Parenting Quarantine Hacks

By Addison Dunn

For people with kids at home, one difficult thing about quarantine is losing the everyday check-ins and chats with fellow parents. It turns out just a quick “good morning” at the bus stop, talking during soccer practice or a dance lesson – all seemingly inconsequential conversations – help us navigate through the challenges of day-to-day parenting.

We asked parents from around town to share what has worked for them and any tips they can offer to help keep our gray hair count down. Here is what they offered:

“Want a cookie? Sure! Go bake it. I try and keep my pantry stocked with ingredients and not food. So for the kid with a sweet tooth, he’s been baking since he was old enough to manage an oven. My kids appreciate their sweet treat so much more when they make it themselves instead of gratuitously guzzling through a bag in one sitting. Life skills and nutrition management!”

“Charlotte just said that getting 80% on her homework was good enough, so I gave her 80% of a sandwich. Next she gets 80% of playtime. Homeschooling math hits harder.”

“Today I gave each of my kids three gold coins. I called them The Coins of Help. I told them they could use a coin anytime they needed help from mommy with their schoolwork, but once the coins are gone, they are gone for the day, so they should use them wisely. It is almost noon and so far, only one coin has been used. I will also reward them with five extra minutes on Minecraft for each coin they do not use, in honor of their independence and self-sufficiency.”

“Whoever has the worst manners at the dinner table has to do all the dishes. If it is a tie, we all roll our sleeves up and get to cleaning. It is rarely a tie.”

“I give my kids tons of choices which in turn gives them the power. For example, do you want to take a shower or bath tonight? I do not care which one they do; I just want them clean. They feel good about making their own decision and I get a clean child!” 

“When my ten-year-old asks if she can jump on a Zoom call with friends, my response is always the same: I do not have a problem with it. Before you click on that call, have you asked yourself what you have done today to contribute to keeping our house comfortable and clean?” 

“Pack a snack box in the morning to avoid constant asking and annoyance!”

“I alternate with who is in charge of which task each day. As well as whose turn it is to pick the show or movie, take the first shower… all those things that get argued about, we just take turns. Not perfect but it helps.” 

“I used to be very strict about bedtime with my teenagers, but during quarantine, I have stopped fighting that battle. What does it matter? As long as they are getting to their school Zoom sessions, I am just letting them sleep and wake up as late as they want. Also, midday naps keep the house quiet.” 

“My battle has always been dirty clothes all over the bedroom floor. I told my daughter that whatever clothes I find on the floor in the morning, I will pick up, put in a trash bag and she will not get them back. I actually did collect some clothes at the beginning and held them in a secret place for a few weeks. For a girl who loves her clothes, this did the trick.” 

“I started an Amazon wishlist for my daughter for her fifth birthday, and just kept it going. When she wants something I say ‘let’s put it on the list.’ We will be in a store and she will say ‘Mommy, can you add this to my list?’ Instead of ‘I want this.’ I let her look at the list. She can add to it at any time. And by her birthday or Christmas, there is a nice wishlist ready to go. Seriously, this has been my best parenting moment.” 

“Uno all the time. No, seriously… we have a whiteboard on the fridge that has all the Zoom meetings and streaming events for the day so we don’t crash our internet connection.” 

“I make obstacle courses that involve running up the hill, touching a tree and coming back, jumping jacks, jump rope. I time them and lie about their time, so they keep having to go and try to ‘beat’ the low time. It successfully wears them out.” 

Do you have tips and tricks that have kept you sane during quarantine? Submit them to us! Find us at We would love to hear from you.

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