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Pandemic Parenting: Working with Kids at Home

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Working with kids at home can feel like an impossible task, but there are tricks that can make it a little easier.

Working with Kids at Home

The “Fill their Bucket” Approach

Teach kids to work or play independently for stretches of time while you work.

First, “fill your child’s bucket” by reading a book with them or playing a game or whatever makes them feel like you have really paid attention to them. Then help them find an activity they can do on their own and set a timer. Tell them that until the timer goes off, you will be working on your work, and they may only disturb you if it’s an emergency (mud, blood or flood), but when the timer goes off, the two of you will go for a walk, have lunch, or whatever works for your new routine. As they get used to this, you can set the timer for longer stretches.


Every afternoon, have an hour of quiet time for the whole family. Very young kids may nap. Older kids may read, listen to audiobooks or play quietly in their room.

Video Babysitters

Working with kids at home is easier with help!

Use your favorite video chat app to let special adults in your child’s life read to them or teach them something new. For example, you might have Grandma read a chapter every day from a favorite book after lunch. Alternatively, an aunt might teach them a new language every Thursday, or an uncle might have art class Mondays and Wednesdays. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the adults in your life who are self-isolating to see what they might want to do with your kids.

Give a reluctant reader a jumpstart

If you have a kid who is reluctant to try a new book or genre, help them get started by reading the first chapter aloud to them. Often that’s all they need, and they are able to read alone after that. For younger kids, have them read aloud to a pet or a favorite stuffed animal. Use their Lexile level to choose books that aren’t too hard or too easy!

Virtual Tea parties

Use Bravewriter’s “poetry teatime” and have a weekly “date” with another family. Each family can set the table with special treats and parents can take turns providing the poetry. The parent who isn’t “hosting” that week can work on other things. Here are some places to look for poetry collections and themes.