Having children is a great joy, but it also can be stressful. Pressures are plentiful, from making sure your child has the right gear to needing to help manage their school and social schedules. To intensify matters, COVID-19 has brought quarantines and social distancing around the world, and parents are now tasked with educating and entertaining their kids more than ever before.
Financial stress is growing dramatically. A whopping 71% of parents are worried about their personal finances right now, and 81% describe their level of parenting stress as medium or high, according to the OfferUp 2020 Parents and Kids Recommerce Report.
In addition to financial concerns, there is a multitude of challenges for parents during these unique times. Keeping kids entertained at home is the No. 1 cause of stress for parents during the pandemic, followed by educating their children at home, the study found.
Keeping kids on top of their studies as well as happily entertained doesn't require spending a lot of money. Consider these low- and no-cost ways to keep your children occupied at home:
Seek free educational resources
Go online to discover a variety of high-quality educational websites. Many museums are now offering virtual tours and online educational classes to engage kids of all ages. Educational websites such as Khan Academy and Sesame Street offer no-cost learning materials. Remember to sign up for newsletters from parenting organizations as well to get free activity ideas sent right to your email.
It's also smart to reach out to your children's school or local community center to explore options. Some offer memberships to websites that they can share so you can access material at no cost. Additionally, you can call and ask your local library about digital storytimes and virtual classes they might be holding, which can be a fun way to connect kids with others while they learn.
Find what you need through local resale opportunities
Have your kids played with all their toys and need some new supplies? Parents are turning to online resale marketplaces such as OfferUp to buy baby and kids items during the coronavirus pandemic with the goal to save money, make more sustainable purchasing decisions and support their local communities. Whether it's a new toy or a necessary supply, you can find just what you need for less.
You can also consider selling what you no longer use and make some money as a family. OfferUp is the largest mobile marketplace in the nation for local buyers and sellers and it's as easy as taking a picture with your phone to sell items and then meet with local people in a safe, secure manner. Millions of people buy and sell on OfferUp every year, and billions of dollars' worth of items are exchanged. Why not make it a family effort to clean out rooms, sell unused items and save toward a group goal?
Don't forget traditional fun and acts of kindness
Old-fashioned fun is low cost and keeps kids entertained. Have family game nights and bust out the board games, work on puzzles together or start a crafting project. Go outside to play yard games, catch or kick around a soccer ball. Work on a time capsule, scrapbook or teach your children a hobby. Think about all the things older generations did to stay busy when people spent less time online and find your inspiration.
To help spread positivity when so many people are stressed, consider simple things you can do from afar to spread cheer. Kids will enjoy brainstorming acts of kindness, and most don't cost anything. For example, write inspiring messages on the sidewalk for people to see as they walk by, or color pictures to send to a local nursing home for residents who may not be able to receive visitors.
Keeping kids educated and entertained while at home shouldn't cause financial stress. Follow these tips to save money and keep kids happy.