As a parent, it is quite likely that you are wrestling with the concept of sending your children back to school as the pandemic begins to ease. For many, though, sending their kids back into school or daycare while COVID-19 is still in the area can feel stressful and disconcerting. We know that you might be going back and forth with the pros and cons of sending them back to school…
That’s why we wrote this blog! To help you visualize what life is likely to be like for the little ones on their return, here are some of the things to think about:
While not every school or daycare facility will be in the same position, most children will be facing a pretty drastic change from what they will be used to. Some of the main concerns and changes include:
The first concern that most parents have is the idea of sending their children back in the pandemic due to the educational challenges. For one, your children are going to be dealing with logistical changes such as check-in stations. For a young child used to a more freeform education, it can seem odd.
Another big change will be the need to wear a mask, even during class. Many children find the wearing of a mask quite uncomfortable, while it can cause anxiety in others. For many children, it is simply something else to wear, but for others it can cause a lot of issues regarding their comfort.
Classrooms are likely to be very different in their layout and their numbers, too. Children might have to get used to people they have befriended being moved into other smaller-sized classrooms. Also, classrooms will be modified to ensure minimal contact, thus harming social interaction.
Indeed, many children might not even be returning to school and/or daycare full-time. Many facilities are taking on a gradual return, trying to give as many children as possible a shot at some education a few days per week. This is another logistical challenge that can make it hard to arrange routines.
Expectations will change, too. For younger children who have missed out on crucial development time, it will be a hard ask to make up for that lost time. For older children going back to later school years, the expectation will be to achieve the best grade they can with reduced opportunity and time.
As you can imagine, each of these challenges are likely to cause a fair few issues for most children. They are likely to find it hard to adjust and adapt to such massive changes from what school was like beforehand. As a parent, then, your duty is to help support your child and ensure they can endure these changes until normality resumes.
Should I send my child back to school/daycare?
While that is a decision that only you can make as a parent, there is a crucial reason to consider a return. For one, most facilities are working harder than ever to create COVID-friendly facilities that should minimize transmission and combat the fear of it being spread across the school.
The main reason, though, comes down to the health and well-being of the children themselves. A child needs to be taught, to be given the chance to learn, and to grow. Crucially, though, children need social stimulus outside of the family home; they need to be around kids their own age!
That is why, as a parent, you might wish to put even more emphasis on a return, even at a part-time level. Being around other children on playdates, during daycare, and even simply in the classroom is essential for a young child. They need those early life interactions to build their own personality, thought process, and mentality. Missing out on that could be pretty severe for most children.
And, after the challenges of the last year, a bit of normality might go a long way to helping your children recover quicker from the stress of 2020 and 2021 (so far). While school and daycare might not be totally normal given all of the changes and challenges listed above, it’s more normalized than being at home all day.
Nobody can make this decision for you, but you should be looking to find the best situation for your own child!
This rainy winter continues (sob sob) and what feels like weeks of inclement weather has us all getting a little cabin fever. Thankfully we have some super cool indoor playspaces for kids that let them run, jump, play, and give their imaginations a workout (without driving you crazy). There are even a few spots that will keep you keep your sanity with coffee bars, workspaces as well as wine and beer options. Scroll below to check out our favorite indoor play space picks.
This gorgeously-designed play space in Santa Monica not only offers a creative playground for kids 6 months to 6 years old to climb, swing and jump but they’ve also partnered with the School of Wonder to offer enrichment classes that will keep your kids happily engaged.
In addition to the play space, they have an on-site cafe plus the flexibility for working parents to get some work done while their kids are pre-occupied.
Open Play: Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat-Sun. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (check the schedule on weekends as they sometimes close for private events. Rate: Two-hour open play is $18; play passes are also available $80 for 5; $140 for 10
Insider Tip:There are various co-working plans that will give working parents access to a workspace, printers, WiFi, etc. while kids enjoy enrichment classes and activities.
1731 Ocean Park Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90405 310-392-0113 Online: bigandtiny.com
Wild Child Gym, mixes chill Hawaiian vibes with California cool that results in a fun, interactive, eco-friendly space complete with a “grassy” hill that feels more at like natural playspace than a busy metropolitan city storefront.
Daily classes are available for “Droolers” (newborn-5 months) all the way up to “Advanced Skill and Development” (5-7 year-olds), along with free play options, birthday parties, camps for kids and workshops for kids and for the whole family. But what we really love are their extended hours—perfect for working parents or those tricky school holidays.
Open Play: Mon.-Fri. 9:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Rate: Per class price is $30 (based on availability) or choose a four-week session which includes one “Wild Play” drop-in class for $100. Become a member for $25 and receive discounts on parties, events and more.
This indoor jungle gym lets your little monkeys climb and play like they’re outside all within four window-lit walls. The fully-padded structure features tunnels, and a winding slide that drops into a ball pit. There is also a pint-size merry-go-round and a separate play area for toddlers. The space is small, but there are plenty of cozy spots to sit back and relax while still getting a bird’s eye view of the entire play area.
The space also has an indoor picnic area where you can bring in your own food and snacks to eat. Coffee, juice, and water are also available for purchase.
Open Play: Mon. 10-5 p.m., Tues.-Thurs. 10-7 p.m., Fri. 10-5 p.m. Rate: Open play is $10 per child
Insider Tip: There are tons of great restaurants within walking distance along Ventura, like D’Amores Pizza, The Carving Board, and Wanderlust Creamery so you can grab a bite or sweet treat after play time.
There’s adventure to spare here with a ton of energy burners including a basketball court, mazes, tunnels, climbing bouncy houses, gymnastic mats and plenty of playrooms. There’s not a ton of supervision happening, but that’s ok, as you’ll want to get in there and play, too. With a ropes course and rock wall for bigger kids (note: both cost extra), Toddler Town for wee ones and even a café when need to refuel, you just might be here all day.
Open Play: Hours vary for the play structures and Toddler Town, so make sure to check the website. Rate: Admission is $12. You can also sign up for a Flex Membership and get unlimited drop-in play for $29 per month, $19 per month for siblings
Insider Tip: Adventureplex offers Parents’ Night Out every Fri. and Sat., 5:30 – 9 p.m. for kids 3 and up if you want to get an evening away the kids will be begging for. Cost is $30, and $20 for siblings and includes dinner.
Dress up, painting, building with blocks, utilizing motor skills through soft play and storytelling-the name of the game here is child-initiated play in all its many forms. It’s filled with bounceable, slideable and jumpable inflatables, an obstacle course, playhouses, dress up and more. We love it because it caters to a mix of ages, and at over 4,000 square feet has room for the jumping the bigger kids (up through about age 7) need and also a toddler area where small fry won’t get run over. With so much stuff to do and play with and explore, kids won’t get bored, and they will be eager to come back.
Open Play: Tues.-Fri.; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Rate: $12 per child, $9 for siblings, (under 2s are $8). Multi-visit passes and memberships are available that will save you money
Insider Tip: Brent’s Deli is a few doors down for lunch. It’s one of the best and most authentic delis in town, with pickles that will live on in your memory. There are four kinds of fries for kids to pick from, a kids menu for B, L or D, and don’t leave without sampling a black & white cookie.
A play space for kids…and adults? The Coop is the place that doesn’t sacrifice the sanity and patience of parents for their kids to romp around in a gritty and overly cutesy play space. Free wifi and a cappuccino bar are just some of the perks for adults in this modernized play space that looks like an ad for Phillipe Starck for IKEA. Kids will love sliding into the ball pit, the touch-sensitive, luminescent dance floor, and dress-up play. There are three locations in Studio City, Redondo Beach, and the newest spot in Woodland Hills.
Open Play: Each location has different hours but all are open Mon. – Fri. Rate: $12 per child
Insider Tip: The Woodland Hills location has a full cappuccino bar and free parking.
Locations: Woodland Hills, Studio City & Redondo Beach Online: thecoop-la.com
Snooknuk – Larchmont
This colorful play space showcases an enchanting mural and life-size tree that transports tots to a magical landscape usually found in fairy tales. Artwork is filled with positive images families will appreciate, and music exclusively scored for Snooknuk sets the perfect tone for a happy day of fun. Many parents bring kiddos in just for a simple afternoon of play or play dates, while others come for classes but still love the convenience of having a play area to entertain siblings while they wait. Don’t forget to indulge in their on-site Caffe Luxxe gourmet coffee, pastries or paninis while the kids enjoy the play area.
Snooknuk offers a supervised play option so you can sit on the patio and get work done while the kids play. This space also offers loads of classes, plenty o’ snacks and is on the Larch. Your whole inclement day is now planned. While most of the activities are ideal for the 6 and under crew there are some classes available for older kids, up to 12 years old.
Open: Mon.-Fri. 9-6 p.m.; Sat. 9-5 p.m. Rate: Day passes are $8, or $5 per sibling
Insider Tip: You’re on Larchmont Blvd., which means you have approximately 6 coffee options, a retail shop for kids, a resale shop for tots, a vegan and raw food spot, a vegan and GF bakery plus bookstore and two toy stores all in walking distance. Welcome to parenting paradise.
506 N. Larchmont Blvd. Mid-City Los Angeles 323-498-5258 Online: snooknuk.com
Who says your kids can’t play and learn? Peekaboo Playland is the progressive and artistic indoor play space for your kids’ creative energy to flourish and grow. Let your little one explore the boundlessness of their imagination in the 3,300 square feet building. One of our favorite things is the separate baby space upstairs, where crawlers can explore without getting trampled.
Open Play: Mon. – Thurs. 10-6 p.m., Fri. 10-5 p.m. Rate: $10 per child over 12 months, $8 for siblings and babies 6-12 months. The Bel Air location is $11 and $9 respectively
Insider Tip: Oinkster, Swork, and Four Cafe are all right nearby so you can get tasty lunch and coffee to go and eat at picnic tables here when kids need to refuel. There’s a second location in Bel Air.
The unique twist here is that they understand that kids need to play, but parents need some pampering too. So you get a break while the kids (ages 18 months and up) can enjoy some supervised play (parents or caregivers have to stay on the premises). They also have Parents Time Out sessions for 4 hours on Sat.
Open Play: Make an appointment or walk-in Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Rate: $13; Supervised play cost $25 for two hours for kids under 3 and $20 for kids over 3
Insider Tip: During supervised sessions, free coffee and wi-fi are available so you can relax, work, or catch up on browsing your favorite parenting website.
This children’s restaurant and play space have spots in Glendale and Woodland Hills full of castles, pirate ships and dragons – oh my! Kids can have loads of fun here running, jumping and playing, and there’s even plenty o’ live entertainment on tap. Play all day and pay based on mobility. Unlike most other spots, this one is open on weekends for free play, although they do host parties then as well so it can get crowded.
Open Play: Mon. – Thurs. 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m., Fri. 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Rates: Big kids are $14, $11 for sibs and $8 for non-walkers
Insider Tip: It’s a restaurant (with organic, kid-friendly food). So lunch doesn’t have to be pre-packed or cobbled together out of chips and pastries. And did we mention the wine and beer?
Tube crawls, web crawls, barrel rolls and giant slides are just a few features of Jump ‘n Jammin’s multilevel play structure. This is a spot that is as much fun for the 3-year-old as for the 13-year-old (and Mom and Dad, too). And the best part? They don’t automatically close all weekend for parties and have other locations in Mission Viejo and West Covina.
Open: Mon.-Thurs. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Rate: $14.95 for the first child (plus adult); toddlers are $6.49 plus adult. Additional adults are $3.95
The aptly named spot offers a vast array of indoor and outdoor fun for the little ones up to 10 years of age, featuring a 60-foot inflatable obstacle course, a giant slide, an indoor crooked house and even a race track for the aspiring Andrettis. They also offer Parent’s Night Out at $25 for the first two hours; $10 per each additional hour.
Open Play: Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Rates: $10 per child. Monthly memberships are $39 or you can purchase a 10 play pass for $60 that never expires
Insider Tip: If you’re here because it’s too hot to play outside (not too cold), they often break out an inflated water slide to cool kids down on broiling days. So don’t forget the change of clothes!
It’s not just a clever name. Here the monkeys can go bananas and the mommies can get down to business, each with their own dedicated space to do so. With a sweet little courtyard connecting the two diametrically different havens, arrive with a potty trained independent walker, kiss them good-bye, and off you go. The “Escape Artists” (aka awesome kid watchers) will take it from there. You leave for the land of low voices and lattes. This space is best for the under 5 crowd.
Open Play: Mon., Wed., Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Tues., Thurs., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Rate: $12 for kids; $10 for additional sibling
Insider Tip: Hit Proof Bakery afterward for outstanding treats on the way home. Win-win.
Kids World Family Fun Center – Simi Valley Even big kids who think they’re too cool for indoor playspaces will beg to spend the day here. This entertainment spot raises the standards with virtual games, climbing tubes, slides, foam ball launchers, zip lines, basketball court, American Gladiator style arena, a video game floor with motion activated games and old-school arcade. But it’s not just for big kids, there’s also a Toddler Corner designed for children newborn–3 years old for the little ones to learn and play in their own gated space.
Open: Tues.-Sun. at 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Rates: $11.99 admission for kids 24 months-15 years; kids under 2 are $5.99; siblings are $10.99 (weekdays only). Grip socks and arcade games are extra.
Insider Tip: Ahem, with beer (did we not mention that the café serves beer?) and video games, it satisfies everyone and is why we say it’s worth the drive for a rainy day excursion.
We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym – Multiple Locations
We love this unique gym that caters to children with autism and special needs creating a safe and warm environment where they can play and strengthen their muscles and skills. While kids can just have fun, you’ll know that everything here actually serves a positive purpose: swings promote balance, the zip line is for stress release and joint and body relaxation, the trampoline builds core strength and play structures, sensory-based toys and arts & crafts areas all work on motor, social and eye-hand skills. It’s for kids at every spot of the spectrum, and kids of all ages and abilities will have a ball. Rates and hours vary by location. Some spots also offer drop-off care.
Open Play: Mon.-Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (Call ahead on weekends to confirm openings) Rate: $14 per child (siblings $12)
Insider Tip: The whole place is cleaned top to bottom daily with only green products, so the planet will stay as healthy as our kids.
If your pint-sized ‘bosses’ are making it impossible to get any work done on the home front, your productivity quotient during nap time is no longer cutting it, and your laundry heap is taunting you away from a deadline, it’s time to venture to a coworking space that offers childcare! Working moms and dads can now make every day Bring Your Kid to Work Day at one of these awesome locales across the country. Read on for where to get down to business while your kids take their job of play seriously.
photo: Big and Tiny
Big and Tiny – Santa Monica, CA
This newly opened, “integrated learn, work, and play space” has the goal of fostering productivity, creativity and community for kids and parents alike. The modern, streamlined office space allows parents to focus on work, while the boutique playground/creative space dubbed “Tinyland,” which is reminiscent of a castle in the forest, enables kids ages 6 months to 6 years play with sensory-rich sustainable toys that will encourage their imagination. Big and Tiny partnered with School of Wonder to design an educational program for kids that focuses on mindfulness and community-based learning, offering classes including yoga, music, dance, languages, drama and creative movement.
Good to know: They offer an array of co-working plans wherein parents have access to a workspace, printers, WiFi, etc. while kids enjoy enrichment classes and activities.
1731 Ocean Park Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90405 310-392-0113 Online: bigandtiny.com
photo: The Hive
The Hive – Austin, TX
The Hive is all the buzz for busy parents in South Austin. Parents can get down to business in their co-working office by renting a desk monthly that comes with childcare, printing, conference room use and even a bottle of wine on Fridays. Parents must remain on-site while their kids are being cared for and they can stay in childcare for up to four hours per day or 12 hours per week. It’s a perk that The Hive has a nice breakfast, lunch and snack menu which includes coffee drinks, smoothies, sandwiches, wraps and more.
Good to know: Not ready to commit to a paid plan? You can visit The Hive free of charge in their indoor/outdoor open seating area, either outside at the picnic tables or inside at the cafe area and lounge and get some work done whileyou supervise your kids play.
10415 Old Manchaca Rd. Austin, TX 78748 512-366-8120 Online: hiveaustin.com
We may still be waiting on equal pay, but in the meantime, there’s Equal Play, a calm and quiet distraction-free, fully-equipped coworking space for parents/loving learning environment for kids “where everyone grows.” The caregivers on staff have taken a minimum of 12 units of Early Childhood Education and are trained in positive discipline so you can rest assured your kiddos (infancy to school-age) are being well cared for in The Play Garden or The Nursery while you work (both are screen-free as well). There are several options of membership as well as hourly and daily rates. Founded by a mom, The Garden by Equal Play wants to accommodate parents by being flexible and working with them to ensure they can meet their needs no matter how large or small. Coffee and tea are complimentary and meals are available for purchase. Kids are treated to a healthy, nut-free breakfast and lunch during their stay.
Good to know: There are nursing/napping rooms outfitted with hospital-grade breast pumps.
More than a co-working spot, The Inc. is on a mission to shift today’s parenting paradigm. Their vision is “to achieve gender equity in entrepreneurship, in the workplace and at home.” They’ve realized that childcare is the most important component of achieving gender equity so they’ve created this “modern-day village” as a brilliant solution. The Inc. affords parents a flexible co-working space where they can drop off their kids in one of the nearby Playschool rooms and go accomplish their work goals. Members have access to parent only co-working rooms, a break room for community connection, high-speed WiFi and printer, a Cowork + Coplay room, free/discounted workshops and classes and more. They want to help parents make the juggling act work by offering a space to learn, work and grow while their toddlers and preschoolers are being cared for.
Good to know: Parents must remain on-site and will be paged if their kiddo needs a diaper change or to use the potty.
Want to combine work, child care and fitness and wellness classes for adults and kids? Then look no further than Workafrolic. This hub of creativity and community enables families to connect with others as well as soar independently. You can either drop in for a few hours of work or join with a monthly membership. The modern shared office space features coffee and tea, WiFi, printer/scanner, etc. as well as wellness classes for an additional fee. Kids ages four weeks to four-years-old will enjoy the childcare space that’s designed to feel like a home with lots of natural sunlight and nice toys and child-led play as well as games and songs. Kids may attend childcare for up to 3 consecutive hours while parents use the co-working space or go off-site.
1707 North Capitol St NE Washington, DC 20002 202-506-2770 Online: workafrolic.com
photo: Live Love Lens Photography
Work and Play – South Orange, NJ
Work and Play offers a flexible, state-licensed early childhood Reggio-inspired program for parents who utilize their workspace, as well as customized schedules for other parents in the community that need part-time care. Available to kids under age six, the program seeks to create independent thinkers and a new generation of entrepreneurs. Both their co-working space and their early childhood program are about building community, and their mission is to offer a solution to working parents who want to continue building their own careers and professional development while also taking part in the day-to-day activities of their families. For parents worried about the division of work and play, it’s good to know that a lot of care went into soundproofing so that adults barely know there are kids in the same building. The early childcare program is on the lower level, and the office space is above them on the first floor. Each also has separate entrances, so those without kids downstairs won’t even know there’s childcare on site.
Good to know: Work and Play have two locations in South Orange. Their flagship at 19 Prospect St. is the location that has childcare. Their second location – just down the street – has private offices and an additional co-working space and a meeting room.
Nido is a co-working community that began with a potluck and has founding members who have based their model on building community between families. They’ve masterfully fused their on-site Montessori preschool with office space for parents––and this not-for-profit business considers themselves a movement toward a “new way of living and working and being with each other.” The co-working space is a hub for those who work remotely or run small businesses and Nido describes their environment as a “femicentric space” in which they aim to support the lives and needs of women and mothers. A $200/month membership grants you 24/7 hour access to the space, unlimited coffee and WiFi, printer/copier and ten hours of monthly conference room time as well as the support and camaraderie of other co-workers. To add childcare to the mix, click here for the pricing options on membership plans that include tuition to the on-site preschool. The Montessori school offers half-day morning or afternoon options for kids ages six months to six-years-old and the ambiance is serene and beautiful while the learning focus encourages kids to be “productive, creative and self-driven,” “a perfect mirror” to their co-working space.
At Play, Work or Dash, kids ages nine months to eight-years-old can enjoy singing, dancing, music, story time, arts and crafts and holiday-themed parties in the playroom while you get your work done without interruption. Slide into an open desk and fuel up with a cup of complimentary coffee or tea, log on to the high-speed Internet and go. You can use the Play and Work service for up to three hours per day and the “Dash” service (short-term, drop-off childcare for kids age two and older) lets you leave the premises to run an errand, go to a meeting, etc.
Good to know: You can check-in on your kids via a tablet that shows a live video feed.
HackerMoms could be just the village you’re looking for. This band of mothers helps alleviate the isolation of motherhood by offering a community where members can explore creativity, crafts, hacker/maker culture, entrepreneurship and more with the convenience of on-site childcare space. The membership (dues are $80/month) grants you 24/7 access to the space as well as tools (Epson Stylus Pro 9880 large format industrial printer, a Juki industrial sewing machine, a standard Brother sewing machine and some smaller power tools) and the chance to utilize childcare at an hourly fee and free workshops and peer to peer skill-shares. If this sounds like your vibe, visit an open house meeting (offered twice monthly) or make an appointment to go in and meet the other moms and introduce your kids. Then complete their membership application and have a reference check for child safety. Parents must stay on-site to utilize the childcare for kids ages 5 months-6 years-old. HackerMoms allows the kids to meander between their room and the workspace so moms can model “active, creative lives for their kids.”
Good to know: For heavy-duty power tools, members can go to their partner hackerspace up the street, Ace Monster Toys, to use a CNC machine, laser cutter, makerbots, 3D printers, a full woodshop and electronics lab and more.
On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Giocare Play Spot offers parents the ability to use their workspace while their kids play in the on-site play room. Kids will enjoy activities, organized play and music and movement while parents can get to work using the high-speed Internet, laser printer, charging station, office supplies, coffee and tea and the ability to work uninterrupted and without worry, as the kids are just a room away. The daily rate is $45 and the monthly rate is $250.