Tell Us Your Best Pandemic Parenting Hacks

Tell Us Your Best Pandemic Parenting Hacks
Photo: Getty Images

Have we reached the point in the coronavirus crisis where we’re actually starting to get a little better at pandemic parenting? Many of us have been at this for several weeks now and have, in all seriousness, gone through many—if not all—of the stages of grief over what our daily lives have become. And yet, we do what parents always do—we find a way to make it work. We survive another day and sometimes, we even discover a random little trick along the way.

What works for one parent and one child might not work for another. But if we dump a bunch of tips and tricks into one big pile, we’re all likely to find something new to try. So I started by asking our Offspring Facebook Group: What are your best Pandemic Parenting Hacks so far? And the responses came in fast and furious. Here are my favourites:

  • “If you say, ‘Come here, kids, we need to do your lessons,’ they will leave you alone for at least two hours.” (Leigh)

  • “Even pre-pandemic, everyone has an afternoon rest time (nap, don’t, I don’t care) where they are by themselves for 90-120 minutes. This evolved out of nap time when each of our kids stopped napping.” (Michelle)

  • Easter egg hunts are not just for Easter. We’ve stuck animal crackers (kidlet’s favourite) into the plastic eggs and hid them around the house. Earns us at least 20 minutes of time.” (Presi)

  • “We had each of the kids build a nook of their own where no one can bother them. Blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, books, whatever. We have a small place (my youngest’s nook is in my closet), but this way everyone has a place to go when they want to be left alone. Except the parents, of course.” (Julie)

  • “One of my biggest ‘break up the day’ hacks for the kids is having them take a bath or shower in the middle of the day. It refreshes everyone and forces a screen break.” (Jackie)

  • “We do drive-bys to his friends’ houses. We stay in the car. Friends stay in their yard. They talk/shout at each other and do show-and-tell with toys.” (Marian)

  • “We used a Peg + Cat episode to help teach the 5-year-old the concept of time and then have Alexa set timers for how long they need to do an activity without a grown up. They can ask her how much time is left and have a clear indicator and promise that they will get our attention soon.” (Jenn)

  • Doing normal things in unusual places—we picnicked on the lawn, we tested all the markers on the patio (on paper), eating in the hall, reading on the stairs. A small activity like this makes a big difference.” (Carrie)

  • “If you have to take your kid to the grocery store (I know, don’t, but if you have to) … have kid carry their most precious toy that you would never let them take out of the house. Checking if they’re still holding the toy is more effective than “stop touching that.” Also my kid decided if we’re wearing face masks in the store we must be sneaking around, so everything in stage whispers helps make it sillier.” (Michael)

  • “My six-year-old has a tendency to tune me out so I started whispering to get her attention. She thinks I’m sharing some secret.” (Katie)

And finally, one of my favourites is a hack that two parents in our group have had on-going success with … let them cut the grass with safety scissors.

Photo: Carrie Smith

“My kids cut grass with kid scissors for OVER 40 minutes yesterday and asked to do it again today,” group member Carrie says.

See, this is what I’m talking about. These are the ideas we need right now.

My own personal favourite hack that I’ve used so far? Bikes rides with friends—on opposite sides of the street. One kid stays on one side with a parent trailing behind. The other kid stays on the other side with a parent trailing behind. They get to ride together, yell to each other across the street and even “race” without the parents or kids ever getting within six feet of each other.

I know you have some, too. So, tell us in the comments: What are your best Pandemic Parenting Hacks so far?


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