easy-to-follow videos are fun for any skill level.
5. Educational Games and Shows
At PBS.org, kids can watch their favorite shows or play a game from the treasure trove of learning games on the site or via downloadable apps. There are nearly 200 educational games available for download, so they can be played offline at any time. The PBS video app offers a subscription-free live stream of the PBS Kids 24/7 channel.
Go Noodle is used in schools to get kids moving, and it can be used at home, too. The Go Noodle website is full of short and fun videos that encourage little ones to get up and move their bodies. An app with games allows kids to interact with characters on-screen using their own body movements.
Being a single working parent is never easy, and the coronavirus pandemic only makes it more difficult. During times like this, videos, apps, and games can be your friend. If increased screen time is what it takes, make the most of it by making it fun and educational, as well as getting them off the couch. There are many free ways to keep your kids busy as a single working parent!