In the best of times, parenting while stuck indoors is challenging. With stay at home orders forcing many of us to figure out on the fly how to meet the needs of our children while managing our jobs and other responsibilities, it’s important to think carefully about how we use apps and screens.

Below, we’ve put together some apps and guides we found helpful.

Knowing how much and what is right and when

As a parent of young children, two of my main concerns are how much screen time to allow and what content is appropriate.

  • compiled a list of apps to help monitor and limit your child’s screen time. There are both paid and free options and helpful reviews of each app.
  • Common Sense Media is a non-profit organization that gives families and educators objective advice on movies and tv shows, books, and apps. It helps take the guess work out of which content is right for your particular kid.

Best educational resources for kids of any age

With schools and daycare programs suspended, we’re on the lookout for enriching content that both entertains and educates. Luckily, there are tons of great options that support both cognitive and physical development.

  • Math — DuckDuckMoose, part of the well-respected Khan Academy, has a wide variety of excellent math apps for younger children.
  • Reading & Literacy — SuperWhy ABC Adventures includes five different literacy games for the younger kids still learning their alphabet. WordGirl Superhero Training introduces new vocabulary words and is better for older children.
  • CodingScratch and Scratch, Jr help give your children the building blocks of coding and computer programming with basic problem solving and design challenges.
  • Fitness & Wellness— If your kid is like mine and has a lot of energy to get out, GoNoodle is a great option with lots of different movement-based games and activities. Other options include Adventures of Super Stretch, a terrific yoga app designed for kids, and HeadSpace for Kids with directed meditation activities for when it’s time to slow things down a bit.
  • All purpose — My family’s personal favorite, PBS Kids has a suite of educational apps based on their popular kids shows that are all currently free to use.

Don’t forget to connect to the real world

While you’re cooped up, you can use your devices to help keep your children engaged with people, nature and the world outside of your home.

  • Libraries — Our family is partial to the Brooklyn Public Library, but many institutions have similar virtual story times, videos and other resources.
  • OutdoorsThe Bronx Zoo offers a “virtual zoo,” with live cameras, regular updates and lots of opportunities to see some of the animals.
  • Virtual ToursThere are a number of options available to let you visit everything from the Louvre to theme parks. You can also visit a number of US National Parks and even get some guided tours from the rangers.
  • Friends & Family — One of our favorite things to do — Facetime or Zoom with our kids’ friends and cousins that are the same age. It’s great to stay connected with other kids!

Nothing can replace the individual attention you give a child by getting down on the floor to play with blocks, snuggling on a couch to read a book, taking them on a bike ride, or talking them through a challenging math equation. But that doesn’t mean the wide variety of apps and streaming services available aren’t helpful additions to our parenting toolkits.


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