Folks, we are living in some crazy times right now. People all over are being forced to stay at home to keep themselves and loved ones safe. Schools are shut down, stores are shut down or left with an only curbside option, and restaurants are closed for dine-in and only able to offer delivery or pickup. I figured that I can’t be the only Mama that is feeling a little overwhelmed (a lot overwhelmed.) So I put together this stuck at home resource guide for busy moms.
With the added stress of “homeschooling” your children, the added fear of you or your loved ones getting sick or if you are worried about how you are going to pay bills or put food on the table if you or your spouse have lost a job or had a cut in pay and/or hours it can begin to feel never-ending.
Disclaimer: The following are tips, tricks, and resources that I have found in my research or have used personally. Please, take the time to research and read the fine print on some of the offers below. Please, use this as a guide to finding what works best for you and your family during this difficult time.
Stuck At Home Resource Guide For Busy Moms
What is social distancing?
According to the CDC website, “social distancing means keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home.” Let me just state for the record, this is NOT a political post. Whatever your stance is on this current situation, we are still all in this together. We are currently all at home, so I wanted to bring together a resource guide for busy moms (and dads too.)
Tips For Homeschooling
I know how overwhelming this can feel. However, I am here to tell you that we can do this. I am an elementary education teacher turned stay-at-home mom. Let me start by saying that teachers DO NOT expect you to be your kids’ teachers! I have talked to many of my teacher friends and they all said the same thing. They don’t expect you to spend a “normal” 8-hour school day with your children. In fact, they want you to take this time to spend a little more personal time with them that doesn’t involve schoolwork.
I am not saying, by any means, to set up an 8-hour day schedule. In fact, I think mental health, showing love, making memories, and family time is just as important (if not more) during this crazy time. I still want my children to learn during this period so that they will be prepared for next year. However, when they look back on this period of time I don’t want them to remember us fighting over Math and Science. I would love for them to remember the fun memories we made, staying up later, eating a few more bites of ice cream, or playing in the sprinkler all day long.
I like to block out time for each subject and then give him a little free time between each subject. Here are some examples:
- 30 minutes of math
- 30 minutes reading
- 20 minutes of science
The important thing is to focus on what you need to focus on and make the schedule you and your children need. Also remember how important free time, outside play, and family time is.
Be Open With Your Kids (Age-Appropriate)
Take time to be open with your kids on the new home schedule. Explain to them why you need to create a structure at home. However, remember to be age-appropriate. Having a schedule is extremely important for children, especially in times of change and anxiety. However, it is also important to remain flexible and pick your battles. For example, maybe your child wants to watch a video while he eats lunch, but you have a no TV rule until school work is finished. Maybe you can make a compromise and allow them to watch an educational video during lunch. Numberblocks on YouTube is always a popular choice in our house.
It is scientifically proven that free play highly impacts children’s brain development. Allow them to use their minds and creativity. It is so important.
Here are some great resources that teachers are always using and can help you during your day. I know how hard it can be at times when you feel like you need to get your things accomplished too. These are some great resources that I like to use if I need a little extra time to work with a client or if I need to take a ZOOM call.
GoNoodle: This is a great tool to get your children moving. It is full of silly songs, dances, and even yoga for kids!
Scholastic: You will find a TON of projects for all grade levels and all topics!
Khan Academy: Here you will find schedules (templates) for all grade levels with activities and quizzes to take online.
BrainPop Jr.: Free access right now for families! Full of videos and activities for all subjects.
Play To Learn Preschool: Contains a lot of FB Live videos with circle time for kids.
Art For Kids Hub: Contains awesome drawing lessons led by a father/child team.
Mystery Science: Free easy science lessons for kinder to 5th graders.
PBS Kids: Full of coloring pages, crafts, games, activities, printables, online games, and more from your favorite PBS shows.
What Do You Really Need At Home?
Let me just state THERE IS NO NEED TO HOARD!! You can still be smart and prepared without hoarded and taking away from others that might need it more than you. It’s important to be rational, but make decisions and purchases that will extend our time between grocery runs. However, not taking so much that we could be negatively effecting other families planning for staying home for longer periods.
Here are some of the basics:
- Hand Soap and Hand Sanitizer
- Cleaning Products
- Over-the-counter Medicine
- Prescription Medicine
- Laundry Detergent
For the record, notice I did not mention TOILET PAPER!! I recommend stocking up on foods that are long-lasting and that you can get several meals out of. Again, let me stress, I don’t mean to over-buy food, just to get enough to keep you from having to make a bunch of trips to the grocery stores. Some good examples are rice, pasta, beans, canned foods, etc…
I know that it can feel overwhelming to think about dinner every night during this time of isolation, especially if you are limited on your pantry choices. Here are some great recipes to have on hand:
- One-Pot Chili Pasta
- Poor Man’s Burrito Bowls
- Skillet Cheeseburger Pasta
- Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili
- Cheesy Green Bean Pasta Casserole
- Black Bean Chili
- Pasta Carbonara
- Quick Instant Ramen Hacks
As of now, based on my research, these are the following financial institutes offering coronavirus assistance:
- Wells Fargo
- US Bank
- Capital One
- PNC Bank
- Great Lakes
I know for a fact that Nelnet is waiving 6 months (no interest) of payments. I just checked my account yesterday and I do not have a payment due until October. However, certain accounts do not qualify but I am not sure why.
Also my personal bank, Navy Federal Credit Union, which my husband has been using since he got into the Navy in 2000, isn’t on the list mentioned above. However, I know they are offering assistance on a mortgage, personal loans, car loans, credit cards, etc…because we just had to have a phone conversation with them ourselves.
It’s worth mentioning that MOST (if not all) places are offering help or at the very least showing understanding but you have to take the time to call. Over 100 internet companies have agreed to not turning off services and to waive late fees.
Also, be aware of SCAMS!! Honestly, I get at least 2 calls a day from someone claiming to be connected to my bank, medical bills, etc…just BE SAFE and SMART!! Personally, what I like to do is tell them bye and hang up, then if they specifically mentioned a hospital or bank that I do have a connection to I call them directly and ask if they had reached out to me. 9 times out of 10 here lately it’s a no.
Some the big streaming companies like Hulu, Netflix, Disney+, etc…are offering 7 day or 30 day free trials. However, you will get charged after that trial period ends. So I found a list of streaming services that are FREE (mostly with commercials, but hey!) right now if you are looking for some entertainment.
- IMDb TV
- Tubi TV
- The Roku Channel
Amazon is also offering early access to movies that were in theatres or soon to be released before the theatres shut down. Here are a few that my family have enjoyed:
It’s worth mentioning that right now these are only for rental, but will soon be released to buy. The cost to rent them is still way cheaper than you would pay at a theatre with the added bonus that you can watch in your PJ’s and not worry about getting in trouble for sneaking in your own snacks!!
If you don’t want to rent/buy movies on Amazon or sign up for Amazon Prime, Amazon has made a list of available kids’ tv shows free during this time of quarantine.
Mental Health Check
Being someone that has dealt with anxiety and depression, my thoughts continuously go towards others that are dealing with mental health during this time of isolation. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Stay close to your normal routine
- Do not obsess over constant Covid updates
- Try to keep your home organized
- Start a quarantine ritual
- Reach out to family and friends
- Seek professional help
Just remember that even though you might feel alone during this time of isolation, you don’t have to handle this alone. You can still reach out to hotlines, chat rooms, friends, etc…
During this crazy period, it is extremely important to stay connected to friends and family. Here is a list of FREE video conferencing or video chat options for you and your family:
- Facebook Messenger
- Google Hangouts Meet
So whether you call it social distancing or quarantine, whether you find yourself bored or if you have a list to accomplish a mile long, just remember we are in this together. I hope this stuck at home resource guide for busy moms eases your worry. Also if you have any more tips, tricks, or deals please share them with me and my readers in the comments!! If nothing else, I love being able to see people “come together” in a time of such unease.
Stay Safe. Stay Smart. Make memories, my friends!
“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31