For the first time, we’re dealing with something new: Schools are closing during the academic year and families are staying in their homes.
Yet, the current circumstances present an opportunity that many of us welcome: This is a great time to spend more time with your family. At the same time, this means you may have to restructure your daily routine to accommodate your kids’ education and needs.
The best thing you can do if you’re in this situation is to embrace these changes, and take advantage of available resources. Luckily, there are loads of free and affordable e-learning programs for your kids, as well as remote work opportunities to help you supplement your income.
To help you out, we’ve put together this list of 22 tips for families during school closures. Take a look.
Getting Prepared and Adapting to New Changes 💪🏼
1. Create a Productive Schedule
Life has thrown us a curveball, so the best thing you can do is adapt to the changes by creating a productive daily schedule.
It’s important to plan out what you’ll do each day and how you’ll keep your kids occupied.
Some good tips: Decide what time you want to wake up, plan a morning routine, and make sure you work in time for your remote job if this is something you’re doing. Also, leave time to work on creative projects and build in some self-care.
2. Prepare to Pick Up Meals for Your Kids
If schools in your area are closed, you may be concerned about your children missing out on their meals. Yet, per the USDA, “all Food and Nutrition Programs have flexibilities and contingencies built-in to allow them to respond to on-the-ground realities in the event of a disaster or emergency situation.”
In fact, in many states, the USDA is continuing meal service while schools are closed. To see if this option is available to you, find information on your school district here and then reach out to your school.
Here are some additional resources to find out about free meals for your kids during school closures:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Special Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
- National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs
3. Plan Out Your Meals
Don’t forget to plan your meals and get creative in the event that you can’t find ingredients you need or want right away. Use Eat By Date as a free resource to help you determine the shelf life of certain types of food and produce.
Also, remember that you can freeze certain things like milk, fresh cut fruit, and even whole cooked meals for future use. You can also use foods from your pantry for snacks and meals.
4. Look for Ways to Save Money
While you’re home, this is a great time to review your budget and identify areas where you can save money. For example, you may not be spending much on entertainment, dining out, and gas over these next few weeks. So, consider funneling the money you budgeted for these expenses into your savings account instead.
Free and Affordable E-Learning Resources For Kids 🎓
5. Get Your Learning On
Kids can work on activities for subjects including grammar and language, math, reading comprehension, and more. There are even enrichment courses to explore like computer programming and health classes.
6. Free E-learning Resources
Education.com is a great e-learning resource for families during school closures. This site offers free printable worksheets and lesson plans for students from preschool through 5th grade.
7. Scholastic Activities
Scholastic.com has put together free lessons and activities for kids who are staying home while schools are closed. Just head over here and click on your child’s grade to get access to the interactive activities.
8. Get Hooked on Phonics
This popular reading program is offering $1 sign-ups for the first month for new accounts. If you’ve never tried Hooked on Phonics before, this is a great time to check out their programs and encourage your child to practice reading.
9. Free Trial Learning Platform
ABC Mouse is a reading, math, science and art learning platform for kids ages two through eight. Right now, they are offering a 30-day free trial along with a $9.99 subscription afterward.
10. Free Educational Bundles
The company Have Fun Teaching is currently offering free coronavirus relief kits for kids in preschool through 5th grade. Each educational bundle includes worksheets, activities, songs, and videos for subjects like writing, phonics, science, math, reading, English and social studies.
11. Typing Activities
If you have a separate computer or laptop at home, create a free Typing Club account for your kids so they can work on their typing skills. Typing Club provides fun and interactive lessons and games allowing your child to complete tasks to get to the next ‘level’ of learning.
12. Learn a New Language
Now is a good time to help your kids learn a new language online. Duolingo teaches a variety of languages in a fun and interactive way. When you sign up for a free account, you can decide how much time you want to spend learning and working on activities. Adults can also use Duolingo to learn a new language.
Remote Work Ideas for Parents 👨💻👩🏽💻
13. Teach Kids Classes Online
Looking to start working remotely either to supplement income or earn some extra money at this time?
Here are a couple ideas. For starters, VIPKid pays $18 – $22 per hour to teach English to students online. You work flexible hours and set your own schedule. And, if you have a skill or talent, you can also offer your own classes online using Zoom or another online delivery platform.
One more idea: Use this time to learn a new skill and parlay that into classes you can teach online now, and then in real life when schools and businesses reopen. For example, you can learn to teach kids yoga by taking the online kids yoga teacher training course at Pretzel Kids yoga. Or, you can become a personal trainer from home via a fitness organization like the National Association of Sports Medicine.
14. Review Websites
Did you know that sites like UserTesting and UserFeel will pay you to test websites? All you need is a computer webcam and a solid Internet connection. Just record your first impressions and what you think about the look and feel of each website you review. You can expect to get paid $10 per 20-minute review.
15. Get a Remote Job Doing Translation Work
This is an optimal time to look for remote opportunities. And, many companies are hiring. For example, the AI company Appen is hiring part-time and full-time workers to do translation and transcription jobs.
16. Seek Opportunities in Data Entry
These opportunities abound as well. For instance, Axion Data Services is hiring remote data entry workers. They do have some requirements, so be sure to read more about the position here.
17. Become a Proofreader
Proofreading Pal is hiring proofreaders to review resumes, student essays, book manuscripts, and more. Proofreaders typically earn between $500 to $3,000 per month. You can learn more about the position and apply here.
18. Customer Service
The customer service industry is always hiring remote workers – even now. Here’s a helpful guide on finding remote customer service jobs.
Additional Resources 💻
19. Childcare Resources
Some cities are already providing emergency childcare for families who are unable to stay home with their kids during this time. For starters, you can contact Child Care Aware of America and ask about local childcare.
20. Google Classroom
Google Classroom helps teachers and students organize their assignments, collaborate on different lessons, and communicate more clearly in a virtual setting. You may want to ask your child’s teachers if they can use this resource so your kids can stay on track with their education while at home.
21. Mental Health Apps
It’s crucial that everyone prioritize their mental health during this time. Psychologists recommend talking about the pandemic together as a family, tuning into reputable news and health sources for updates, and indulging in indoor activities that bring you joy.
You can also try out some mental health and meditation apps like these:
22. Staying Connected Online
Socializing and staying connected is important during these times. Consider using free sites like Zoom and Skype to have video chats with your friends and loved ones. You can even start a book club or review films to keep the social interaction going.
With so much happening, keep this in mind: Your family life doesn’t have to suffer. Use the 22 tips here to make some changes while keeping your daily life on a routine.
And, reach out to friends, family and colleagues if you need someone to talk to. One final suggestion: Have patience with your kids and use this time to bond as a family. 💚