Yes—spending extra time with your kids is a silver lining of the pandemic. But doing so while juggling work, home school, household upkeep and everything else in your life doesn’t really make it feel like one. So here, we’ve put together a few simple (but effective!) hacks for parents to help cut down on some of those everyday stressors right now.
6 Easy Quarantine Hacks for Parents, Guaranteed to Make Your Lives More Manageable Right Now
1. Put Out A Large Bowl Full Of Pre-approved Snacks
For the sake of their health (and your sanity), pick out several nutritious snacks—say, popcorn, granola bars, and dried fruit—and assemble them all into one big bowl. Place it on the countertop and let the kids know that if they’re hungry between meals, they’re free to grab whatever they want from the selection, but they’re not to bug mom to make a snack for the umpteenth time or dig through the pantry for cookies.
2. Get Your Paypal Wallet Squared Away
Thank goodness for online shopping, right? Only, what the heck is your credit card number, and where on Earth is your wallet? That’s where PayPal becomes a game changer: Since your shipping and billing information is already stored in your PayPal wallet, you can check out quickly across millions (no seriously, millions) of retailers without scrambling to find your card. You can even enable faster PayPal checkout on your device, which lets you skip entering your login info so you don’t ever miss a beat. And if you, like the rest of us, need to be extra budget conscious right now, know that if you’re approved for PayPal Credit, you can enjoy no interest if paid in full in six months on purchases of $99 or more. (Interest will be charged to your account from the purchase date if the balance is not paid in full within six months. Minimum monthly payments required. Subject to credit approval. See terms.)
3. Enlist Relatives For Story Time
Being apart from family when you could use their help the most is tough—but please, use the internet to your advantage. Get grandparents, older cousins and friends without little kids to hop on a video chat and read a book to your kids. Do this two or three times a week, each time with a different person—or whatever you can reasonably get your loved ones to commit to—and that’s two or three hours you get back to yourself.
4. Set Up A Netflix Date With Their Friends
Call her best friends mom, set up a time for the kids to watch a show together, and surprise her with an a few episode of Super Monsters. All you have to do is install the Scener extension to your Chrome browser, park her in front of a tablet, and the kids will be able to see and hear each other while watching Netflix in sync. It’s basically the 2020 version of a playdate. Cool, right? Just think of all the things you’ll get done while she’s distracted with friends and TV. No shame.
5. Create An Obstacle Course In The Backyard
Who says the 2020 Olympics are cancelled? By investing in a few backyard toys and games, hanging onto large boxes and getting a little creative, setting up an obstacle course (and making them help!) is one parenting hack that ticks all your boxes: It tires them out, gets them outside in the sunshine and promotes a little healthy exercise. Psst, do it along with them if you need a little exercise of your own, or kick back in a lawn chair with a cold one and “judge.” Whatever it is you need in that moment.
6. Loosen Up On Rules…but Make Them Earn It
Instead of enforcing all of the old rules (in bed by 8 p.m., no video games after dinner), consider easing up—this situation is tough on everyone, after all. But before you say “yes” to extended hours, ask them what they’ve done to contribute to the household that day. If they haven’t lent a helping hand cleaning dishes, putting away toys or folding their own clothes, the answer should be “no” until they do. You can even take it a step further and set up a white board outlining what needs to be done each day to really streamline your task list.