Fact: Things are tough for everybody right now. But parents face the unique challenge of trying to keep both themselves and their kids happy, healthy and otherwise sane. And while The Beatles may have gotten by with a little help from their friends, parents need a lot more assistance than that if they’re going to survive quarantine with children in tow. That’s why we tapped three moms—with ten kids between them—for their must-have items while social distancing.
3 Moms. 10 Kids. 6 Items They Can’t Live without While Quarantining
1. An Instant Pot
“Since we’re now eating breakfast, lunch and dinner at home, I’ve been doing more cooking than ever,” Los Angeles-based mom of three Sarah tells us. “But with all of the kids wanting my attention, I don’t have a ton of time to be slaving over meals. My Instant Pot has been my lifeline for creating delicious meals that don’t take up too much of my time or energy. We’ve loved making our own oatmeal in the morning, finding new ways to cook chicken and even a quick spaghetti and meatball recipe that the kids are obsessed with. I’d recommend investing in one that automatically sets to sealing on its own so you have one less thing to think about,” she adds.
2. The Melissa & Doug Wooden Magnetic Matching Picture Game
“I have four kids ages 12, 10, 7 and 3,” Dallas mom Rachel tells us. “Most days, it’s easy to engage the school-aged kids because of homework, but one way we’ve kept our sanity with the 3-year-old is with this magnet board that comes with 119 pieces. She spends so much time creating different scenes and matching up different people. She totally loves it...and I love getting a much-needed break.”
3. Cozi Family Organizer
With three kids, two adults and one dog to keep tabs on, Maryland-based mom Nicole relies on free online family calendar Cozi. “It’s been a total lifesaver for us right now in order to keep track of our work meetings, the kids’ Zoom classes and our ongoing shopping list (because the last thing I want to do is realize I forgot to buy something at the store and have to make another trip),” she tells us. “I can color-code each family member which means that I can easily see what’s going on in the day at a glance.” Because your life may be chaotic right now but at least your to-do list can be organized.
4. A Dual Sitter Bike Trailer
“Taking nice long family rides has been the highlight of our weekends,” says Sarah. “But since only one of our kids is able to actually ride a bike, we invested in a bike trailer for the babies and they have a blast riding in there and playing together, sometimes even getting a long nap in. This has felt like the safest way to keep our family entertained and out of the house without anyone touching anything.”
5. Pandemic Board Game
“One great thing about social distancing is that it has given us so much time together as a family,” says Rachel. “One of our favorite games right now (that we’re playing for obvious reasons) is the game Pandemic! It’s entertainment for the whole family and has also helped our kids understand better what is going on around the world in a fun way.”
6. One-step Tie-dye Kit
“I bought this kit from Michael’s along with some white Gildan shirts, and it’s been one of our favorite things we’ve done during quarantine,” Rachel tells us. “With a family of six, I didn’t want to buy a ton of individual kits, so this party pack was perfect. The kit includes everything you need to create your own tie-dye masterpieces, and we even had enough colors left over for next time. And as an extra bonus, we now all have a shirt as a memory from this crazy time!”
7. And One More Thing Just For Mom...
“I’m obsessed with the Libby app. All this time I’ve been ordering books from Amazon and paying for audiobooks. Turns out you can get an e-card to your library and that allows you to access e-books and audiobooks for free straight from the app,” says Sarah. “I’ve been listening to books while I take a walk or clean up around the house. Since my kids have a monopoly on our TV, this is my way of having some downtime and entertainment for myself.”