The Marketers Club Podcast
How to Manage Kids, Work From Home and Survive Isolation

In this episode I'm joined by Australia's leading parenting expert Michael Grose. He shares some valuable strategies about how to develop structures, create routines and make the juggle of raising kids and working from home functional.

Many parents are getting a crash course in home schooling their children, while they try to keep a business running. This wouldn't be easy in the best of times and with the added pressure of having to live in isolation thanks to COVID-19, the challenge just got even tougher.

To learn how to make it work and maintain your sanity take a listen to what Michael suggests. Even if you're not a parent, or don't have kids at home anymore, there's still plenty of valuable ideas you can apply about designing your own structures and rituals that will help to maintain your mental health.

#35 How to Manage Kids, Work from Home and Survive Isolation
Discover how to create routine, build structures and design an environment that works for your family
Episode #35 Running time 43:45
Michael first appeared as a guest on the show in episode 8 where he shared his wisdom about Authorship and Authority. Listen to that episode HERE
Show Notes:

00:00:11:21 - 00:00:26:28
Warwick: Welcome to the marketers club podcast the show all about helping you work smarter earn more and accelerate your success. And now here's your host Paul McCarthy

00:00:30:19 - 00:01:17:26
Paul: So hello and welcome to episode 35 of the marketers club podcast I am your host Paul McCarthy and I'm here to help you market your talent so you can earn what you're worth and ultimately make more of a difference in the world. Great to have your company again. Welcome back to the show and of course if you're joining us for the first time welcome aboard. Great to have you here. You know we've been living through some really challenging times and certainly living in isolation has been a stress for many of us trying to get our head around how to do that and maybe there's the first signs of a bit of hope at the end of the tunnel a bit of light coming in and we're all hoping it's not another train coming the other way but the sign that maybe some of these restrictions will begin to be lifted and we can get back to something a little bit closer to what we would call life as normal.

00:01:17:28 - 00:02:19:23
Paul: But we've had to struggle our way through living in isolation and we've been forced to go home and start to work from home. But many people not only having to adjust to working from home but they've had to adjust to doing it with a family at home with them having to school their children having to look after young children without the support networks that they used to having. And that is adding another stress and tension for so many people. So I've asked Michael Grose who's one of Australia's leading parenting experts to join me. He was a guest on Episode 8 of the marketers club podcast where we had him on to talk about authorship and authority as an author of 11 books. He certainly knows his topics he was sharing more about his insights into being able to position yourself as an authority and developing that authorship skill up. But in this episode I've asked him to come on and talk about his area of expertise in terms of parenting. How do we survive this time if we're at home with children.

00:02:19:25 - 00:03:35:03
Paul: How do we keep them engaged in their own learning how do we keep them occupied and keep them interested in things and developing and growing while we get busy doing business and keep having the ability to pivot what we're doing and focus on growing our companies how do we do all of that. And that's a real challenge. So I've asked Michael to come on and share some of those strategies with you. Now of course if you are a person who doesn't have children there are still many valuable lessons in this conversation with Michael about your own self care about building routines about structures that don't just apply to how you manage children but really how you manage your own mental health and your own strategies and processes for getting through this challenging time. I think one of the things that definitely has emerged for those parents out there that have perhaps having this school their children at home for the first time I saw a tweet from a man who said I've just completed my first 30 minutes of home schooling my child and I'm now convinced that teachers should be paid a million dollars a year. It's clearly not an easy job and I think that's perhaps one of the things that will come out of this experience is that we may re-evaluate just the value of some of the people in our community and just how valuable a great teacher is.

00:03:35:05 - 00:05:03:14
Paul: I'm sure you like I can remember back to that really special teacher or to you that really had a deep impact on you and they are you know really people who shape so much of who we become and great teachers something that we should continue to strive to develop and honor that profession because it is so important to us along with so many other professions I think that we've become more attuned to our nurses our doctors our police officers all of these people are so vitally important to the community that we have and perhaps are not always valued as highly as they need to be. But these are some of the lessons that may come out of this experience for all of us now. You know there's some funny jokes and maims and things going around I saw one that uh was marriage is like a game of cards at the beginning all you need is a couple of Hearts and a diamond but after a couple of weeks of isolation or you're looking for is a club and a spade and maybe you know some of the time in isolation is testing you as well and certainly if you add to that mix having children then there's another level of stress and pressure that comes with that. So I want to dive into my conversation with Michael Gross for you. Let's start talking about how you can manage your kids through these prices while you continue to grow your business. I want to keep you waiting any longer. Let's dive into it. Michael Gross. Welcome to the markets club podcast. Great to have you on the show again.

00:05:03:16 - 00:05:06:03
Michael: Thanks Paul. Lovely to be here.

00:05:06:05 - 00:05:53:01
Paul: Look we had a great conversation. If people haven't checked out that episode I'll put a links to it in the shownotes of this show. But you for those who aren't familiar with your you're arguably Australia's leading parenting expert and we've been obviously thrust into a very strange set of circumstances our lives have been turned upside down with coronavirus and now most if not all people are working from and many of those people have children and they have to juggle now managing their children and running a business and all of these elements so that we need to get you back on to maybe give us some strategy some ideas about how we can manage our way through this period because none of us are 100 percent sure how long it's going to last. So that's one of our issues.

00:05:53:03 - 00:07:24:18
Michael: It is isn't it. And I guess that's one of the things we've got to get a head around that it's not a sprint it's more a marathon. And I guess in some ways it's it's an opportunity. Doesn't quite look like it but for many many people I think it's gonna present a whole lot of challenges working at home or having a family who's at home. But it also a flip side of that. There are some opportunities and gives you a chance to have a reset as well. What I call a family reset so I'll be looking for a mentor with lots of metaphors. And how do we reframe is something that the lockdown is not a great metaphor. But I think as I'm looking at this it's more like a cocoon so the cocoon is know the bottom of the caterpillar goes in the cocoon and comes out the other side of something different. So I think we're sort of cocooning ourselves. That's the concept which Faith Popcorn created in the 60s and 70s and said we're all creating getting curtains and getting getting all our services brought up to our home. So that cocooning concept is something which people might be familiar with but also to extend that a little bit it's also that while we're in that recurring something's happening something we're changing where we're going to emerges as something different and hopefully we're going to emerge as something you know a better version of ourselves particularly better version perhaps about family and the way that we relate to our kids.

00:07:24:20 - 00:08:46:15
Paul: Well I think you're right. It's been interesting for me that I've had lots of conversations with entrepreneurs people who are in varying stages of confusion and pain and distress with where their businesses are at. But I've also had conversations with people that are already saying if you're like a kind of a silver lining to this cloud where the intensity of their work has been forced to slide down and all of a sudden they're back with the kids in a family unit. And I've had quite a few emailing me actually talking about how much they're loving these kind of break from go go go and now I've got some time with the kids and doing that. So some people have already found the positive but I suspect most people are still kind of a little shellshocked and trying to make it work and that's why I wanted to get you on have a conversation about what we can do. So you know we talked off the air about some of these components so let's let's dive into them now. The first thing that you've talked about is that when kids go on school holidays or you know it's just a break that we we kind of lose all rhythm and we just do things and you kind of lose track of days. But I suspect that now we do not want to kind of live like that. And so your first point is that we need to put some structure around. So how do we create some structure for ourselves for our kids so that we can manage this new life that we're living.

00:08:47:18 - 00:10:00:13
Michael: Yeah. The notion of structure is if you've got an anxious child for example one of the things is they love that love structure. And we know that a lot of children when they go on holidays is interesting and after school holidays their routine is thrown out of kilter and some kids really struggle for two or three days to to get until I get a new holiday routine structure puts controlling we feel lot remotely more in control. If you've got kids on school holidays one of the things you'll notice is get up later and you might be working from home while your kids are on holidays and it gets really difficult because you're not sure what time they're getting up you may be in a structure but they're not. So when kids are at school. Let's talk about that when when kids were at school. I think we've got to really make sure that this structure mirrors what happens in a school day. So even if kids are working from home they need to be getting up at a reasonable time preparing as they normally would and then going into their lessons or the schooling at the same similar time to when they would at school need to have a bright so bit of a racist break and then back to school and then some lunch time and then you know after school that stop and they do other things so then we move into a different structure.

00:10:00:25 - 00:11:24:18
Michael: So it's almost like we have a schedule and it's a good idea to work a schedule if parents can meet with kids at the start of the day and if needed to be two to go through that schedule. And so that structure is important if we're going to get through this and it needs to be fluid. It also needs to be different on weekends. So one of the things we're all struggling with and I'll do on a personal level is how do I know the difference between during you can the weekends I used to look forward to the weekends. Friday nights. Fantastic. Have a drink with friends and away. Guys they've got a different structure and got something to look forward to. So if the week looks like the weekends and vice versa then it's going to be a struggle. So we need to put some structuring during the week which looks different on weekends so I relax and I loosen up what we mean by structure is having some routines having some rituals when you made as a family and when you separate as a family as well. So you got a structure you got someone generally who's going to be making sure that happens and that might be either person in the family might be mum might be dad who looks after. I'd prefer that to mix it around so maybe it's one parent looks after one day and another parent is the one who makes sure kids are doing something the next day. So you're sharing that load in lots of different ways.

00:11:25:00 - 00:11:30:00
Paul: Being careful not to create a good cop bad cop routine where only one person is in charge of structure.

00:11:30:15 - 00:12:49:29
Michael: Yeah that's what happens most of the time I call it. I call it that the primary there's a primary parent a secondary parent and the primary parent is is the one who's who is calling the shots. And usually that's the one who's who's when life's normal. That's the one who actually turns around to the other ones that you've got to pick him up off to school or can you make sure that they go off to school looking in a certain way. And that's usually the primary parent. The second parent that's the one who says OK I'll do that having my 15 but it's always one who takes responsibility. So and I think it's a useful thing. So there's a sort of a tip there is don't fall back into traditional roles. Male female role start looking at what needs to be done start looking at if you're both working try to fit in this family routine around you all around your working routine as well so you sort of share that load. So it is a little bit like good cop bad cop on what actually happens is the parent who spends more time with kids enjoying all this thing and ensuring things happen as they invariably end up being the bad cop we get worn out and kids get used to that same voice sometimes. And that's why the other parent sometimes comes home and all of a sudden they're the good cop I've done nothing but their kids are happy to say that because they're a fresh voice.

00:12:50:01 - 00:14:07:13
Michael: So it's keeping the voices fresh. Keeping yourselves fresh as well so sharing that load is important. And my research very early on when I got into parenting in the 90s that showed that when difficult circumstances occur structure's important and also have family meetings are important as well. So in Australia where it tend to be fairly laid back and fairly light side fare in the way we we go about how family lives as well as our working lives a structure and I brought my kids up you know early days with a family meeting structure. So we've used that word structure too much. They were probably overusing it but we used to make once a week and we used to talk about family stuff. What's going on. We should talk about routine things. Who's doing what. What's happening this week. And we also used to use it to resolve problems which was you know I noticed kids that one siblings get used with sibling one of you is getting up the nose of another one. Now let's let's think about that. Let's have a chat about what's going on there. And so we see that on a regular basis the two or three years when the kids return early to middle primary school and then we would do it on a regular basis but we still met when one of the kids would say we need a meeting which was which was a message to say we need to sit down and talk about this.

00:14:07:16 - 00:15:57:15
Michael: And so what the kids learn and what we learnt we were able to teach kids is that this is how we tool this is how we resolve problems. And it also gives them a vehicle of a voice to impact on the family because what we notice is when these difficulties occur there someone needs to be in charge and the best parenting model is a consultative model. So it's called authoritarian. I'm sure listeners might not be aware this tends to be three sorts of parents is the autocratic do this and do as I say that was my dad. Many of you would have sort of been brought up with parents who were very much those you know on the bus fitting with May you put them with me and I'll be right. So that's an autocratic approach. There's another approach which is what we call life's a fare which is she'll be right whatever you think is is fine. You know you can just you're fine you know it'll be okay. So that's very much a hands off and there's a consultative approach which is when we tend to consult with kids there will be a parent who will actually lead the way that will ask kids you know just come on let's have some input you know we've got some problems in in the living room or we've got problems living with each other now how do we sort this out. Rather than coming in the a heavy handed way so that consultative approach is called the authoritative approach. You could go to survival for this topic as parents. You need to really come along from that authoritative approach which is listen to your kids. But don't be afraid to to lead those families work well when someone's in charge. It's a good idea if its parents. So your management style doesn't have to be autocratic. It can be a little bit more consultative and bring kids along with you and listening to kids.

00:15:57:17 - 00:16:25:05
Paul: Michael if we're going to add and I say add for some people maybe there are people that already have meetings as families. But if we're going to add this idea of a regular meeting and I guess if we apply the the frame of a business meeting where we go in and if there's an agenda and those sort of things but when we're thinking about our meetings here what are we. What are we paying attention Sarah. Is there an agenda for these meetings. How do we run them.

00:16:25:07 - 00:17:31:22
Michael: The biggest problem is they turn into wind session work. Well when you start off without a pleasant activity so sometimes it can be after you've had a meal or you've done something pleasant together which which gets kids in the mood you don't necessarily hold it in the same place as where you have fun. It is a little bit about business. So we used to run these in another room or at a small table and we had a little agenda and we we'd start off and we go around. We say what's working well in the family or anyone got something decent to say and use your own language is it can pick up my own language just fairly relaxed so pick up the language what's the kid use. Anyone got anything nice to say about each other when they were very young we used to use a thing called a talking stick. If you wanted to talk you'd have to pick up this particular stick Mr. pass rather. So that's a teaching mechanism to teach kids to to not to speak over each other. So starting off with some some sort of complements and then a little agenda is what is usually start off with with some low level things. Okay. Well let's look at average change. What's what's working what's not and even just go through that. So you might have a child's roster get out the chores roster and go right let's say to work well you have a few problems.

00:17:31:24 - 00:19:13:03
Michael: Johnny with doing such and such. Any issues there. Yeah well Jake it's okay. And so you can sort of talk along those that Western just looking at what's happening and retains and then the third level is any problems or any issues. So it works really well if you can put a little agenda on this on a board and kids can add something before and so it's suddenly not sitting there going. All right. We've got a little problems and suddenly little Johnny puts his hand up and said Yeah. She gives me the air he is what it's not to be trained up like that and then that's all. So it's it's best if we've got an agenda on the board which kids can add to. So we go encouragement or pleasant activity start off with family routines and then the next thing is some some problems which we might want to do some sorting out with. And then the last is we finish up with something pleasant. So the pleasant thing in our families was we see a pocket money at that stage. So that made sure they sat down and paid attention to you as a parent. The tricky thing is here and there is a tricky thing. So I always kind of work. Well you've got to be willing to stick things which kids suggest maybe you think you're not going to work. So if a child says I'll make sure I'll hang the towels up put the towel racks too high. If you come out with a towel rack I'll hang the towels up. So I thought that pasta. You're not going to sort of get called out on that one. And so we talk that through. You've got to talk that sort of stuff through. And the real issue that he was reasonably lazy and so we talked that through and the best thing you needed to do. We all talked it through was probably as soon as you finished it hanging out rather than going to a rotating jury.

00:19:13:05 - 00:20:49:19
Michael: And so a lot of it's really common sense things but it's a give. It's more of a vehicle for how we can work together as a family on a day to day week to week basis rather than always being reactive. And the other thing was sometimes if there was an issue when siblings start to live together in confined spaces they're going to get on each other's nerves. And many parents if you're used to solving their problems as most of us are we're going to have to get them to resolve their own issues. So one of the ways we can do that is if you've got a something which a child wants to really talk about. You can actually turn around say yeah I can say she's getting up your nose now have to think about what the real issue is. Is it about space. Is it about she's not being fair or whatever it is put her on the agenda and we can talk about it at the meeting. Well we found that often the kids we got great. I'll do that. And often by the time we got to the meeting and talked about that particular little issue it was resolved itself or a child thought it through because they actually had to sit back and and think about it and sorting through it. It's not a hard and fast thing. You've got to make it work yourself. But to me the biggest issue is the fact that it is a little bit of a thing. It's not sitting down having a chat around the meal it's right. This is a myth. This is a mating time. Keep it moving. Even if it goes three or four minutes right. Nothing else. Okay. Let's go off. Usually they go for 10 15 20 minutes maximum just an opportunity for family to meet together to sorts and stop that in a in a reasonable sort of way. And they need to be firmly led by a parent.

00:20:49:21 - 00:21:07:18
Paul: And you mentioned one thing in relation to the meeting that you would hope you would go off into a different room sit around a table. Which leads me to another point. It is this idea of creating an activity zone so creating different zones in the house so how do we do that and why do we need to do that.

00:21:07:20 - 00:22:10:22
Michael: It's a concept which you're probably aware of from Michael Grindle which is location carries memory. People might know what they think back where when they first heard the Princess Di Di for example can almost go back remember where you are. Most people remember where they are when Princess Di died. If you're my generation you leave in no way. You were when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. So there's a concept called location carries memory and it's a really useful one to have we feel it within a family so. So that basically means always recommend to people that you need your talking spot. So you need a spot at home where you can talk to your kids. Often it's when they're in bed. You can go in there and they're relaxed and you can have a chat to them or around the kitchen table. That's a place where you can relate. Or it might be a couple of chairs where you're really relaxed. It may be even for you you might be in the car while driving with your kids where you raised me relaxed and the chat happens. Now the chat will happen if you don't contaminate it without the stuff.

00:22:10:24 - 00:23:14:19
Michael: So if you constantly fight at the kitchen table with your kids that's not going to be a talking place. That's a place which we relate to to conflict. If you are abusive or you tell your kids off or you're angry with your kids we embed that to them is not going to be or to use going to be a conducive place for conversations. So it's a matter of keeping them separate in a very corporate sense and I'm sure people will recognize that. But I work in a school sense I know a lot of a lot of principals and will have two offices. They'll have an office where they'll meet with parents and have that friendly marketing meetings welcome to my school place. Then they'll also have another office where they have serious conversations and they don't mix the two up. And so having those spaces for conversations is important but it's also having those spaces for different activities and zones which are important particularly when we're going to be all living together and we're all doing different things which often we'll do outside. So designs can be a chill out zone.

00:23:14:21 - 00:24:29:25
Michael: You need a calm zone and that might be a bean in a corner of the room where there's some headsets and all the rest of it where kids can go and just chill. So that means that that's protected in a way. So if the kids are actually suddenly playing a game or a rowdy zap game around that zone while that contaminates that so keep it separate. Another zone might be a work sign. Paul you've got an office there and I bet the kids don't go in to mess around in your zone and that's your work sign so you need a little work sign at home or at home but also to be talking a lot about personal learning centres but if you've got an older child who's who's in the upper end of secondary school they probably need a personal learning centre which is which might have a screen which might have a comfortable area it may have some books etc. And that becomes an area an area where they only go to to study and to learn and then they move away from that. They can do something else and they can feel quite different. But when they move into that space they're in that work study zone. So it's looking at little zones around you around your place and it can be you'll need a noisy activity zone a little area where some place where you kids can go and mess around it etc. You need a quiet place you need a place which is a workplace as well so just have a look.

00:24:29:27 - 00:25:52:05
Michael: Have you ever think about one of your prime activities that you do. My wife now is sewing a lot. She's been she's going and making my successor so she's volunteering and doing that. So she's set up her her sewing machine on our dining room table. So we haven't got people around coming round and using up our dining room table. That's then that's a spot. And if she wants to go I am where I can do that. She goes to that particular spot and does it then it doesn't bother me if she was doing that somewhere else went round when we're supposedly watching TV or sharing some time together that would get up my nights but because she goes to that that activity that separates us as well and also make sure that that activity happens in that spot depends on this on activities which you have your kids have and you have and also the size of your home will dictate that as well. But it's important it should set them up. You might have to head to a couple of activities because in a particular place and so be it because now you know you might find that a child's going to do a project you know his own hobby or project we stamp collecting or whatever it is in a place which is also the complex. But you might not be able to get it right around that but it's important you don't have too many activities only once in one space or place because that will contaminate that and it means it's you know you've just lost the whole idea of zoning.

00:25:52:07 - 00:26:15:03
Paul: That's great advice so I appreciate that Michael and as you say we've got to work with that space. We've got some of us have bigger houses and others and. And so we might have a few more designs available to us. But just being aware of the ability to contaminate a space by doing you know playful things and having hard conversations in the same space might make it a bit tricky. So we need to create some separation.

00:26:15:09 - 00:27:21:26
Michael: Yeah. You know the thing around that is not just separation but I was also just thinking about what kids wear and perhaps even what you wear. And this is the brown triggers. So clothing is a trigger for work and a trigger for pleasure and it's a trigger sometimes for relationships. And this is a big controversy because I know some schools some some private schools are insisting that kids wear school uniforms when they are doing schoolwork at home and other schools aren't insisting on that at all. And I've had some discussions with parent friends who find it a bit whimsical and a bit funny the fact that their child needs to dress up in a uniform to go to school even when they're not at school. But whether it's a uniform like dressing or not I think it's worth thinking about keeping some clothing aside which is more about work clothing which triggers the fact that I'm at school and off to school I can change is something different also triggers in them not they're not at school anymore they can relax I can have their own time so I had to think about as parents about triggers.

00:27:21:28 - 00:27:56:01
Michael: I personally on a personal level I believe in that. And one of the things I'm putting into place now because I do work from home is that I'll change my clothes around because I need that break. I need something to trigger me that Monday is different than Tuesday that choose I slept with them Wednesday. I must admit I'm still wearing the same clothes soccer players on the weekends that I am on during the week which is you know at the moment I'm wearing a hoodie and a T-shirt but I'm wearing a different hoodie today than I would have worn yesterday. And I guess these little disciplines that we need to be putting in place with ourselves and also with our kids.

00:27:56:03 - 00:28:26:27
Paul: One of the things Michael here is is obviously that particular I think for people who have younger children at home there is now very little chance for people to get a break. Yeah that's right. And maybe you know maybe your partner is off at work and is still able to get out maybe they've lost their job and they've got both parents at home. So how do we how do we share the duties and the workload and give people a break when you can't get out and have the natural breaks that the parents would get from from the younger children.

00:28:27:02 - 00:29:33:11
Michael: It's certainly going to be a mental shift and the mental shift is first and foremost it is about self care. So you yourself as a listen to this. Running a business and also raising a family. You need to look after yourself. Australian parents have been really good at putting themselves last. You know they'll run around driving kids here there and everywhere to get so the kids can enjoy life so they can get the best very best but often they'll put their own activities on hold while I do that. I guess that's a generational shift. My parents who were brought up in the 30s there's now why nine I would have done that. It was they look after themselves first because they knew in a way that if I can get a good feed then I'm gonna be able to look out look out for my kids. So there has been that shift because we've been reasonably well off. We've been able to do that. And I think you forgot to be in the long term. And I've seen enough. I know families fall down when the main breadwinner or the main parent can't cope. It's just as simple as that. And I was involved with you in a program where parents whose kids were drug dependent and they were pretty desperate.

00:29:33:15 - 00:30:36:04
Michael: They attended the program the first thing they did in that particular program was give parents permission to have some time away. So the first thing we did was we we sent them away together for weekends so that I could just connect as if I had a partner that I could connect and just have a break and then I got into the real work. Now what are we gonna do with our kids. So gonna give himself permission to have a break self so make sure you got something yet which you're looking forward to a day. Try not to be alcohol what we're finding is a lot of people are drinking more. It's a discipline to stay away from. But what do you got in your life at the moment that is separate from your kids and your work. I'm a big believer for good mental health you'd need to be creative. I've got a family member now who's full on in the mix of raising kids. He's in a high managerial position and he's got two kids under the age of four and he's working from home and his wife studying so he's full on into it he likes sprayed but I've noticed in these last three weeks he's moved away from baking bread to it.

00:30:36:06 - 00:31:43:09
Michael: He's done crissonts he's done brioche is gone. Fancy one of the races he's gone fancy as it's now a creative outlet for him. So whatever your outlet is whether it is creative and I think creativity is something we underestimate or whether it's sporting or physical. You need that outlet. You need something you look forward to each day. And I guess that brings us to your original question is what about your partner. If they're struggling they need to have the same thing. They need to have an outlet. So we all need something in our lives which particularly we can look forward to each day. So that might mean that you if you're working really hard on your business you might have to cut back a bit and take some responsibility away from your partner and say Now I got the kids for an hour get lost. Go and go into your room and go and listen to headphones or whatever you need to do. And then I'll give them that break and vice versa. So they need to give you make sure that you have an opportunity for break as well. So what we need to be doing is supporting each other with our parenting.

00:31:43:11 - 00:32:27:16
Michael: What's happening now of course is that we used to be able to look outside our family with you know mums and dads will be able to go for a walk with other moms and dads with the kids. And so you'd have that right or you'd have a grandparent coming in or careless coming in to give you that. Right. So we're not getting that parents aren't getting that break and I'm getting the feedback that parents aren't getting that. That's right. And you know that and it's stressful. And you know it's starting to show. So it's really important to think not just along the traditional roles and lines but look at how you can support each other by giving each other some time off. And that means that you know you've got to take responsibility and look out after the kids for an hour or so whatever that hour whatever that time is each day.

00:32:27:18 - 00:32:59:27
Paul: Well I think it's going to be really important for all of our respective mental health that we are giving ourselves and both and it is one of those real put your own oxygen mask on first because if you if you fail then then they could cause havoc for the kids. So want to wrap up on a on a final point with you Michael which is really about how we get the kids involved in instead of developing projects and doing things together how do we how do we engage them in the process as opposed to imposing things on the kids.

00:32:59:29 - 00:33:59:25
Michael: Yes. It's an interesting. It's a good point. What I'm saying at the moment is a lot of busyness you know how do I keep my kids busy. There's a lot of really cool keep us keep you keep busy projects not projects but activities on online and I saw came up on my whatsapp feed that my daughter did a fantastic little odd activity with her four year old son which made a little volcano which is great on a Sunday afternoon. And that's that's terrific. And that's probably as long a project as you can do with the four year old but as the school age and even into secondary school age start looking at more significant projects that than just keeping them busy and these can be things that you're interested in or or activities and hobbies that they may show an interest in and in some ways it goes back to when we were young that we tended to be involved in hobbies.

00:34:00:00 - 00:35:11:10
Michael: That was more I remember I used to collect stamps and I collected coins etc. And that's just that. That's a hobby and it's longer. And it's something which we get lost in the technical term now is flow. So it's something which we create some sense of flow in. So I look for more significant activities so we can suggest to kids you might want to initiate one. So a jigsaw puzzle is quite popular at the moment. That's why you might want to initiate a jigsaw puzzle like that. Or it might be building something that the kids are interested in that goes over a period of time. Interestingly enough my granddaughter in Sweden who's the age of seven she's creating a little online fashionista series of videos for her friends and her mom who's Kroc creative itself. She's just adding another little layer of expertise around that so it's quite cute. It's driven by that. Bye bye Astrid. But it also there's a layer of professionalism because of moms in that field sized. Is sort of less than one lesson too. And really it's just a little little tacky they're showing how how that can make up and how you can look after yourself and hey you can make this.

00:35:11:12 - 00:36:57:29
Michael: It's an example of a project so it can be baking. It can be making but needs to be led by kids. Now I'm sad to say now this coming more and more through just this movie will start to happen away from just the busyness to more significant. And again I'm gonna say this is from the Swedish idea of the Nordic idea the Swedes and Finns live so much of their winter inside the cocoon is not new to them. They live a lot of their time inside government for years has been encouraging kids a young age to take up hobbies to take up significant projects and they're free. So while we in Australia tend to get our kids involved in things which may be good for their leisure maybe sport but also a lot of the activities are around learning about getting a head start in life. For For school they're more involved in lifelong activities and hobbies. So So kids have something to sustain them during those long dark winter periods and also they become activities and they become interested as adults. So this may provide you with opportunity as a parent for your child to discover something which is they're really interested in and it might be a passion. And usually they're the things which gives them joy they're the things that they keep going back to again and again. You have to crawl them away from the side come on come and have a meal come and eat. And that's a guide that sometimes one of their passions. So you can somehow turn that passion into a hobby and do your project in this difficult time then you may actually be turning them into and they could be a future job that you're pointing towards.

00:36:58:01 - 00:37:20:17
Paul: Well it's great advice and I think it is about doing things that are a bit more purposeful than doing so that just these busy tasks and just keeping people occupied because this could go on for quite some time and it's gonna be important for kids to do more than just fill in time. This is an opportunity for people to really discover some of their passions and their creativity and explore that.

00:37:20:19 - 00:38:47:01
Michael: Yeah yeah. Look it is it is. And I guess if there's any advice to it as well it's done try too hard. Don't be hard on yourself. Cut yourself some slack. These are really difficult times so the first thing we need to do is it's about survival self survival. So I don't think your eyes have to solve the problems to kids. I think that we need to take a little step back. I talked before about managing things that's when we've got the structure going on when they're at school then or when they're being homeschooled etc.. That's important but they have some substructure you know I have to lead that. But once that's over I think it's important that we relax a little bit as parents and chill out and allow kids to get a bit bored. Don't always have to fill that void. That's not your role. And I'm always reminded that the happiest family the most harmonious families have always been those in the South Pacific. And one of the reasons is they just like spending time with each other just hanging out. And I do a lot. I just hang out together and we in Western societies we try and put a lot of things in place. How do I talk to my kids how do I do this how do I do that. Their secret to happiness is I think that they have a strong food culture that helps but it also it's just a lot about hanging out just helping out I chill out and they enjoy each other's company because they do that. So maybe that's the best thing we can do. Anything comes out of this is we actually get to enjoy each other's company and we might actually find out as well that it's not teachers that are the problem here.

00:38:47:04 - 00:39:22:04
Paul: Oh we're going to learn a lot and now we're at home and I guess I'm perhaps in between phases because I only got one child left at the end of their high schooling years and and and my two older girls so we're in a different space again. But I do I do feel for people who have the younger children and trying to manage life and home life and business and all of those things together so I really appreciate you coming on to share some wisdom now. I suspect that you're doing programs and you have many great insightful so if people want to reach out to you Michael is the best place for me to go and learn from you.

00:39:22:12 - 00:40:07:03
Michael: that I knew is our Website that is the one to use. I'm writing a lot about this particular issue as well as other issues. And you should be able to get a an E-guide which is which I created which is I call it like in family guide. So that's a downloadable guide which is available which you can just share with your partner and has some of the ideas that we talked about plus quite a few more. I talked about how important it is to spend some family time but also important is to spend time on your own. That's some stuff. So everything's there. dot and I'd love you to follow me and sign up to our newsletter and we'll make sure you get plenty of wisdom coming into your inbox.

00:40:07:05 - 00:40:14:16
Paul: Well that'sgreat. I really appreciate your time and you sharing your wisdom as always. You're a legend so thanks for making time to join us today.

00:40:14:18 - 00:40:16:11
Michael: Thanks for Paul. Thanks very much.

00:40:16:13 - 00:42:11:26
Paul: So I hope you enjoyed that conversation with Michael Gross. I think there's lots of great valuable information packed in there for us and as parents you know making sure that we're paying attention. Maybe not just keeping our kids busy that we need to make sure that we are giving them the opportunity to explore other passions. I know that in my household that my son has. You know a very passionate soccer player has uh also found a passion and an interest in art. And he's been painting and you know is getting out canvases and just really enjoying exploring that creative element. My daughter who we featured a song from her in the last episode is just busily recording tunes all of the time. Now the door is into you know puzzles and keeping herself occupied with uh games and testing a mind like that so we're gonna keep finding things that are gonna be deeper passions maybe not just keeping the kids busy but unlocking potentially something that could become really valuable to them in the future. I think there's no doubt that we will emerge from this experience in a very different place and there's an opportunity for us to take many learnings out of this. And of course as Michael pointed out even if you don't have children just thinking about your own self care thinking about the routines that you're keeping how you're building some structure of yourself thinking about things like triggers and the clothes that you wear I mean is very easy to sort of fall out of bed and roll over in your pajamas and sort of start work but maybe you know we need to break that kind of casual Friday mindset that we used to have in the office and think about what we're wearing and how we're turning up to work and giving ourselves some of the triggers to know when we're on and when we're off and those lines can easily get blurred when you're at home and work is home and kids are there and it's all happening at the same time.

00:42:12:01 - 00:43:28:12
Paul: So it's really important that we keep paying attention to our own self care as well. Putting your oxygen mask on making sure you're looking after yourself because if you go down then really that the whole family is going to suffer. So I'd take care of yourself is I guess that the key message that we wanted to share with you in this as you were looking after your kids were all. As Michael pointed out very good at putting our kids first and sometimes it's about giving them some space to do some figuring out on their own as well. So I trust that you get some value out of it that you've enjoyed that conversation. And I thank you again for joining me and for all the feedback and the reviews that we're getting this show is really blossoming only because of you. It's thanks to you listening and sharing it and reviewing it and commenting on it that really helps the show to continue to reach more people and that's our goal is to continue to stretch out and support as many business owners and business leaders as we possibly can and continue to bring you content and information that's going to help you do what you want to do more effectively. So until we see each other or talk to each other again next week I wish you all the very very best of luck with your business. But much more important than with your lives. Take care bye for now.

If you want to learn more about Michael Grose and Parenting Ideas you'll find everything you need on the website HERE
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