Resources, ideas and activities to help your employees keep children entertained at home so parents can stay on task at work.
Right now, your employees are struggling to find balance. It’s difficult to separate work life from home life while working remotely, especially when your employees are also responsible for childcare. As the fight against COVID-19 continues, many school districts across the country and the world are shifting to partial or full distance learning, further complicating the daily routines for working parents.
Keeping kids safe and healthy come first, but what about keeping them entertained? That’s no small feat – especially if your employees are juggling a full-time job with caretaker responsibilities.
So, what can employers do to help working parents who are also tasked with ensuring their kids are fed, in school, completing assignments and entertained?
First, it’s important that organizations understand that their people likely feel overwhelmed and are having trouble focusing. This pandemic has put parents in a tough spot. Then, offer some flexibility. Remind your employees to do what they can, ask for help when they need it and know that with some adjustments, they can find the balance that they’re looking for. It may be useful to create some policies to ensure that the parents on your workforce feel comfortable asking for accommodations when necessary. These types of simple switches in unofficial company benefits can lead to increased employee morale and better overall mental health in the workplace due to a reduced amount of stress.
While organizational leaders can’t step in to help share the childcare burden directly, they can offer their employees some ideas on keeping kids entertained outside of the school day. An engaged child means a more engaged employee, after all. Share these tips with your workforce to enable them to keep their children occupied and happy during the workday so they focus on their own to-do list.
Make it Educational
Kids are insatiably curious. Feed their desire to learn about the world around them with fun, interactive lessons outside of school hours. Find out what interests them and set them up with books, activities or online resources to encourage them to explore and learn. Set them up so they can go at their own pace and give you some much needed time back in your day. If you want to add a little structure, the free daily schedule tool from Wide Open School takes the guesswork out of planning. You can also tap into their library of lessons, activities and ideas for kids of all ages. Looking for more free learning tools? Try one of these:
- Choose from a variety of interactive lessons in STEM, music and literacy at Camp Wonderopolis, an online learning destination that plays into children’s natural intrigue and curiosity.
- Explore games and activities in a range of topics with this science website for kids from the American Museum of Natural History.
- It’s never too early to learn a language. Duolingo for Kids and Gus on the Go use storytelling and games to make it fun.
Hit Up Your Local Library
Your local library might be more high-tech than you think. Most started digitizing their libraries years ago and some even have their own app! With audiobooks, ebooks, movies and music available online, the options for children are endless.
Try a Virtual Museum Visit
Although you can’t take your children to a museum while you’re working, there’s no shortage of science, art and culture available online. Many museums have started blogging, posting webinars, offering virtual tours and creating interactive experiences to help bridge the gap until they’re able to reopen at full capacity. Whether you want to experience the Mona Lisa, visit another time in history, ogle at edgy street art or learn a cool new science fact every day, there’s plenty of fun content out there for kids. Thanks to Google Arts & Culture, you can now visit thousands of museums and historical landmarks virtually too. Make sure to equip your kiddos with something to doodle on in case they feel inspired!
Trade Screen Time for Listening Time
Your kids might be getting way more screen time than they did before, and that’s okay. Things are different, so your rules can be different, too.
However, if you want to switch things up, it’s easy to work in some screen-free storytelling. If you don’t already have some in rotation, try out a new podcast, like these kid-approved options from National Public Radio. Check to make sure the length and the subject matter is appropriate for the right age group, and you’re good to go.
Help Them Learn to Cook
Involving your kids in meal prep is more than just a fun way to spend time together. Cooking provides lots of learning opportunities, like how to safely operate a sharp knife, new vocabulary words to master and ways to practice reading and simple math skills. If you let your kids help choose fresh produce at the store and keep them involved throughout the cooking process, it may even help curb picky eating.
Although cooking lessons likely won’t become part of your workday routine, it provides an opportunity to teach them a few simple recipes they can do on their own for breakfast, lunch or midday snacks. Peanut butter and banana sandwiches, baby carrots and hummus or turkey wraps are just a few ideas to get you started. If your kids prepare their own meals, it will give you more free time and inspire important life skills like independence and confidence. Now that’s a win-win.
Ready to Support Your Working Parents?
Your digital employee wellbeing program is a great tool for sharing messages and resources like these with the whole company. You can also encourage your people to utilize platform features like daily habit tracking, health coaching or journeys to empower them to create new workweek routines that best fit their needs. Take it one step further and incorporate specific family health and planning tools into your wellbeing ecosystem with integrated partners like Ovia Health.