Smartphone app aims to keep kids busy and productive while at home
With schools closed for the rest of the academic year in Vermont, parents are using technology to keep their kids busy and staying productive during downtime.
The Blanchards in Georgia, Vermont, say it's presented an opportunity to spend more time with one another, doing activities like crafts, cooking and games.
While 13-year-old Emma passes the time on FaceTime with friends and concocting delicious recipes, 10-year-old Noah practices his guitar and skateboarding skills.
The two kids attend Georgia Elementary and Middle School where for the rest of the school year, the students are learning and the teachers are educating remotely.
Parents Seth and Leanne say fortunately Emma and Noah like homework and have been completing assignments faster than the teachers can put them online.
"I do it before my mom wakes up," said Noah. "I like doing homework. I like doing school work and stuff like that, so I just like getting it done."
With homework being done so quickly, the rest of their days are open.
"I find that he is sticking with it, so he's kind of getting into a new routine now, but I think he's really excelling at it," said Seth.
"The first two or three days that we were home, I think every other hour, it was like when can we have a play date? When can we have friends over? And Seth and I had committed to really being serious about isolating our family and keeping everybody safe," said Leanne.
So Noah knew he had to fill the time somehow. The family uses the "Busy Kid" app as a sort of chore chart and checking account.
"I have to clean my bedroom and playroom and living room, clear the table, get mail, make the bed, and shower and do my laundry," said Noah.
If the child completes the task, they tick it off and earn money, provided by the parents. As a financial adviser, Seth Blanchard wanted a tool to teach his kids financial responsibility, especially amid the pandemic.
"They also learn how to prioritize what's important to them and if they only have so much money, what do they want to spend money on," said Seth.
Noah says he's saving for a new skateboard and even though it isn't quite as fun as hanging out with his buddies, it sure keeps him busy.
"I am missing school, but Busy Kid has been a big help," said Noah.
The Blanchards say they're focusing on the stay-at-home order being a blessing in disguise, spending as much time with one another as possible.