Radio journalist Hillary Frank is here to help you navigate parenting during the coronavirus.
Frank, who created the “The Longest Shortest Time” podcast, spent more than five years compiling parenting tricks from her listeners. "I found them so useful and entertaining," Frank told TODAY Parents.
Create a cooking show challenge
Frank's 10-year-old daughter, Sasha, loves when she’s tasked with whipping up a snack using only three ingredients.
“It’s an activity that keeps her occupied, but allows us to connect later when we enjoy it together," Frank told TODAY Parents.
Frank also recommends having your kids film a “How to” instructional video.
“Then, you have to make whatever they were teaching,” Frank said.
Get rest while they play
One of Frank’s most popular hacks is a game called “What’s on My Butt?” — and it's as simple as it sounds. Just lie face down, have your kid fetch a random object to put on your behind and then guess what it is.
“The longer it takes to guess, the longer you get to relax,” Frank quipped.
Another mom Frank spoke with would have her son play with his toy cars on her back so she could get a massage!
Have them play reporter
When Frank needs to jump on a call, she sends her fourth-grader to "spy" on dad.
“This is a really good one for working parents,” Frank explained. “Give them a notebook and a pen and tell them to take detailed notes. Make sure they know to be really quiet and what time to report back to you."
Frank also allows Sasha to tattoo her feet when she needs to be productive.
Let them break the rules
“Kids love being allowed to do stuff they normally wouldn’t be allowed to do,” Frank said. She suggests giving them a pad of sticky notes to post all over the house.
“Ask them write the name of the object or a draw a picture of the object that they’re sticking it on,” Frank said, noting that cleanup is their responsibility.
Spice up meals
To mix things up, serve lunch to your little ones in an empty bathtub with glow sticks.
“One dad told me he does ‘dinner in odd places,’” Frank told TODAY Parents. “He’ll yell ‘Dinner in odd places!’ And they’ll find a random place to to eat.”
Lose your cool collectively
“This is a really hard time and we need to let off steam,” Frank said. “Try a family scream.”
Frank knows one woman who will put duct tape over her mouth in order to keep from yelling, then she’ll draw a smile on with a Sharpie.
“It makes her daughter laugh, and then she laughs,” Frank said.
Throw an ‘Unbirthday’ party
“If your family is getting on each others nerves, come together to bake a cake, make cards and decorate the house,” Frank said “It’s gives you an activity for the day.”
Frank interviewed a couple who convinced their young daughter to go hiking by allowing her to apply as much lipstick as she wanted whenever they hit the trail.
“It can also be a reward for independent play,” Frank revealed. “A.K.A. a bribe!”