For as long as I've been a mom, I've been a working mom. A working mom that puts in well over 40 hours a week.
And then covid-19 hit.
Now, like so many moms around the world, I have been trying to balance my full-time work life with my newfound stay-at-home life. My kids are eight and eleven, so that also turned me into a 2nd and 5th grade teacher. While I was incredibly happy to retire my teacher life come summer, I also realized that my kids no longer had school to keep them busy and (somewhat) occupied. Without school, I was worried my girls would get sucked into too much screen time, and being distracted with work and nonstop conference calls, I would be less inclined to correct it in the moment. I know myself well, and sometimes it's easier to let screen-time slide if I have tasks or calls that need to get done without some sort of fight.
I decided the best option was to give the girls a schedule with things I wanted them to do each day. When those items were complete, or if they were doing well and wanted a break, they could watch TV/videos, FaceTime with friends or play video/computer/phone games.
If you're like me, and could benefit from this type of schedule, here are some ideas for tasks I've come up with over the weeks:
Chores - one less thing you need to do? TOTAL WIN (I will post more on this in a future blog post because I've tried many chore systems, but finally discovered one that seems to work the best)
Learn to type - Typing.com offers free lessons
Learn a new language of their choice (or yours) - Not free, but we use Babbel
Creativity time - crafts, art, lego's, etc.
Math - you can find free resources and flash cards online for just about any math subject
Word puzzles - crosswords, word search, etc.
Outdoor play time a. Backyard scavenger hunt b. Sports c. Pool - in ground, upper ground, a puddle, really... whatever works d. And so many more.....
Sibling Challenge (more on this below)
In our family, we call it the sister challenge, because, well.... we have two girls. But, with me being the only daughter of three kids, I am trying to be inclusive here with the "sibling challenge" name. This challenge started off, well, challenging. Lots of fighting, lots of parent intervention needed, etc. Almost a month in and the girls are starting to get the hang of it. Here's how it works...
Each week, they have a challenge they have to work on. They need to work on the challenge each day... for an hour, for 30 minutes, whatever is needed, but they have to do it together as a team to complete the goal by the end of the week. The process teaches them teamwork, problem solving, and most importantly, they learn to complete a task without the assistance of a parent. Here are some examples of challenges we've done, or are planning to do....
Complete a large puzzle (300 or more pieces)
Cook - Pick a recipe, review ingredients and make a shopping list based on what is or is not already in the pantry/fridge, decide how you will present your meal and prep anything needed for presentation, make your recipe (we use this cookbook for kids)
Create a Game - Make all the pieces, write out the rules, test it, re-work if needed, and then play the game with your family
New Dog Trick - Watch dog trick/training videos on YouTube, pick a new trick and train your dog, present the new trick to your parents
Make a Movie - Write a movie script, shoot the movie, edit your movie, present it to your parents with a special movie premiere (may take more than one week)
Make a Newspaper - Pick three or four articles you would like to write (interviews, informative, sports, etc), write your articles, take corresponding pictures, put it together, print and share with your parents
Create a Craft - Come up with the idea, sketch it out, make it, write out or make a video with directions, re-make the craft with your parents
Put on a Play - Write a script, put together costumes, props and set, rehearse, and perform for your parents (may take more than one week)
Create a New Sport - Come up with the idea, write out the rules, get together all items/equipment needed, practice, re-work if necessary, play with your parents
Create a business - Come up with an idea, create a business plan, re-work it if necessary, and present it to the Parent Shark Tank
Family Idol - Pick a song you can both sing/perform together, practice, pick costumes and perform to your Parent Judges
Create a Covid-19 Time Capsule:
Have any other ideas for fun schedule tasks or sibling challenges? I would love to hear them in the comments below!
Cover Image Photo by Rene Bernal on Unsplash