7 Family Activities You Can Do While You're Working From Home During the Coronavirus Pandemic
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to compel millions of Americans to shelter in place and work from home (WFH) for the foreseeable future, the coronavirus social distancing requirements may be viewed as an opportunity to reconnect as a family.
If you’re self-quarantining or sheltering in place, here are seven family activities to help bide the time:
1. Train Your Dog
Does Fido beg at the table? Pull on the leash? Ignore those pleas to “sit,” “lie down” and “heel”? If so, now might be a great time for some hands-on training.
The American Kennel Club has a number of basic training videos1 you can use, and so does the Best Friends Animal Society.2 You can even head to YouTube for lessons from professional trainers.
For a better chance of successful training, make sure all family members are on board and participating in the training. Professional trainers suggest that you’ll need to be consistent in how you interact with your pup if you want the lessons to stick for the long haul.
2. Learn a New Language or Instrument
With the uncertainty of when the confining restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic will be lifted, it’s a good time to pick up a new skill. That might mean learning a new instrument, perfecting a new language or even trying a new art form, such as painting, dancing or singing.
You can even learn these new skills as a family. For language learning, you can turn to tools such as Duolingo, Babbel or Rosetta Stone. To pick up a new instrument, you might try Fender Play for guitar or flowkey for piano. Udemy, Yousician and Lessonface also offer a variety of music courses.
3. Check Your Home Safety Equipment
It’s always important for your home to be equipped with properly functioning safety devices. You can use this time to check your fire extinguishers and replace your smoke alarm batteries.
4. Give Your Kids Real-Life Lessons
While schools are providing temporary distance learning curriculums in abbreviated formats, this change in educational routine offers an opportunity to help school your kids in other important learnings. Why not use your quarantine time to teach some much-needed and age-appropriate life skills to your kids?
You may want to show them how to:
- Care for their pets. Teach them to feed or bathe the dog, clean the hamster cage or fishbowl, or even brush their pets. These can be especially great lessons if you’re one of the many families bringing home a new dog or animal to foster during this time.
- Maintain their bikes. If your children have a garage full of bikes, scooters and other ride-on toys, give them a little lesson in caring for those items. How can they add air to the tires when they start to go flat? What can they do if their bike chains get tangled or their seat is crooked? Reward them with a nice bike ride around the neighborhood once you’re done, maintaining a safe social distance.
- Sew a button. Lead your own home economics class by showing your children how to replace a button on their favorite sweater, sew up a rip or tear, or fix that torn ear on their childhood teddy bear. These kinds of lessons can come in handy in their adult years.
- Garden. If the weather’s nice, you can head out to the garden for some lessons in planting, weeding, mulching and fertilizing. You might even show them how to use the sprinkler system if you have one.
- Do laundry. While your children are young and long before they may be planning to head off to college where they’ll gain some independence, the task of doing laundry can be a valuable one for them to learn. Show them how to separate colors and explain how to choose the right water temperature. Let them load the washer, push the buttons, move loads to the dryer, fold their own clothes and do whatever other tasks you think they can handle. Asking the kids to help with laundry could also help to free up some of your precious time while you work from home.
- Care for the yard. You’ve covered the garden ‒ now, move on to the lawn. Show your kids how to trim the trees, mow the grass and edge the yard. You can also have them help rake leaves or clear grass clippings off the sidewalks.
ves or clear grass clippings off the sidewalks.
5. Invent a New Game
Trying to avoid too much screen time on devices or the TV? Invent a new board game as one of your new family activities. All you need is a piece of paper or cardboard, some markers and a little creativity. You could even ask each family member to create their own individual game, then come together as a group for a pizza and game night.
6. Exercise Together – and Make It Fun
Staying active is important, but it doesn’t have to mean grueling hours on the treadmill or stationary bike. To keep it fun, try some family activities that double as exercise. You might set up an obstacle course in the backyard, have a field day, head to a local track and race each other (but don’t forget to practice social distancing) or even start a rousing game of tag. Riding bikes and walking the dog are great options, too.
7. Inspect Your House
Since you’re spending the majority of your time in the house these days, it’s important to ensure your home is safe, hazard-free and in good working order. Take some time to do a visual inspection of any exposed plumbing, check on the state of your gutters and downspouts, and assess your appliance hoses and exterior water fixtures for any damage. You can educate your children on the basics of these home maintenance tasks to give them a foundational understanding to build on as they get older. Now is a great time to fix these smaller issues, and it can help prevent bigger (and costlier) ones later on.
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