If you’re like a lot of milspouse entrepreneurs and professionals, you were working from home long before COVID. If you live someplace where the schools are open, you may feel like you finally got back to normal–just in time for summer break.
So it’s back to trying to take phone calls, have meetings, and just concentrate on the task at hand while trying to avoid feeling guilty about putting your kids in front of a screen. At least when kids are doing remote school, you know there’s something educational happening on the screen.
That’s why we put together a list of ways to keep your kids occupied, to prevent the “summer slide,” and oh, yeah, actually getting your work done!
Here are some screen time alternatives that might help alleviate some of the working “parent guilt” that can come with using the tablet or laptop as a babysitter!
Beat the summer slide with online classes. You don’t have to feel bad about screen time, because your kids will be learning about subjects that interest them or keeping academic skills sharp!
With Outschool, parents subscribe to classes with teachers in almost every possible subject area, from languages, to music and art, and more! Customize your search based on your children’s interests, class size, age, as well as price ranges and available dates.
Kahn Academy is another online personalized learning option to boost kids’ academic skills and hone their interests. However, Kahn Academy is free. Specify by grade and subject to match your child with just the right class for them!
National Geographic Kids
National Geographic Kids has tons of games, videos, and articles on a variety of subjects for your kids to explore!
You’ve heard of “slow food” and “slow TV.” What about slow fun? Here are some old school, screen-free alternatives that can keep the kids busy while you knock out some work!
Your Library’s Summer Reading Program
Find out if your local library has a summer reading program where kids can log their hours, pages, or the number of books they’ve read. Think of the sense of satisfaction you get when your fitness tracker congratulates you for getting in all your steps for the day!
Younger kids especially will love meeting their goals and going to the library to earn prizes.
Finer Things Club
Remember the episode of The Office when Pam, Oscar, and Toby have a regular lunch meeting to discuss books, art, and culture?
Older kids might enjoy picking a particular country, book, or art style, then having a special meal or party to celebrate what they’ve learned. There’s definitely a sense of accomplishment that comes with sharing new information, as well as putting together an event.
Encourage them to spend a week or two researching their chosen topic and then planning a family lunch, dinner, or party!
Don’t Let Your Parent Guilt Get to You
At the end of the day, the best tip for working from home with the kids home is simply not to feel guilty. Comedian Jennifer Fulwiler has a video pointing out that until recently, all parents were working parents, and the idea of uninterrupted, unfettered parent-child quality time was just…not a thing.
Moms and dads used to be able to rely on villages and traditional communities to help with child care while they did the important work of surviving and simply keeping their families alive.
The fact that you’re reading this article and you’re worried about doing the right thing for your kids says you’re probably doing alright. At the end of the day, your kids will have had a good time watching movies or playing video games, and without even trying, you’ll be creating lifelong memories for them of mom or dad working hard to pursue their dreams and provide for their family.