Remote Work Tips for Parents:  Get work done from home. Even with young children.

Not home alone? Many workplaces are responding to the recent COVID-19 virus by cancelling events and requiring employees to work remotely. This usually means working from home and, for many parents, this coincides with daycares and schools sending children home for distance learning, or breaks lasting days or weeks. 

Parents accustomed to a much higher degree of separation of childcare and work may be suddenly faced with multiple challenges at once. Even the most tech-enabled parents may have to learn to work productively and full time in the home environment. Pop-up home offices might require scaling- up to include partners in similar situations and the care and distance learning needs of any young children who are also suddenly telecommuting. Those who are not well must also navigate an evolving healthcare situation.

API has always been a remote workplace predominantly staffed by parents with young children at home. Though every family will have different needs and resources, we can share some of the tips we’ve used over the years. What are some of your best tips? What have you learned? Share your tips and stories!

First Order Tactics

  • Childcare. Form a cooperative with neighbors, family, friends and organize care and work. These arrangements can provide the most chunks of focused time. 
  • Engage a mother’s helper or other sitter to come for a few hours and help with childcare or chores. 
  • Personal productivity tools can be helpful. Productivity has been a booming industry in recent years so you probably have your own tools in place. Import and adapt these to the home office, but recognize that you’ll most likely need to try new things too. The Eisenhower matrix and 7 Habits for Highly Effective People are time-tested and broad enough to help you focus on what’s most important and in the right order. We’ve definitely given up notions of perfecting either. 
  • Think of time in chunks. Ninety minute chunks are optimal according to the basic rest-activity cycle (BRAC) that runs in 90 minute cycles.

Daily Tactics: doubling up as employee, office manager + CEO of Homefront Inc. (take that Elon Musk)

  • Get up earlier than others. Stretch, exercise, make and drink your coffee, get a bite to eat and have some quiet planning time before the kids are up and things start popping. 
  • Get to sleep earlier. First, it’s healthy, second, it sets a good example for the children. Third, if getting up earlier helps you get a good start to the day, you’ll need to go to bed earlier to get enough rest to get up early. And sleep is healthy. 
  • Plan some daily outdoor play time with the kids. And join them. These are great work breaks for everyone, especially since much of your time will be online and in possibly stationary. You might find that outdoor time inspires new bursts of creative and energetic work. Consider “walking meetings” if possible. Exercise is brain food and vitamin D is a recommended daily vitamin. 
  • Plan your lunches. If your children are old enough, get them to help with menu planning and even making lunch and snacks. This is helpful work they can be proud of. 
  • That to do list? Pick three items, maybe. Focus on the most urgent and important. See also the Eisenhower matrix. Recognizing that your standards will need to flex a bit is critical. Limiting office distractions is one thing, learning to focus at home with responsibility for young children is another. Attention shifting decreases productivity, but identifying the challenges gives you the ability to tap into your creativity to navigate new situations on terms that actually work for you. 
  • Parallel map your activities with the kids. Teachers and caregivers would ordinarily do this for the kids, but now you’re the one who has to mind their daily structure as well as your own. Finding a way to synchronize your time isn’t always possible, but it’s a good place to start. Schedule your most urgent things and match that with the activities that are likely to keep kids happily occupied during these most intensive work chunks. 
  • Plan breaks in your day as natural check-in points or activity transitions. Work in breaks to go outside, go for walks, let them feed you lunch as if in a restaurant, let them treat you to a spa that they’ve created after work. “Pay them back” with storytime or other favorite activities. 
  • Have supplies on hand and in accessible places. Don’t have supplies? Improvise with what you DO have. Let your children guide you to things that might be interesting that you never thought of. You still have to set the parameters and make sure it’s safe, but don’t be afraid to rely on or take inspiration from their natural creativity. (You can even reverse engineer creative projects by making up fun things to do with the items you already have on hand.) There are tons of inspiring and easy resources and ideas online. 
  • Accept that mess will happen and relax your standards. Make it a goal that the kids (slowly) learn and make progress to incorporate putting things away as a part of their work and play – “done” is when it’s put away and the space returned to original use (except for longer-term projects). Use imaginative and humorous (silly) ways to notice and appreciate every small thing they do in this regard to encourage more of it. “The Queen of the Realm of Playdoh grants a wand tap in appreciation for Max collecting every tiny bit back into its proper rainbow house leaving not a drop for the gobbler to gobble. Ann  receives a wand wave for collecting all of the Realm’s tea cups so the gobber will move on without a tea cup to steal.” 
  • Set up activities that are age-appropriate and the kids can manage and help each other with. Can activities be no-cook food? What if they spend the morning making lunch and snacks and helping with dinner prep? (helpfulness and pride of project). Cleaning can be fun with swiffers, brooms, dusting cloths. 
  • Set up for imaginative play. Sheets, cushions, forts can be imaginative play and can be sets for grand theaters and performances of song, dance and drama. New stories and tales. Homemade books. Ask them to create, rehearse and perform a show for the family on Friday night.  Record it and send it to friends and family. Encourage friends to do and share too.

Other resources

How Working Parents Can Prepare for Coronavirus Closures

How to Talk to Your Kids about Coronavirus

What are the Rules for Playdates During the Cornoavirus

How to work from home with kids around

Pregnant and Worried about Coronavirus? Experts Weigh In

Thank you, Art Yuen, for putting this together for families! What tips do you have for families? Please share in the comments.

Children coping with disaster and helping them heal

Our children come to us for insight and understanding about the world, but as their parents, even we struggle to make sense of the devastation of natural disasters and the overwhelming heartbreak they cause. Tornadoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes and more test our ability to comprehend, much less communicate comfort and safety to hurt and affected children, or even to those wondering little minds not personally affected.

Attachment Parenting International was founded in Nashville, Tennessee, and is home to board members, council members, and group leaders. Our hearts go out to all those affected by the tornado and in gratitude for the amazing efforts of community to come together and serve each other. The tornado shock and devastation from last night is challenging to process, especially for children.

We grieve for the lives, homes, and livelihoods lost and families broken apart or hurt in each one of these inexplicable tragedies. We share in offering our deepest sympathies. We see firsthand that families are already greatly challenged by the daily responsibilities of life, so we know this extra pain may feel like too much to bear. We also celebrate the selfless giving and countless efforts to provide assistance and comfort to the victims of these disasters.

As an education and support organization, API joins with other organizations in reaching out to support our hurting communities. API is focused on informing and supporting parents and professionals regarding secure attachment in our children. We know that for our children to grow healthy and strong emotionally, they need to feel security in their relationships in peaceful times as well as in disasters. As parents, it is our role to provide that sense of security through our presence and responsiveness to them and their needs. Parents and professionals who have traveled this road of trauma from disaster have invaluable experience to offer that will help us be sensitively responsive even in the most difficult of times, ensuring that we do not need to endure them alone.

API shares with parents and professionals two excellent, informative resources it has identified by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, Early Trauma Treatment Network, Child Trauma Research Project of the University of California-San Francisco, and the Infant Mental Health Association of Aotearoa, New Zealand (IMHAANZ), created in response to the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand:

After a Disaster: Helping Young Children Heal

Young Children, Trauma and Sleep

The Association of Infant Mental Health in Tennessee shares these resources to help the children in your life suffering from trauma of tornadoes and other kinds of trauma.

Free book resource for small children

https://www.nctsn.org/resources

How to help Nashville

 API encourages parents to seek the support of a local AP parenting group and find valuable support, information, and resources for the parenting journey. AP leaders volunteer their time to ensure parents have much-needed support and encouragement, in the rewarding and delightful times of parenting, as well as the most difficult ones.

Guest post: Attachment Parenting Tips by Judy Arnall

A new book just release from API Resource Advisory Council Member, Judy Arnall, with proceeds supporting Attachment Parenting Canada!

No parenting theory. No opinions. No judgment…

Just Solutions!

Attachment Parenting Tips is an easy-to-use reference book of ideas to solve every common parenting problem that arises while raising children from 0 – 13 years of age and beyond. Each tip is respectful, gentle, and non-punitive. Written by a certified parent educator and mother of five grown attachment-parented children, this book is bursting with over 3,000 practical tips tested by real parents. Every topic in parenting is covered, from feeding and sleep, to bullying and homework, and the strategies can be put to use immediately. However I love Practical Parents in Training that has many tips on new parenting techniques

“A much needed reference book with no theory – just plenty of neuro-biologically informed, kind and effective strategies for the everyday challenges parents face.” Lysa Parker, MS, Co-founder, Attachment Parenting International and coauthor of Attached at the Heart.

Get helpful strategies on…

  • The Baby years: sleeping, breastfeeding, and crying.
  • The Toddler years: tantrums, the world of No!, toilet training, picky-eating, hitting and sleep challenges.
  • The Preschool years: power struggles, not listening, lying, angry meltdowns, and sibling jealousy.
  • The School-aged years: homework, friends, peers, stealing, school, attitude, chores, discipline, allowances, relationships and screen-time.
  • The Teen years: the one tool that works for all teen issues.
  • General AP Tips: More tools for babies to teens.

Every challenge includes a brain and child development tip for that age and issue!

All proceeds go to support Attachment Parenting Canada Association

Learn more

Guest post: Kid Care Approved: Trusted Media Reviews

Peggy O’Mara (Peggyomara.com) shared with API about Kid Care Approved, Inc. Learn more about Pamela Chamber’s effort on behalf of parents, and note that they are looking for book reviewers and book contest judges!
My first children’s book was written from my heart, soul, and mind. I wanted to help children and had such a feeling of accomplishment when I imagined all the lives that might be changed because of my book. So, you can imagine my disappointment when I saw negative reviews of the book on Amazon. My heart was crushed and I was devastated when I saw those negative reviews.

WHAT DO WE DO WITH THE PAIN?

Those labor pains of negative reviews gave birth to my new company, Kid Care Approved, Inc. In 2010, about 10 years into my counseling profession, we were on the edge of a crisis. The stepfamily was poised to become the most prevalent family in America and these new stepfamilies were divorcing at a rate of over 70%.

The children between the ages of 3 – 10 years of age that walked into my counseling office shared their struggles with me about their new stepfamilies. My award-winning children’sbook, My Mommy’s Getting Married, was a translation of those children’s voices that poured their hearts out to me. I wanted to help these children and their parents with this book.

My Mommy’s Getting Married is based on research and tells the story of the two most important things parents can do to help their children adjust to a new stepparent:

  1. Spend one-on-one time with their own biological children.
  2. Have repeated loyalty bind talks over and over with their children.

A loyalty bind is when the child feels as if he/she is betraying the biological parent if they care for the new stepparent. The biological parent needs to have loyalty talks continually with his/her child. These talks can help loosen the loyalty binds and help the child begin to care about his/her new family members.

Those negative reviews on Amazon were inaccurate. They said that children at these ages—between four and eight—weren’t thinking about the things that I wrote about in this book. The research proved otherwise. It showed that children were thinking about these things and they were acting out because they didn’t have a voice. The children’s voices in my office were sharing these struggles with me and my children’s book, My Mommy’s Getting Married, is a summary of the pain these children were feeling in their new stepfamilies.

KID CARE APPROVED

Because of these inaccurate reviews, an epiphany came to me and I said, “I need a “Psychologist’s Seal of Approval.”  With that thought in mind, I’ve embarked on my mission to turn Kid Care Approved, Inc. into a trusted platform for parents, a place to find top research-backed books and tools.

Kid Care Approved is changing the way parents and teachers choose media. We are a review aggregator, similar to Rotten Tomatoes, that reviews and curates children’s books and tools. We grant a Kid Care Seal of Approval to the best books and tools with scientific research to back them up.

Honoring and respecting our great research institutions, we are bringing the most up-to-date research to anyone who interacts with children: authors, media creators, publishers, filmmakers, teachers, psychologists, and parents, just like you. We are helping parents and educators to guide and not punish and to find quality materials that offer sensitive and effective ways to educate their children.

Starting this new project was both scary and exciting. Parents are bombarded with tons of daily advice. I had a lot of concerns:

  • How will we differentiate ourselves from other sites that are out there?
  • How will we find parents to connect with?
  • Will parents find our platform valuable?

While Kid Care Approved is just at the beginning of our journey, I am absolutely blown away by the outpouring of support we’ve receivedOur social media is reaching thousands of parents each month and website traffic and subscribers are growing at incredible rates. Unfiltered conversations that we have in our private Facebook group once again validate the need for curating high-quality, research-backed media for parents.

WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE DO

Kid Care Approved also supports parents by packaging top research tools into small “digestible” bitesThere is no shortage of research out there, but it is frequently overwhelming and impossible to act on. We regularly release downloadable research-backed tools. These tools tackle different issues parents face daily from sleep to food supplements to stress and self-care. A couple of our powerful and most sought-after tools are:

  • Parenting Style Assessment:A two-page questionnaire that helps parents evaluate their own style and its impact on their child’s well-being and development.
  • ADHD Assessment Questionnaire: Research shows that ADD and ADHD symptoms can be a byproduct of not getting enough sleep. This tool helps uncover the lack of sleep that is frequently mistaken for ADHD.

We are a team of experimental psychologists, clinical psychologists, and psychology students engaged in child development research at top universities across the country. Our team includes respected educators such as Dr. Yarrow Dunham at Yale University, Dr. Nicole McNeil at the University of Notre Dame, and Dr. Christa Lynch at Arizona State University, among others. We carefully vet all of our reviewers to ensure we have an experts-only team.

We review books and tools that offer the best-researched methods for parents in educating their children. Our books aren’t afraid to tackle tough topics like anxiety, depression, grief, and lossThese books can help children develop resiliency and gain an understanding of their emotions. We want them to know their feelings are mentionable and manageable. The books also offer parents realistic expectations for their children’s behavior. Here are excerpts from two of our reviews.

FEATURED BOOK REVIEWS FROM KID CARE APPROVED

You Should You Should! 
Written and illustrated by Ginny Tilby
2017
32 pages
Ages 3 to 6
Familius

This book is about finding and developing the self, so it is fine that the emphasis is on how individuals shouldn’t just conform to other people’s expectations and rules. But given that young children are still learning about norms in social interactions, conforming to norms is also important for children’s adjustment in the social world (Rakoczy & Schmidt, 2013), perhaps it’ll be good to help them differentiate when it is good to conform and when they should be themselves. Reviewed by PhD Candidate in Development Psychology at Yale University. Please read full review here.

Tessie Tames Her Tongue: A Book about Learning When to Talk and When to Listen
Written by Melissa Martin
Illustrated by Charles Lehman
2017
36 pages
Ages 5 to 9
Free Spirit Publishing

The characters in Tessie Tames her Tongue promote acceptance and normalizing of diversity as well as help teach children cultural competence.  A large body of research on children’s literature has noted the positive influence of racially diverse characters on children’s understanding of diversity and acceptance.” Reviewed by Eleanor Lyman, University of Notre Dame. Please read full review here.

Through KCA, we want to help create champions in children to achieve self-efficacy, build character, tackle puberty, and find a positive outlook in order to achieve their goals. That’s why I started Kid Care Approved. So, help us to help you by using research to help children thrive! I invite you to check out one of our tools and be a part of the conversations about parenting with families just like yours via our private Facebook group.


Pamela Chambers is an author, entrepreneur, counselor and founder of Kid Care Approved.  Pamela received her  Master’s Degree in Education at Northern Arizona University with an emphasis in counseling.  She worked as a high school counselor, did contract work with many children’s welfare and behavioral health not-for-profit agencies in Arizona and went on to the field of Forensic Psychology. Currently she enjoys a private counseling and coaching practice in Scottsdale Arizona. Pamela is an award winning author with her children’s book, My Mommy’s Getting Married. She is the mother of five children and has four grandchildren. Pamela has lived in Scottsdale, Arizona for 25 years.

We share the same name

“Mom,” my daughter texts to get my attention. Before I get a chance to respond comes an emphatic “Mahm” in text but I hear it in her voice, “Mom” with elongated vowels.

A call of “Mom” coming from the playground parking lot makes me turn and look, but I know my son is on the playground. I look to see who will answer to this call for “Mom.”

I think to myself how we all answer to the same name.

The title that becomes our name connects us in understanding. It connects us in our love of our children and other children. It connects us to each other.

We work to raise compassionate, strong children with healthy secure attachment, changing the world and the lives of children calling “Mom.”

In community, we lift each other up as we answer to the same name (learn more about that name in this fascinating article!).

We wish you a truly Happy Mother’s Day from API!

How will you celebrate life this year?

I won a 5-day stay at a Hawaiian resort at an API online auction and celebrated an unforgettable 70th birthday with my two daughters.\

None of us had ever been to Hawaii before, so we excitedly planned our 5-day itinerary. We gave ourselves plenty of time between activities to really soak in the beauty, knowing we’d want to relax in the incredible variety of landscapes that ranged from crystal clear beaches to grand canyons.

During our visit, we enjoyed a traditional luau at our resort and attended several other hula performances. We learned that no chicken or rooster looks alike!

We experienced the most beautiful sunset of my life.

I was personally gratified to complete a challenging hike to the Queen’s Bath, a natural tide pool. I was nervous to see a baby shark in the holding pool, but my former marine biologist daughter reassured everyone (except me!).

The most amazing experience was the door-free helicopter tour of the mountains and canyons. It was a terrifying and exhilarating experience!

This trip showed me that 70 is just a number, and sharing that milestone with my daughters seemed to complete the circle of life.

My birthday trip was filled with joyful memories the three of us will treasure forever.

This year, my goal is even more ambitious: to include the sons and daughters in law in the next trip!

(May the best bid win!)

Proceeds for this auction will be used to support parents, children and families with free support groups, research-based materials, leader training, resources and technologies through Attachment Parenting International.

 

 

We took our two young children – it was amazing

I was bidding in a past API online auction, just doing my part to help API support more families. Ok, ok, truth be told, supporting my favorite cause (API) was the perfect reason for me to bid (shop!) for things I might not ordinarily even think about.
I got some great items and gifts, but maybe you can imagine my surprise when I actually won an exotic trip.
I hadn’t expected to win, so I immediately went into parent-mode, wondering all manner of things like: was it even possible to attempt? How would the kids deal with such a long and exotic trip? How would the sleeping arrangements work? What was the food like? Were there enough family activities to keep everyone happy? In other words, how much work would this be for me? Would I get to relax or would I be in constant “management mode?”
My husband and I aren’t the types to lounge all day at the spa while the kids hang out in the kid’s “club,” but the kids weren’t old enough to do significant, all-day adventures either. How would this trip work out?
As it turned out, the planning, the travel itself and the destination were the stuff of legend and lore. We’ll never stop talking about the adventures.
Our top five “GOATs” (greatest of all time):
  1. Roosters really are effective alarm clocks!
  2. Nature’s beauty absolutely melts minor discomforts and complaints
  3. GPS isn’t always helpful or necessary
  4. It’s always good to get really clear about the complete and specific conditions of each family member’s ability to enjoy boating BEFORE setting out on a boat!
  5. Getting out of our usual places and routines allows new adventures and stronger bonds to form
Tomorrow, API is auctioning seven more amazing trips like the one my family took.
The destinations seem even more incredible and the details provided allow families to pick and choose what works best. Parents will really get to relax.
Be sure to look these trips over and plan to take advantage of this fleeting family time. Say YES! to these trips as experiences that become special memories.
Bid on ebay starting tomorrow, March 21 – 31. Ask friends and family to join in and make it a celebration.
Get ready to relax, enjoy your family and help support other families at the same time. Don’t let the sun go down on these great trips.
Proceeds for this auction will be used to support parents, children and families with free support groups, research-based materials, leader training, resources and technologies through Attachment Parenting International. Open to API registered state residents in Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, Iowa, Indiana, New York, California, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas.