By now, you’ve likely gotten over the initial “break” caused by the onset of COVID-19 that forced most workplaces and all school shut down. For those who are working from home, no amount of time spent in your pajamas can make up for the distraction that can come from a houseful of bored kids.

     The American Health Association recommends a maximum of two hours of screen time per day, so there’s only so much help TV and other devices can provide. So, what else to do? Here are a few smart ways to battle boredom.

     1. Maintain order: Create a routine and schedule blocks of time. Just like with school, kids should be up and dressed by the same time every day, with blocks laid out for play, TV or Internet, meals and, now that they’re home all day, chores.

     2. Get outside. The need for playtime is the same as it ever was. While it’s true that playgrounds and public areas are off-limits, getting kids into open areas and letting them run around is best, although even games such as tag should be avoided due to social distancing. Family walks and bike rides are your best bet. Area trails are still available; some even have encouraging messages written on the blacktop.

     3. Keep learning: Many schools have sent home home-learning packets already, but another way to expand kids’ minds while having fun are taking advantage of the wealth of literature sources available.

All area libraries have online services available. Danville, Pittsylvania and Henry County libraries all have access to sources for kids such as Tumblebooks, RB Digital and Hoopla, All of which have e-books, comics and audio books for free. Other sites such as Loyal Books, Scribl and kidslisten.org can provide hours of entertainment, audio stories and podcasts to engage young minds.

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