April 15, 2020
Crystal Washington: Hello, I’m Crystal Washington, Technology Strategist, and Futurist
Karen McCullough: and I’m Karen McCullough, the millennial evangelist who helps you adapt to change and today we want you to rethink it forward.
Crystal Washington: And by rethinking it forward, we mean that there are things that have worked for you in the past that probably won’t work for any of us in the future. And if we were to be really honest, they’re not even all working for us right now.
Karen McCullough: That’s for sure. Cause what we’re going to talk about today, Oh man, I don’t mean to say they’re not working, but we’re going to talk about working from home with kids, with kids. So if you really think about it, we’re, for many of us, we’re on week four, week four of this.
Crystal Washington: By we do, you mean me and you?
Karen McCullough: I mean we the universe.
Crystal Washington: Cause I don’t, I don’t have kids.
Karen McCullough: So I mean we the universe, right? I am a universal weed. Okay. So this all started a month ago. Okay. And I, because I actually, I don’t have kids at home and Crystal doesn’t it either. I decided that two weeks in I put a post up on Facebook asking for help and I said, parents, please tell me how it’s working. Give me suggestions. And it’s really funny because it was only two weeks in. And I will tell you that the suggestions, well some were pretty strict. People have no kids. That’s interesting. And grandparents, they’re tough. But if you had two to three kids at home, everything kind of softened. So I don’t know how you’re doing right now. I hope you’re doing okay. I can imagine how hard it is. I got a call the other day from someone who was so great, he was talking to me about his insurance and trying to sell me some insurance.
Karen McCullough: But in the background, I could hit your kids screaming. And I was just, I sympathize with this guy cause he was trying so hard to keep working, but I could tell that he was a mess back at home. So anyway, that’s what we’re going to talk about. We’re going to talk about how are you doing? So this is a great chance for you to come on answer and to give us some suggestions and some of your thoughts down there in the men in the messages. So, um, what I decided to do after I got up, people telling me that the schedules were going on anymore. All, all of their good plans have gone kind of gone to pot. Um, well not literally, but maybe, maybe they have a, what I thought I would do is check with Harvard business review. So I’ve got just three things, three things.
Karen McCullough: And what I’ll do is I’ll kind of talk and you come on and crystal, if you have anything to add to that. So from that list of 10 things to do every day, it went down to three. So number one, the first one is easy. You’ve got to maintain a routine. Yeah.
Crystal Washington: Wait, did you say that was easy? Karen?
Karen McCullough: Well, it’s the easiest one. Oh, you gotta get up, brush your teeth, you gotta have breakfast. So you’ve got to have a household routine every day. It can’t be Saturday. You know, you’ve got to get up and you’ve got to have a routine. And so some of the people wrote in, when I put this on Facebook, they said, okay, but my kids are staying up late at night and they’re crabby. So we’re letting them sleep in. So our routine doesn’t start until 10 and those few hours give me so much time to get some work done because she said I can only work in the morning when the kids are asleep and I can only work at night when the kids are asleep. Yeah. Rather than that, I have gotta be with them all day because I have a, I have three kids, I have a six-month-old, I have a two-year-old and I have an eight-year-old. Can you imagine what that house must be like? Yeah. So maintain a routine that works for your family, um, and decide what it is and honor that routine and keep that routine going. So that’s number one.
Crystal Washington: Well, and Karen, I’ll say this, so I’m not a parent, but I’m a TeeTee. I have a lot of nieces and nephews and I have one. Yeah, I have one nephew here in Houston that I spend a lot of time with. Typically not right now cause you know social distancing. But we’re still retaining much of his schedule because he’s going to school via zoom. So he’s actually in school the same amount of time. That’s the way his school district decided to work with it. He’s just going in and out of different classrooms instead of his normal teachers and so just as before when he physically has to go to school, he’s woken up at the exact same time. He showers, he puts on his uniform. My mother has always, she calls it Kathy’s country kitchen. She gets up early to make him a big breakfast.
Crystal Washington: Right while his mother’s taking care of the baby. My mom makes like literally like a big hop type breakfast form every single morning. Then I call him before school starts as I did before. He’d be in his car on his way to school, except now we joke and I say, you’re walking your way to school, which is in the living room. Right. And I just tell him, you know, you’re gonna have a great day. What do you think we’re gonna learn today? Just get them fired up just like I did for a normal school day. And then we end with paper, rock, scissors or battling, which he’s just better than I am at it. And then after he wins, he’s like, and then we get off FaceTime and he’s ready to go for the day. So we found that, you know, trying to keep everything as normal as possible. Even in a strange circumstance, it gives children a sense of normalcy.
Karen McCullough: Well, they need it. I mean, you know, being an Ex-teacher, I know that they need routine and they need a schedule and it also gives them some sort of something to hang on to.
Crystal Washington: I forgot you were a teacher, Karen, what haven’t you done?
Karen McCullough: You know, like I started off, I started off that way. I haven’t. I have a master’s in library science, but that’s another whole talk. Yeah. This actually has helped me when we get into this because I’m helping my grandkids right now, but we’ll talk about that in a second. Some of the things that we’re doing. Okay. The next one is really interesting. It says to create a modified schedule that fits your family. So the first thing I got when I put this up on Facebook, it’s really funny because I got, I definitely had to be project managers because they were all talking about these charts. I don’t know what they’re called, but it was like, this is our intention, this is what we’re doing, this is what we got done. And I wonder how long that’s all your keep out long. That’s the last thing with your family, how you’re doing with that one.
Karen McCullough: So what I heard from so many of the families is that they do have some sort of a schedule. And one of the families that I talked to, they start every morning with a morning meeting and they have a seven-year old, he wears a hat. I have pictures of it. His name is Jack and the video of the morning meetings and then they send it out to the grandparents. But they go through what the expectations are for the day. And I thought that that was really, really cool. Another thing that they put on their list is fun things. So not only in your schedule do you have the work, but you also have the rewards, the schedule, and some people are getting stickers, some people are giving little post-it notes, whatever to keep track of the points that they get in order to have their reward. Just to kind of really motivate the kids to stay on some sort of a schedule and some sort of learning capacity. I like what, yeah, what do you have?
Crystal Washington: Well and outside of that, I mean we covered most of it in the last one regarding scheduling, but I think this is where it’s important to just be gentle with yourself. Cause I have a lot of friends with children right now that are typically very organized people, but everyone’s stressed out too. So I think as long as you’re building in some flexibility in that schedule and you realize that sometimes it’s going to have to go out the window or even if you want to stick to it, pad it, pad it head heavily so that you know when things get off track, if, if somebody has a meltdown or whatever else, you can pick it back up and be okay. So just be gentle with yourself. This is not, you know, these are children, they’re not in the military.
Karen McCullough: My daughter Meredith, she’s got two boys under the age of seven and she does a lot of conference calls. She’s, she has a full-time job. And so I have to be flexible. My schedule has to be flexible because what we do when she has a call, um, I then take over. And so we do a zoom meeting. So I give all the homework and I talked to Jack and I do it every day. So today it was at 11 some days too, just trying to help. So for you out there, you answer just like you are and your grandparents. This is a chance for you and friends and neighbors that when you see your friends struggling with really working in a home with kids, this is a chance for you to help. Jack looks forward to the meetings. He really is excited about it.
Karen McCullough: And we’ve had some fun. We play games, we do a lot of different things through zoo because I have to feel sometimes an hour and a half. And so I am glad I had that teaching behind me. So the next one is really interesting. It’s find new ways to do old things, finding ways to do little things. And this is pretty simple. So when you’re cooking, you can teach fractions when you’re cooking, have them do the measurements, double a recipe, triple the recipe if you have to, just so that they can begin to figure out what the ingredients are and you can do math. I always love cooking with those kids and it’s really fun. I just never thought about having them actually do the measuring. So now I know that I’m going to help them with their math or go outside with them, give them a tape measure, have them measure the circumference of a tree. Um, but we’ve got to begin to think about how we can really put learning into all of the things that we do on an everyday basis.
Crystal Washington: We’re basically enrolling all of our children and home Montessori school for the most part, right? So this is a great opportunity to take everything that’s in their environment and try to make it more relatable and true. I think most of us at some point when we were in school ourselves, we’re like, okay, what does this have to do with anything? Well, the great thing is a parent. Now you have an opportunity to show them with just things that around the house, whether it’s taking them out into the yard for gardening, whether it’s cooking, like Karen said, whether it’s you have a leak under the sink and you’re showing them how plumbing works no matter what. I mean, there’s so many amazing life skills and learning opportunities at our fingertips if we’re just open to them. You know, and, and sometimes it is hard to be open when we’re stressed out. You know, we’re just trying to make it, but I just encourage everybody to try to be open because sometimes these experiences are what will keep the kid’s attention even more than those, those zoom calls or the worksheets that they’re working on at home.
Karen McCullough: Right. And I think thinking of, uh, rewards, I think it’s really important to begin to have rewards because they miss their friends.
Karen McCullough: They’re sad. They’re lonely. They, you know, they, they may have a zoom call with their classmates, but that’s not like playing with them. That’s not like going outside and getting on the jungle gym and techie. They can’t even touch jungle gyms today. I mean, it’s just so, it’s so bizarre. And if we think it’s bizarre, think of what they’re going through. So you’ve got to really make it fun. Um, one of the ideas that I got from one of the families that I talked to was a reward and it was a reward that came from, I don’t know if any of you watch the reality show Lego masters. I’m going to take, we’re going to talk about games on Friday and I’m going to share that game with you. But the kids actually score points and they get these little discs and when they get 10 disks, they can play this Lego masters game and it’s a lot of fun and they think about it all the time because it includes the whole family. So I think you’ve got to begin to think of rewards that are teachable. You know, the teaching moments at it, right? But that are also fun and give the kids something to look forward to.
And I love that you’re closing with doing old things in a new way. Karen, something I just saw three days ago is that one of my girlfriends has a daughter who, I think she’s maybe about three or four. And so what she did was she missed all of her friends and her friends are spread out all over the place. And so they set up, they send out the little email invitations and text message to the parents, a tea party and uh, invitation. And so they all had a virtual tea party. All the mommies prepared little tea for the little girls. They had their little finger sandwiches, they were all dressed up and here they were on zoom. All having tea together and chatting. And so we can do, yeah, we can make this fun for the kids and we can make it fun for the parents as well. You know, just take a moment to breathe.
Karen McCullough: Think about what the kids will enjoy, think about what you’ll enjoy, and then let’s make the best out of what we have. And don’t be so stuck on that schedule. Let it go. Let it go for a while. You’ve got to just keep your sanity. Keep everybody as happy as possible. Get a little bit of work done and maybe drink a little wine. Ooh, and with that, let’s go and drink some wine. Bye, everybody.