How to structure your day when you are stuck at home with your kiddos. Activity ideas and schedule ideas to get through your days.
There are many times in life that you will find yourself stuck at home with your kiddos and looking for ways to keep everyone sane.
You might have a new baby and want to stay home to keep germs away and/or to establish a routine. You might have someone sick and want to prevent spreading the sickness around to others.
You might be stuck inside from weather, from winter cold to rainy days to blistering summer heat.
It might just be summer break and you are all going a little stir-crazy.
Or you might even be quarantined.
Today I am sharing ideas staying sane when the family is stuck at home.
Establish a Schedule or Routine
When we have short breaks, I am fine with having things more of a “go with the flow” situation, but when we have long breaks, we need a routine or a schedule.
Make a daily plan. You can get detailed, down to the times things will happen. You can make a simple flow, meaning you decide the things you will do and and the order you will do them in, but be flexible with the time.
You can see how I set up my summer schedule here.
You can have a list of ideas to do each day and literally pull them from a hat when needed–whatever works for you.
Many parents find themselves needing to get certain things done despite their kids being home. Parents might be working from home or have other obligations they need to attend to. Having a schedule each day allows you to get those things done while your kids are occupied.
Things To Include in Your Schedule
Many of these items will be discussed below. In your schedule or routine, include:
- Learning time/school
- Reading time
- Hygiene time (getting ready)
- Outside time and/or exercise time
- Independent time
- Free play
- Scripture study
- Instrument/sports/other practice time
- Rest or nap time
- Optional screen time
This is a sample daily schedule that can be flexible. This is something you can use to follow with activities that happen before lunch, after lunch, and after dinner.
Find Ways to Get in Exercise
Children need to move and need to blow off steam.
Find ways to get out each day if at all possible. Play in your yard or go for a walk.
Not everyone has a yard and the weather doesn’t always cooperate with being outside.
Most of the time, you can find a point in the day to work with the weather and you can usually dress appropriately for the weather.
If it is hot, plan ahead and get out early in the day before it is too hot or later in the day if it cools down.
If it is cold, wait for a warmer point in the day and bundle up.
If it is raining, put on rain gear.
Even 15 minutes can make a positive impact on your day.
If you can’t get outside, find ways to move indoors. We love to do Just Dance–it is a great way to have fun and move indoors. A mini-trampoline can help get some wiggles out. There are tons of fun kids yoga videos on YouTube. Play Simon Says and move around while you do it.
Physical movement is important for so many things, including sleep. Your kids will sleep better if they get that physical movement in each day.
Mentally Stimulate Your Children
Find ways to mentally stimulate your children. Have reading time each day. Read aloud to them.
Encourage your child to learn something new. During this current break, 12 year old Kaitlyn has decided to learn to speak Spanish. She is using the app Duolingo (Brayden has been using it for a few months learning French–both of them give it high marks).
We are fortunate to live in a day and age when we have no shortage of ideas on the internet available for doing learning time with our kids.
I have also co-authored an eBook titled Babes, Tots, and Kids that is a preschool homeschool that can be used from baby on through Kindergarten age–and we wrote it to be able to include all of your children at the same time. This book gives you a full lesson plan for each week, so you don’t even have to think about it, you just do it.
Here are some posts I have that will help you with keeping your kids challenged mentally:
- Over 51 Activities to Do At Home With Preschoolers
- 15 Things Your Child Needs to Know Before Kindergarten
- How to Do a Preschool Homeschool
- How to Make Glitter Slime that Isn’t Sticky
- How To Do a Learning Activity of the Day
- How To Improve Reading Skills with Sustained Silent Reading
Keep in mind, new skills don’t have to be academically driven. Your child can be mentally challenged by learning a new instrument or learning to cook. You might focus on a sports skill.
Have Independent Time Each Day
If you are all essentially stuck in the house together all day each day, find ways to ensure everyone gets some time alone.
I do this through rest time and independent playtime. Essentially, rest time means you go to your room, get in bed, and do something quiet there. They might read. They might sleep. They might write a story or write in a journal. They might stare at the ceiling.
We all do rest time no matter your age. Read up on how to do rest time here.
Note, if you have little ones, you have nap time instead of rest time.
Independent Playtime is when your child goes to her room and plays alone. I have all of my kids do this at the same time.
Read up on Independent Playtime here.
Have Your Kids Do Chores
Chores! Chores help with sanity.
Everyone will be a little happier if the house stays clean. You are going to need some help keeping things clean with everyone home. With everyone being home so much, there is plenty of time to make messes, but there is also plenty of time to clean up those messes.
Read up on how a chore schedule can save sanity here.
Allow Some Technology, But Not Too Much
It is easy to let kids curl up with technology and hang out there for a while. Avoid the trap of using it too much. If you do tech, have solid rules about the use.
Have a time of day when it is allowed and when it isn’t. Have a time limit. And don’t be afraid to cut it out all together! We do one week a month of no tech, and my kids are so creative during that time because they know they have to be.
Activities Ideas To Do At Home With Kids
Now for a giant list of activities to do at home with your kiddos.
- Read a book
- Read a book out loud
- Listen to audio books
- Learn a new skill
- Deep clean
- Exercise at home
- Learn a new sport or work on a new skill
- Learn how to do a new chore
- Learn to cook a new food
- Help bake
- Write letters and emails to friends and family
- Do learning activities each day
- Have school at home
- Play games
- Do science experiments at home
- Introduce your kids to your favorite music from your childhood
- Write a story
- Illustrate a story
- Write a play or musical and perform it
- Learn a new instrument
- Relay races
- Animation with playdough
- Make a music video
- Make a movie
- Facetime friends and family
- Movies, video games, and television (in moderation)
- Do a report on an animal
- Work in the yard
- Play with toys
- Imaginary games
- Learn to sew
- Shadow puppets
- Pick your favorite 20 second part of a song for hand-washing
- Make up a new game and play it
- Arts and crafts
- Face painting
- Costume design
- STEM activities
- Scavenger hunts
- Design your dream home
- Refer to Pinterest for ideas!
Do not freak out. Do not despair. It is okay for your kids to be bored–that always leads to innovation and creativity. It is helpful to have a routine and some must-items each day to prevent everyone from driving each other crazy.
Take breaks from each other here and there. Plan some fun but also let your kids just get creative. You can survive!