In my previous blogpost, "A clear-headed perspective on what lockdown means for you and your kids", we promised you some strategy on how you can ensure your kids don't just survive but truly thrive during lockdown. 

Basically you're waging a war on two fronts: your kids and your job. 

I don't know where this weird idea of "Supermom" entered our culture, where magically, somehow, mom was supposed to "do it all", but let's be clear: that's a really stupid idea. And it was probably invented to sell you more stuff you don't need. 

As Michael Gurian brilliantly writes about in his book "The Wonder of Boys" specific to raising boys, it was only after the advent of the suburbs, highways, and modern office culture in the 1940s that the nuclear family unit detached itself from the extended family (which included grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, neighbors you actually talked to, friends, familiar service providers, religious institution, etc.). For 75 years we've been isolating the unit of mom/dad/kids from the village that, for the whole rest of human history, used to HELP MOM BIG TIME when it came to household duties and childcare. Hence the phrase "it takes a village to raise a child." 

Sadly, you probably don't have that support nowadays, especially since everyone's quarantined. So the key question is, how do you substitute a "village" while it's just you, your spouse, and your kids in the same home? 

Let's get down to it. It comes down to a few key variables -- the ones listed below are all about your kids, not about you or your spouse. We're isolating it that way to avoid confusion. If you can master these variables, you'll find that tending to your kids becomes a lot easier:  

1) Scheduled Routines

-for you, your spouse, and your kids

-it should be consistent, but don't force yourself to an insane schedule if it doesn't work for you. You don't need to go to bed at 7pm and wake up at 3am to be a good mom or professional! 

-before "setting it in stone" definitely experiment with the sub-variables to find out what works best: your own wakeup/bedtimes, your kids', and your spouse's. 

-the first place to start is when you wake up. If you don't get enough sleep because you're waking up earlier, it'll naturally force you to adjust to sleeping earlier. Give it a try! 

-so we want to first focus on managing bedtime on a consistent basis (that means weekends too, and sleeping in till 11am is BAD for your sleep hygiene) 

-after that, the next great variables to focus on are: meal times, exercise times, periods for work, periods for time with kids, chores time, and 100% unplugged time (aka self care). 

2) Content for Kids (curriculum, lessons, activities, improvisations) 

-DON'T stick your kids in front of a TV, YouTube, or any other NON-INTERACTIVE media for more than 1 hour per day. 1 hour is fine, but that's it -- and it should be carefully controlled. There is plenty of research on the harmful effects of screen time media on kids. 

-Good news is, according to the research we've examined from the American Association of Pediatrics, INTERACTIVE screen time (such as FaceTime or Zoom call) with a live human being is perfectly OK for as long as the child wants. It probably shouldn't be more than 6 hours a day, but it's unlikely to ever go that long anyways. 

-So by all means, have your friends, neighbors, and relatives help relieve you by FaceTiming with your kid in a separate room while you're working, for example. Have them do impromptu lessons! 

-there are plenty of Do It Yourself lesson and activity plans online, as well as one-off livestream classes you can have your kid participate in. 

-If your kid has good friends already, set up FaceTime play dates! 

-If you're taking the role of Preschool Educator for your child, then consider googling for a Montessori, Waldorf, or Reggio Emilio curriculum -- these are particularly top-flight educational models that do wonders for little kids. 

3) Nutrition 

-our diet in this country is horrendous. Sadly huge food companies have pumped billions of dollars into marketing and merchandising stuff that isn't really food, but boy is it so addictive! 

-go to Dr. Gundry, Eric Edmeades, and Dr. Sten Ekberg for the best of the best on nutrition in the opinion of the author; your physician probably didn't even take ONE SEMESTER of nutrition in medical school so he/she likely doesn't have a clue. For legal purposes must I say, please go consult your physician, therapist, priest, accountant, and the suchlike in order to make an informed decision about this sort of thing! 

-to simplify, things to avoid in food: sugar (as much as possible), alcohol, tobacco, grains, factory-farmed meats & poultry, farmed fish, and anything that's packaged, overly processed beyond what was natural 200+ years ago, and anything whose Nutrition Label ingredients have chemicals whose names you can't pronounce. 

-please do yourself and your family a favor: please do your own due diligence about nutrition. Eat a bunch of "healthy muffins", pizza, pasta, take out, and the frozen packaged stuff from the grocery store, and you're going to feel like you were just hit by a Mack truck! What you eat impacts how you feel short-term, long-term, and how your children will develop, because children don't do what you say, they do what you do! 

4) Sleep 

-this is the motherboard of human energy, focus, clarity, etc. What you eat (and don't eat), how you exercise, and any fancy techniques you could try don't have as much of an impact as sleeping properly. I urge you to check out this video by entrepreneur Sam Ovens. You will appreciate both his charming New Zealand accent as well as his salient tips for you (and your family's) sleep health: 

-simply put, most of us in the U.S. don't sleep enough and well-enough. Time for that to change! 

5) Quality time

-this is pretty straightforward; I understand how stressful life can be and how busy things get! It's just so important for you and your child's wellbeing to drop all of that for a few moments every so often to bond and love on each other. 

6) Contingency Plans (aka the "s**t happens" factor which is ubiquitous for preschoolers)

-what's your plan for when your nice-on-paper schedule goes awry, because inevitably your kid wants or needs something? Think about this in advance! 


Hopefully these ideas have helped to get the juices flowing. That said if you've decided you don't want to have to do it all yourself and want to simplify things, we'd be happy to offer a free consult and figure out how to help you with your kids at home. Just click Contact on this page. 

Jason Bern

Jason Bern is the Founder of Ready Education. He leads a team of dedicated early childhood educational experts who are specialized in helping families care for, engage, and educate their preschoolers -- whether in a real-life physical preschool or remotely from home. 

If you're interested in making the balance between kids and work from home more manageable, then definitely reach out and request a free application call today.

Jason Bern

Jason Bern is the Founder of Ready Education Group.
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