Stay Home. Stay Safe. STAY SMART.

Schools are closed through the end of the school year and summer programs may not look the same as they have before. As shelter-in-place orders are lifted and we all learn to carefully navigate forward in this new world, many parents are left to wonder how they can help their children at home, both emotionally and academically.

That’s why Chattanooga 2.0 is working with Hamilton County Schools to help students Stay Home, Stay Safe, and STAY SMART.

To find weekly learning packets by grade and other nutritional and technology resources provided by Hamilton County Schools, you can visit

Take a look at the resources below to find ideas for everything from fun activities to engage your children at home during social distancing, to tips on balancing home and school work while working from home, and more.

In addition to keeping children physically safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is also important to care for their emotional health.

Choose a consistent time twice a day to discuss feelings and thoughts.

    • Ask simple, open-ended questions like, “What was the favorite thing you did today? What was your least favorite?” or “What was something you accomplished that was hard, but that you are proud of?” or “How can I best help you in your school work, chores, bedtime, etc…?”
    • Remind each other that there are no wrong answers.
    • Come up with an overload code word. If a task or situation is becoming too overwhelming, say the code word. Everyone will immediately take a 10 minute break and you will return to the task with clearer heads.
    • Consistence over perfection. Remind your child – and yourself – that the key is to remain excited and engaged with their school work. Skip over difficult  problems and focus on the exercises or assignments they enjoy – no need to fulfill every subject requirement every single day. Reach out to your child’s teacher and ask for strategy tips or alert them to difficulties you are encountering. They want to see you and your child succeed!
    • The house can get crowded and the tasks are many. Respect space. It’s okay to say, “I need 5 minutes alone time. I will set the timer and help you when it goes off.” Encourage your children to communicate when they need alone time, too.
    • Help Your Family De-Stress During Coronavirus Uncertainty
    • Resources for Supporting Children’s Emotional Well-being during the COVID-19 Pandemic
    • First Things First Self-Care Resources
    • Mental Health Resources Available in Chattanooga

Decide on your daily schedule, but keep it flexible.

Get up and get dressed. It might be easiest to keep the same schedule as the regular school day, spending general “periods” dedicated to reading, math, free time/play, and meal times.

During large chunks of down time, find fun activities from educational websites with free resources.

Find fun, hands-on learning experiences along with hundreds of videos and online tutorials at the links below.

Set aside time for a creative hands-on activity away from the computer

Educational apps are great! But time away from screens is still important. Try these activities or show us how you are unplugging by tagging #StaySmartHamilton on social media!

  • Chalk drawing outside or on construction paper
  • Finger paint a masterpiece!
  • Blow bubbles
  • Make play dough, then mold your favorite animal or flower.
  • Find a new, easy recipe and cook a meal to serve at lunch or dinner.
  • Build a reading fort in the living room/bed room. Snuggle with a good book and a flashlight.
  • Shadow puppets – spooky or silly, plenty of fun to go around.
  • Build an obstacle course, set the timer, and race off!Make sock puppets with old socks, sharpie markers, and yarn or scrap fabric.
  • Spa day! Paint nails, give massages, fix braids, or indulge in DIY skincare. We all need a little pampering and fun right now.
  • Go through the closets and put on a fashion show or build the wardrobe for a play based off your child’s favorite story.
  • Be a zoologist! Grab a pad and pencil, go outside, and find and insect or animal to observe.
  • Build the tallest building contest. Whose tower will be tallest before it topples? Can use blocks, Legos, even tupperware!
  • Draw a picture or write a thank you card to the local medical professionals and emergency personnel whose tireless efforts are keeping us all safe.
  • Send a homemade card to a relative, friend, teacher, or elderly/disabled neighbor
  • Try some of these active indoor games to burn energy.
  • 40 Easy Indoor Activities for Younger Children

At-home learning doesn’t have to mean isolated study. 

    • Create study-buddy groups via Skype, Facetime or other social interaction platforms with school friends or other relatives. You can all work on the same subject at the same time! Parents can take turns supervising the group, thereby giving the other parents a brief break.
    • Alleviate some pressure by assigning a grandparent or other senior relative to do read-alongs or practice math fluency over the phone or on video conference.
    • Email or write letters with “fun facts” your child has learned during the day to friends, family. Have the recipients respond back with their favorite fact.
    • Have your child plan an “Over COVID” education field-trip with a classmate, family member, or friend that they can take once we are no longer practicing social distancing.

Bright ideas and inquisitive minds need nutritious, healthy treats to fuel engagement and maintain calm.

Keep meals and snack times consistent, eating roughly every two-3 hours. And remember, drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, too!

Feeling stressed? Get moving!

Even 15 minutes of physical activity is enough to pump happy endorphins, clear brain fog, and reinforce new learning. Need some ideas? We’ve got you!

  • Put on some tunes and dance away! Turn off the lights and hold flashlights or glow sticks to amp up the fun.
  • Go through 30 second rounds of the following aerobic circuit, with 1 minute rest in between: jumping jacks, high knees, burpees, mountain climbers
  • Introduce your kids to by-gone recess games like jump rope, hop scotch, tag, jacks, Mother May I, and Red Rover prove that old school is the best school.
  • Race up and down the drive way or around the house
  • There isn’t always a need for speed. Take a walk around the neighborhood – be sure to keep minimum 6 feet of space between yourself and neighbors! – or walk up and down the stairs. Sing songs, tell jokes, or enjoy the peaceful moment.
  • Stretch your minds and your muscles with basic yoga and breathing techniques like Downward Dog, Tree pose, and Child pose.
  • Kill two bird with one stone! Exercise and do house chores. See who can dust, sweep, vacuum, or make their beds the fastest within a 15 minute time frame. Winner gets to skip on a chore tomorrow 😉
  • Get out in the garden or walk through the park (keeping safe distance between yourself and others). It’s been proven that interacting with nature for 20 minutes reduces stress.

This is hard. Cut yourself some slack.

Join the Center for Child and Family Well-Being for a free three-part webinar series that will introduce you and your family to mindful self-compassion (MSC) practices to help you care for yourself and others during these challenging times. Research has shown that these practices can greatly enhance emotional well-being, boost resilience, reduce anxiety and depression, and even help foster healthy lifestyle habits. Bring your stress and your questions!

Wednesday, April 29 | 3-4pm EST
Wednesday, May 13 | 3-4pm EST
Wednesday, June 24 | 3-4pm EST


Follow Chattanooga 2.0 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to learn more tips to balance work life and home life during the break. Share with us how you are getting through the quarantine and keeping your children engaged by tagging #StaySmartHamilton on social media to win gift cards from local businesses and restaurants.