Survival Tips (From You!) On Making It Work With Kids At Home All Day

By Camille Styles
Healthy kids school lunch

“The days are long, but the years are short.”

I don’t think this quote has ever rung quite so true as during these quarantined days during the coronavirus pandemic. After a bumpy start in which Adam and I trying to balance full work-at-home days while being rockstar stay-at-home parents (hint: it’s not possible), we’re finally settling into a groove. It’s not perfect, but we’re managing to fit some work, some play, a little creativity, and quite a few laughs into most of our days.

The other night on Instagram, I asked for your tips on making it work with kids at home all day, and as usual, I was blown away by your insightful, creative, and funny responses. I wanted to gather them all in one post so we can refer back when we need ideas, inspiration, or a reminder that we’re in this together. One of my biggest takeaways from compiling this list? The idea of “perfect” does not exist — we’re all figuring it out as we go along and all we can do is our best.

If you didn’t get a chance to share your tips on that post, feel free to drop them in the comments right here! Here was the original post on Instagram:

And here are some of my favorite ideas that you guys shared in the comments:

  • We rearranged my kids’ rooms today. Changing up their environment with a fresh layout made playing much more interesting for them! – @megruiz_
  • Sending all three kids to run around the block when the house gets cray… the past couple days, that’s several times daily. ?I think they actually like it?!! – @craycraycampbell
  • First thing: bought a whiteboard. Organizing daily tasks and having my 7-year-old mark them off so I could still manage to get through my calls and work. – @_alisha.nicole_

  • Yoga as a family! Found a 14 session Amazon series. Also lots of walks and daily art and music. We start “school” next week. We’ll have a schedule with fun breaks and our own set work spaces, but we’ll mix in art, music, and fitness so we don’t lose our minds. – @imstillplayingdressup

6 fun yoga moves to do with your kids

  • A friend told me… “Quarantine rules are the same as airplane rules. Have a cocktail at 9am if you want to.” – @ashleybulte
  • Currently bouncing a toy back & forth while I work on my computer with one hand. ?- @hannah.zahner
  • Took one of my favorite yoga teacher’s live stream class today! Kept me sane!!! – @annahansen2
  • We got takeout from Foreign and Domestic… so good, no dishes, and supporting local Austin restaurants! [email protected]
  • Daily/twice daily walks are sustaining us! Today sidewalk chalk + rocks = Easter Eggs! – @chermilan

  • We did a 4-mile hike. Got kids through it by packing candy (which I don’t usually do), but desperate times! ?- @lizbbullock
  • I’ve tried hard to stop worrying and shifted my mind to focus on the fact that it’s a very rare occurrence that we have this much time at home with the people we love the most. Lots of ups and downs emotionally for this mom, but I keep reminding myself to practice gratitude and find the silver lining. And remembering to keep those that are far worse off in my thoughts. We will all get through this together and come out stronger. – @kutz2murphy
  • We’re having a Corona Olympics at our house. Our girls (10 and 14) have a list of 30 activities to choose from. Some are physical (e.g., 25 burpees / day), some are metal (e.g., take a virtual tour of a museum), others are kindness related (e.g., cook a meal for the family.) You take a Bronze when you do 15 out of 30. Silver is when you’ve done 20. Doing 25 out of 30 wins you a Gold. – @melindawilliamsco
  • Yes to time blocking! And then some grace (and some sweets) on the days when it all goes to hell. 😉 – @tiniepopper

travel with young kids, travel hacks, summer vacation travel tips

  • What has worked well for us this week is blocking off the entire morning after breakfast for outdoor play/walks/bike rides, then lunch, then movie (we’re working our way through all of Star Wars) then art or baking or reading, then early dinner, and bedtime. Nothing fancy but so far, so good. – @muffinmoorman
  • Morning and end of afternoon tv times are both allowed, but they must pick up all their toys before the 4 o’clock afternoon session. In between is playtime and bounce all over the house and yard, changing it up during the struggles. – @bootsforbreakfast
  • We are making homemade play doh, baking, painting, and mandatory naps. – @janeandrosemary

  • My husband and I look at our meetings/work schedules the night before and set out times where we’re each in charge of our 2-year-old. I’m also realizing she definitely understands bribery. ??- @serotonedlife
  • I just ordered a kit from Amazon that will turn our dining table into a ping pong table. Desperate measures indeed as I have to get these teens moving and off of technology. – @teresanfenner

And in case you’re looking for ideas for how to time block and structure your days at home, check out this post with ideas for working from home and/or having kids at home all day.