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Are you a parent in lockdown with your kids? Here’s an idea for you

Hey folks, Dr Ro here. 

Easter Monday, I did not post over the weekend, I thought I’d have a little bit of a break and I wanted to come back with something today. Man the temperatures dropped, feeling chilly out in the garden. 

I wanted to just send you a quick message I bumped into a parent today. Not physically bumped him because of social distancing, but I happened to pop to our office and there are a few other small offices there. I bumped into another parent who said, I am just coming into the office to escape a little bit and have some time away from the kids.

And we laughed and I was getting on with my own business and stuff. But what was interesting was that I have heard that message a few times over the last week, and I’m hearing that parents are getting a little bit frustrated. Feeling a bit compressed, especially with the lockdown.

If you’re living in a flat, a small place, you don’t have a lot of space to get out of. You may have watched my previous videos, but we just moved back into part of our house and it’s still under refurbishment. But we were in a little place in the first week and a half I think, 10 days of the lockdown.

Some of the feedback that I’ve been receiving through the website and just through various people reaching out to me were asking questions about managing the emotional state of yourself but also, the kids. I’ve been in personal development for 30 years and I used to speak a lot about relationships and building relationships with people and working with your kids etcetera.

A lot of the stuff I did prior to having kids, I would talk to other particularly highly emotionally developed parents or speakers who I felt had a big influence on the world, who were parents themselves. So I could glean some of their knowledge and understanding and then bring some of my own personal development content to the table and blend that in with my message. But of course, having been a parent now for eleven years, it’s a very different message because now I’m able to speak from the experience of being a parent, managing that place and experiencing it. Managing that emotional place in my mind. 

One of the things that I think is happening at the moment for a lot of people is that they are not necessarily used to spending this much time in close proximity with their kids during the day. So for a lot of parents they’re used to maybe leaving their kids, going off to work, coming back in, being tired, having a small snapshot of time with their kids. And then maybe putting them to sleep, but then you’ve got the weekends where people spend time doing things and they have a little bit of a project going away, doing something. 

But of course, the challenge we’ve got at the moment is you can’t exactly take them out to a park or go walking, climbing and some of the things you’d normally do. You can’t go to adventure parks and all these lovely planned experiences that you would like to develop and experience with your kids.

And when I teach people on real estate, for example, or in the field of wealth development, if I’m on a large stage or a smaller environment, maybe 50, 100 people, often people say they want to spend more time with their kids. 

This is a chance to do that. 

This is a case of you’re not financially independent necessarily when you’re watching this, but you’ve got a chance to do that with your kids. The difference is and this is a really fascinating thing is that for a lot of parents now, whereas you might want to have time with your kids and be financially free and be able to go out and travel, experience things, take them to the beach, go on a flight to another country. Go on a walk, cycling trip or during the day take them to a climbing wall, whatever, which you could normally do in a week. That can’t be done now because of course, everybody is in lockdown. 

So all of a sudden, parents are being forced to experience a few things. One is creativity, which most of the time for a lot of parents they don’t necessarily have to go into that place because that’s done by the school, the teachers and the people that look after the kids for a certain period. And then we as parents, I mean, I’m fortunate cause I haven’t been in a job for many years now. But, as parents, we tend to have this sort of thing where the weekends become the time to go and do that creativity. 

Now, every day is an opportunity to do that. I think a lot of people have become so used to and programmed to and I’m interested to know if you agree with this, but they’re used to chucking their kids on an iPad or on a phone or in front of a TV. I suspect that’s going on a lot right now. I think probably Netflix and Amazon Prime and all these sorts of things are getting hammered, as are some of the YouTube channels as well. 

So kids are being plonked down there. Maybe parents need to breathe a bit and go off and have, well in theory I bet it ends up being hours. I don’t know how much time people are spending with their kids in front of TV’s but I suspect it is a lot.

I guess what I want to say is that one of the things that you can do is get your kids engaged in activities. One of the reasons we wanted to get back here is we could get the kids outside, but there are internal activities, there are games you can play.

I was out with my daughter today on a swing and my other half she was inside playing a game with my oldest daughter and they’re just engaging in different ways. The challenge, of course, is you’ve got two kids and there’s different age groups., I’ve got an 11 and a five-year-old. There’s a point where they’re going to clash, that’s going to happen and as parents, we’ve got to learn to manage our own emotional state.

Because we have a movie. We wake up in the morning and we have this movie in our mind of what we want the day to be like, the kids are going to do that. I’m going to come down I will go for my run and when I come back the kids are going to be quietly reading. And of course, when the actual movie script unfolds, what they say and how it shows up in the actual life movie script, in other words the day is not quite the movie script you had in your mind of the day as well. 

I think it’s really important if you can and this is something that we’re going to start doing now especially now as this is going to go on a lot longer than everyone anticipated.

I mean, if you’ve listened to some of the previous messages I was saying I thought we were going to be going into September. And I still think it’s going to be reaching out quite a way out. So I think you’re going to have your kids for a long time. 

One of things we’re going to start to implement and if you’ve never watched it, there’s a great thing online. If you go and have a look at Jada Pinkett Smith, she has something called the Red Table talks, and she’s brought some incredible people to the table. She’s had some very open, honest discussions. She’s got her mom, her children around the table. Sometimes Will Smith comes and joins. 

I’m not suggesting you go to that level. But what we’re going to start doing is having table talks, family table talks where we sit down. And then that way we can just allow anything that’s frustrating us to come out in an honest, open way.

So it’s sitting down at the table where everyone has the ability to share openly with each other without it being a vindictive, aggressive, frustrated conversation. More concerning, I’m feeling a bit frustrated because this keeps happening or it feels like you’re doing this and you’re saying this. It’s an honest opportunity around a table to maybe air some of the things that you’re feeling a bit frustrated about. But then discussing what you’d like to do as a family. 

We didn’t choose this lockdown. And this is an important factor here. We didn’t choose this. We didn’t have the opportunity to say, no, we don’t want to do it. It has been forced upon us by a government action, which is the right thing to do under the circumstances. But as families, we didn’t have the choice to do it. We just needed to do it because it’s all about the safety of the nation and all the people around the country, some more vulnerable than others. So we’d have to do this. But in doing that, we have to start to manage what’s happening at home.

This is a really powerful message for anyone listening or if you want to get this out to your friends, find the space to sit down with your kids and really get to know them. Understand their values because their little personalities are bursting out, and you’re starting to see there’s a clash of personalities because your set of beliefs and values and your personality will ultimately be different to your children. Although you might think they’re the same and they will adopt some of them and they will certainly follow some of your characteristics and some of your beliefs. The other factor is that they will have already developed their own. And some of them may not be the same as yours. 

This is a chance for you to really understand your children and ask them meaningful questions and don’t necessarily let them fob you off. That will happen depending on what age they’re at, of course. But ultimately, if you can get and take this opportunity and you get the time to do this now, what an amazing opportunity is to build this relationship in the future with your kids where they reflect back and say, “do you remember when we were all in lockdown and we discussed these things. Can we carry on doing it?”

And why wouldn’t you want to carry on doing that after we come out of this lockdown? 

So maybe use it as a chance to grow. I’ve asked my daughter Savannah if she would teach me the piano. I want her to start teaching me every day just a little bit, maybe 10, 15 minutes, but it gives her a chance to do something with me and take that sense of responsibility. My youngest daughter wants to show me some things in the garden that she wants to do with me. 

This is a chance to empower them by not necessarily telling them what to do, but asking them what they want to experience during this period, because this can go one of two ways. It can be just a complete switch to watch the TV all day long, or it could be an opportunity to say, how can we grow together? And don’t get me wrong, we are having our own experiences here. And there’s days when the kids get frustrated and we’re all getting a bit hot under the collar. I think it happens with any family where you’ve got everybody in the same place.

Our situation at the moment is we’re all packed into one bedroom as well because the house is under renovations, it’s like live, sleep, eat everything else together.

But it’s a chance to reflect. And as parents, I’m going to say this honestly and this is worth thinking about. What if you stopped getting frustrated with them and think how can I help them? What is it about my beliefs right now that are causing me to feel this way? Is there something I can do on a personal level? How can I grow through this? 

I went to the office today where we’ve got a load of our stuff in storage at the moment being stored and I pulled out some old personal development books that I read ten years ago, fifteen years ago. Some of which are really appropriate as well for kids that can read them as well. So I’m going to use that as a project over the next month to start reading some books to my daughter.

So one of those is Ken Blanches book, Who Moved My Cheese? If you haven’t read that book, fantastic read. And also, if you get a chance to go and look up Og Mandino, there’s a whole bunch of books he’s written. Probably a good book to read. If you’re in a position where you’ve got time to do it is a book called The Choice. Very, very good book about reflecting on your own personal transformations as well.

Anyway, I’m going to leave it there. 

Hopefully that was of some value. I guess the main message is to create a space to sit down with your kids, even if it’s just once or twice a week where there’s no gadgets around, no electronic gadgets at all.

And it’s a chance to just ask questions honestly and just be sincere with them about how you’re feeling as well, have some more emotionally developed conversations. 

I think that’s the main message. 

I’m freezing out here.

I’m going to get going, it’s Dr Ro signing out.

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