Parenting Through Social Isolation

Quarantined at home with a toddler, preschooler or kindergartener?
Trying to work from home while keeping your young child educated, amused, and out of your hair?

Here are some tips that might help.

Think in 10-30-minute increments
A 2-3-year-old will last about 10 minutes at an activity
A 3-4-year-old will last about 15-20 minutes at an activity
A 5-6-year-old will last about 20-25 minutes at an activity
A 7-year-old will last about 30 minutes at an activity

Try to follow every “structured” activity with free play
If you do an art, science, baking project with your child, during which they need to sit still and follow directions, allow them at least the same amount of free play time as they spent at the activity.

End it before it fails
The best laid plans can devolve into a meltdown if the activity lasts too long. If your child is showing signs of boredom—it’s ok to move away and take a break, or just end the activity.

Independent Time Activity Ideas that don’t involve screen time
Keep in mind: Independent play is very difficult for children under 4 years old.

  • Audio-books
  • Puzzles
  • Chores
  • Arts/crafts
  • Play-dough
  • Reading
  • Music (listening, singing, playing instrument)
  • Exercising

Adult Supervised Activity Ideas that don’t involve screen time

  • Cooking/baking project
  • Read stories
  • Watch a movie together (and talk about it)
  • Neighborhood walk
  • Parent Trust activity ideas videos >> (these are not videos for your children. These are activity ideas for you to do with your children.)

Screen Time
Yes, this is okay! These are unusual times, so daytime screen use for entertaining is FINE.

Just keep in mind that all of us experience mood and sleep changes from too much screen time. Try to balance screen time for your child with an equal amount of outside, active play time.

Looking for more structure?
Here is a sample, full day schedule similar to one you might find in a childcare center or preschool. Sample structured day >>