5 Tips for Keeping Your Kids Busy When Schools Are Closed

When schools are unexpectedly closed, parents take on the new responsibility of managing their kids during the school day, which includes keeping them entertained and making sure they continue to receive an education even when they don’t have access to a classroom.

For families taking on these new roles and responsibilities, the transition to homeschooling can be overwhelming—especially when you don’t have a plan for how to manage daily life. To help our customers overcome these challenges, we’ve put together some basic tips to help you organize your home life, keep kids entertained, and provide them with a quality education even when daily life has been turned upside down.

Here are five things you can do right now to keep kids busy and happy while at home.

1. Create a schedule for the day.

Children are used to having a routine at school, so establishing one at home makes sense, too. For parents, this can also make the day much more manageable, especially when juggling work and other tasks.

Try to create a schedule that works for them and accounts for the various obligations and tasks they need to address. But a good general template for the day may look like this:

  • 7:30-8 a.m.: Breakfast
  • 8-10 a.m.: Unstructured play time indoors
  • 10 a.m.-Noon: Schoolwork/crafts/art/other projects
  • Noon-12:30 p.m.: Lunch
  • 12:30-3 p.m.: More schoolwork/reading/quiet time/naps
  • 3 p.m.-Dinner: Play time outside (or inside if the weather is bad)

Depending on your household’s needs, you may decide to adjust this schedule. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s a schedule that offers the structure you need to make the most of each day.

2. Allow kids to work and learn at their own pace. 

If your home has multiple children at different ages, they may not all be able to engage in the same projects or lessons. 

Although it’s useful to have everyone operating on the same schedule, some children may require their own approach to working and learning. While older kids are studying from textbooks or doing homework, for example, young children may need to be given time for art projects, reading, or even dancing and playing.

Allow children to operate and learn at their own pace, and give them flexibility within the daily schedule to engage in the activities that offer the most enrichment given their age and learning level.

3. Play educational games that teach them financial literacy.

Games can be both fun and educational. Whether you’re using mobile apps on phones and tablets or educational games on computers, consider using these forms of entertainment to continue educating children through fun activities and experiences.

Banzai is a fun resource that offers free financial education games for your children to play and develop money management skills. Three different games are offered depending on your child’s age, so you can let them play a game that corresponds to their level of education. With Banzai Junior, for example, kids play as a character trying to save up their allowance, running a lemonade stand and using other money sources to reach savings goals within the game.

More advanced games are available to teenagers and even college students, helping you impart important life lessons to your children through video game experiences that will keep them busy.

4. Don’t take your schedule too seriously.

Schedules offer the structure many parents and their children need to stay organized throughout the day. But these schedules are part of an effort to bring order to an unfamiliar experience—and it’s okay if that daily schedule doesn’t always meet your needs.

As you juggle working, preparing meals, and meeting other demands, there may be days when you aren’t able to maintain the homeschool environment to the degree that you prefer. Instead of getting upset with yourself, give yourself permission to fall short of these expectations from time to time. Getting demoralized doesn’t do anyone any good. Cut yourself a break and keep moving forward.

5. Take everything one day at a time.

If the prospect of long periods of school closures is overwhelming, the best thing you can do is focus on day-to-day living. Don’t measure time in months or weeks. Instead, focus on doing the best you can with each day.

School closings create additional pressures on parents as well as their children, but those pressures can be relieved through creative thinking and a little extra structure to the day. This lifestyle comes with challenges that are impossible to ignore, but it also offers an opportunity to create new experiences for your children. Think outside of the box and rely on free, online resources to help you manage this uncertain situation until daily life returns to normal.

Browse our library of interactive financial literacy games for kids.

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