In this virtual chat, Integrative Health Coach, Amy Ogle shares guidance and ideas for parents adjusting to having their kids from home during the Coronavirus pandemic.
As an Integrative Health Coach, Amy helps people work toward their health and wellness goals. Working with families and individuals in areas of healthy eating, weight management, energy, and fitness, deconstructing cravings, personal care, life transitions, and more. Each person is unique as are their situations. In partnering with clients, Amy helps them listen to the clues their bodies give them and identify needs. Once identified, she helps to build a plan customized to their lifestyle.
Julie: Good afternoon. Welcome to our special Facebook live series called expert connexions. I’m Julie Holton. I’m the founder and principal strategist of mConnexions. We have been coming live to you every day for about a week and a half now, as we talk about the changes and challenges that were all presented due to COVID-19 and so there are so many positive so many uplifting stories but we also know this is a very scary time for many people, from any businesses. Whether you’re the owner or you’re working in a business, working from home. Good afternoon Stephanie hello. Thank you guys for joining us. Give me a thumbs up if you can hear me okay, let me know this is coming through loud and clear. We know that right now this time is not easy. It is full of changes, full of challenges, many of us in the business world are working from home. Many of you are pulling double-duty parenting, homeschooling and trying to work. Get some work done and be productive and so we’re here to help. We’re connecting our community by connecting you to the experts who have information and I am so looking forward to today’s conversation because this is a very good friend of mine and someone who has been sharing a lot of insights on social media. So join me in welcoming Amy Ogle. Amy is an integrative health coach and she is also a homeschooling mom, so she has lots of insight and guidance for us as parents adjust to having their kids home during this pandemic. Amy, thank you so much for joining me today.
Amy: Oh you’re welcome. It’s my pleasure. Thank you for having me.
Julie: Yeah you’re welcome. So okay first of all I know there’s probably a total misconception that Oh Amy so Amy has a business, Amy home schools her children, so like Oh Amy’s got it down right like Oh she’s used to being home, she’s used to having the kids but I think it’s fair to say Amy that it is not business as usual around your house, is that to say?
Amy: That yes that’s very fair to say. it’s quite an adjustment for us. I mean this is not your typical home school even when you are used to homeschooling you don’t stay at home 24/7 like this is totally different for everyone right now and there’s so much linking.
Julie: And the stress and the anxiety and the worries, the health concerns, the other concerns. I mean you experience the full gamut of this just like everyone else and so I just wanted to say that right off the bat this is not just business as usual. However, I believe that because of your background, especially being an integrative health coach, and how you work with your clients plus being a homeschooling mama, you have a lot of insights that I think will be relevant and will help our audience and normally we don’t necessarily talk about parenting issues here on our mConnexions page, but we know that many people are parents. Many of our clients are in this situation where they’re trying to navigate all of this. So Amy let me first ask you what is your number one tip for parents as they’re navigating this?
Amy: Sure so first and foremost with the amount of information that we have out there, everyone has their own insights. We have tips coming out of strategies, plans, and schedules. Everybody’s saying oh this is what works for my family and despite all that information what we have to remember is that just because it doesn’t work for us, does not mean that we are failing. Like we have to figure out what will work well for our family, our schedule, you know what you do for a living and makes a difference as well. So take all those things in consideration, look at the different options that are out there, and then to try to figure out what’s going to work best for you and kind of go from there. So everybody and no one is an expert right now. Yes, oh what a great way to put that. You know and you and I were talking you know yes well we talked quite a bit but you and I were talking yesterday and yesterday we are guests on the show so to speak Andy Bailey was talking about kind of separating distancing yourself from social media at times and I think when it comes to parenting the same thing is probably true because it probably runs the full gamut. I know if you’re like me you have friends who are really frustrated with the situation with their kids right now and work and everything else and others who have this beautiful color-coded schedule and it seems like everything’s going just perfectly that it’s a breeze even though it probably maybe isn’t always right. So like what are your thoughts on what someone else is doing? So some of it is going to be balanced right. So we take a look at what our kids need to do and we need to keep them busy otherwise they’re going to drive us absolutely crazy and we can’t get things done if the kids are bored right. Just like we struggle to get things done when we’re bored right. So different challenges for different ages.
Julie: Can you talk about some of the different ideas for different ages? Let’s start with the young ones. What are some ideas to kind of help get like help keep them busy? Help keep them occupied mentally and maybe physically?
Amy: Absolutely so when it looks like education wise there’s a lot of information out there. A lot of companies are giving free 30 to 60 day’s worth of their you know whatever their expertise is. So you have for the littlest ones you could have something like ABC Mouse I believe they’re doing a free trial right now and then the older kids it would be something like prodigy. High schoolers Khan Academy is free. That’s all online, but of course we don’t want to have our kids online 24/7 either. So we can utilize technology in a whole different way which would be to keep them learning something new. For instance, YouTube is great, but of course we want to monitor that and make sure that it’s productive. They claim it keeps them busy and we’re going to use it for all ages. You just have to make it to cut up their own banana by using a plastic knife. Which is going to save you time too, which is great. Then they can start prepping some of the food that they eat and then older kids you know can challenge them to learn how to use a knife to cut up like real vegetables. They can do some food prep for you. That’s an extra bonus right there, you don’t have to do it and then they’re learning something new as well but it is really you mentioned physically so we do need to make sure that we’re keeping them occupied in a physical way and that it’s become more and more challenging. It’s harder to get in sports when so many things are closed right now. Parks you have to be very careful they don’t actually want to have the kids play on playgrounds, so keeping them occupied outside isn’t always an option that we have. Playing in the yard is great, especially the siblings. You know they can keep an eye on each other, but you may have to do things at home to keep them busy. For the littlest ones that may mean pulling the cans out of the cupboard and just having them count them. It’s got a physical aspect to it so they have to pull them out, count them and put them back in or maybe if they’re a little bit older you have them rearrange them and put things together you know what are vegetables and what are drinks? I love that, we all have a lot of cans right now too right so no shortage of cans at home. I’m not really big on the whole canned food thing, but at this time you know we need to have those things on hand as a just in case.
Julie: Right you know you were sharing some ideas too. Amy when we were talking about rearranging rooms. I thought that was such a great idea that even if a bedroom doesn’t need to be rearranged you know have your kid move things from one side of the room to the other or come up with a different way to put things on the shelves. I mean things like that that I wouldn’t even thought about that don’t need to be done, but can certainly be done and you know line the books up in alphabetical order or order the books by you know the alphabetical order of the authors or you know all sorts of things like that, that keep them physically active but also using their brains.
Amy: Absolutely and even going through things that they don’t want to keep anymore, so the book shelves are a great example of that. There may be books on the bookshelf that have sat there that are too young for them or they’ve read through it and they didn’t really care for that book. Now is a good time to have them sort out some of that and of course you know oh you might want to double check what the piles look like, but that’s a great you know a great way to have them doing something physical but it’s also helpful at the same time but rearranging furniture is a great physical activity that like you said even if it doesn’t need to be done is it is good to keep them occupied.
Julie: Well you talked too and I thought this was so on point about you know games are good but we need to keep kids we need to stimulate their brains and I have a friend whose little girl so adorable said mom I’m really worried my brains going to turn to mush before we go back to school and I thought that was so sweet so adorable but also you know and I don’t I’m not a doctor I don’t know that that it’s literally they’re going to turn to mush, but we do want to be stimulating their brains because kids I think can be their most how do I say this nicely well we’re talking to parents so we don’t need to right so like kids can really get on your nerves and drive you crazy when they are not being stimulated. When they have nothing better to do they’re going to push your buttons right and so what are some other ways that we can just really stimulate their brains? You talked about some really great ideas with screen time and I know like by day too many of the parents in my newsfeed on Facebook we’re saying, forget about you know screen time rules those have gone out the window already, but I love that you talked about some games that are more learning-based and are going to use their brains. What other ideas or other things should we keep in mind when it comes to trying to capture their attention and keep their attention?
Amy: Oh sure so you know my brain has to start working again. Yeah right the websites that I mentioned before are great for academics, but there are other ways to keep them occupied and still stimulate that and places like zoos and museums are doing tours right now which is wonderful. I mean they’re something different unfortunately we can’t be there. Of course it would be best if we could be there and it could be hands-on but it’s a great option right now to keep them busy and it even if it’s just for 20 minutes in the afternoon. It’s a little bit of quiet time where they get to just watch and it’s something educational. The other side –
Julie: I love that. People of all ages too. I was emailing with a colleague who is in New York City and she was telling me all of her adult children are home and that they you know it was a checking email how are you doing and she said oh we’re great we’re actually going to go to the symphony this afternoon and then we’re going to stop by this museum, all of which was happening virtually uh you know on their computers, but I thought that’s a really cool idea. That we can all take these tours.
Amy: And it’s keeping your emotional state in check as well because you’re you know virtually doing things that you know would love to be able to go out and do which is wonderful it keeps your mind off of.
Amy: We do not want to be on social media all the time right now.
Amy: There’s unfortunately there’s just too much negativity. Yeah so those are great options and of course things like whatever you have on hand so having the kids tell you a story or write a story or even allowing them to have a phone so they can record their own voice. That’s a great option and they’d love to hear themselves back again. So when they get a little bit when they finish they will get to hear themselves and you know kids just find that so cool.
Julie: That is really cool so Stephanie says great tips Amy, having the kiddos help with food prep and chores around the house to keep them engaged mentally and staying physical too and it helps the parents. Spot on Stephanie, absolutely and if any of you watching have tips let us know we’d love to see them in the comments and we’ll read them aloud and share them. Amy one last thing I want to ask you about because you are an integrative health coach and so I know you work typically with adults but you help entire families working on their health and nutrition and so for all of us and we joke about the COVID19 you know meaning 19 pounds which I feel like I put on in the first day of being home. Whether it’s stress eating or just having all of this attention on food and feeling like now we have all this food in the house. I don’t know what it is you know mentally or physically but how do you recommend that we find balance? So that we really focus on our health. You know our physical health whether it’s putting on the weight or just we know that what we put in our bodies helps nourish our body. So how do we find that balance?
Amy: Absolutely so when I first started homeschooling the one of the things that I had to set for myself and for the kids was that the kitchen was not open 24/7. We were going to have organized times of eating and it doesn’t it can be flexible, it does not have to be the same time each day, but to have that mindset of I can just grab something whenever I want to, can be a struggle for both adults and kids and then also that the refrigerator door is not revolving. We do not need to-
Julie: Or the printer door. I know something you need to stop having ice cream for dinner, not going to say who but.
Amy: Yes it is easy to get in that habit and we’re actually at a place of an advantage right now because of the fact that we don’t want to be eating out all the time right, so we can utilize this to make good habits for eating, for our families and for ourselves. So two thoughts are main meals and snacks right. So with your main meals the what we do in our family ordinarily is actually benefiting us through this time of self-quarantine. We purchase our groceries once a week. At the beginning of the week we start you going through and making meals and prepping for the items that go bad the fastest. Of course we eat a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits. So we start with the ones that are going to go bad, then we end up with the hardier things so squash, zucchini, those things last a little bit longer we’ll work towards those and then on to frozen and last but not least would be the canned foods and the processed foods which we’re kind of keeping on hand just for emergency purposes and I don’t have any little ones so I don’t have anybody counting cans right now, but they are there for emergency backup and having that system I don’t have to set an exact meal plan because I feel like sometimes and I don’t know if this happens to you as well if we are so rigid with a meal plan we’ll get to the time we’re supposed to eat that meatloaf day you know or whatever and it’s like I really just don’t want to eat that. So if I have a three-day three or four days where I’ll fit in what I want during those days. The fresh foods and then we’ll go on to frozen foods. It gives me a little bit more flexibility which I like.
Julie: I love that what a great idea and you know I really do think this is an opportunity. I love the idea of you knowing your kitchen only has certain hours. That’s a great idea like when the kitchens are closed so you better eat your snack at the right time or else you’re waiting until the next time it’s open. You know I also like you had shared a couple thoughts on social media and I don’t have little ones either, but I really thought these were great ideas and one was you know have certain snacks, healthy snacks and put a price on them and have them be things that your kids are earning. So if they want that you know those fruit snacks or if they want that yogurt and things are different prices. So if you do have the bag of Doritos it’s going to cost them more to earn those Doritos and by costing more maybe they’re earning those dollars by doing chores around the house. And I think you, I think what I had read and you can correct me if I’m wrong but like for the Doritos for example they had to do some cost more because they had to do physical activity in order to then earn the Dorito. So they’re not just sitting around watching movies and eating Doritos all day. I thought what a brilliant idea.
Amy: Yes, if you struggle with kids that don’t quite understand the value of money too this is this helps because they start to understand that they have to earn it just like mom and dad had to earn the money to buy that in the first place. So that’s a two-fold lesson which is awesome. You know you love to get them multiple things going at the same time if you can, but then also that they have choices. Which was something that I loved about that was if you have chosen you know certain things that you want them to be eating you know like because of course we don’t want them eating the Doritos all the time right. So they have a certain amount of things that they can have during the day as their option. So for my family we don’t eat a lot of chips. The kids like a little bit of popcorn but they do love bars and I’m trying to be really picky with the like Lara bars and nature valley bars and things like that. One because you have the sugar content. We don’t we want to be keeping an eye on that and then two because they’re not necessarily the healthiest snack that they could be eating and I don’t want to be paying for them to be you know eating a box worth every day because that gets to be costly so we have a 1 bar a day rule and then they also had known what their choices are you know. If they haven’t had their fruit yet, the fruit comes first. Things like that too.
Julie: I love that and we have a comment here so Sarah says for the kids I will put out three to four snacks in the morning especially having young children that do not fully understand the concept of money. They get these snacks for the day between meals and they know that once their snacks are gone they are gone for the day. That’s a really great idea too. I like that so then they’re also learning budgeting and not eating it all in the morning because then they know by 3:00 in the afternoon they’re going to be hungry and they’re out of luck, so that’s a really great idea. I like that Sarah. I’ve also heard some parents saying that depending on the type of snack maybe it’s a fruit bowl maybe they have like Amy you had said certain bars maybe it’s yogurt snacks that are within reach of the younger kids so that they’re not constantly being bothered all day while they’re trying to work you know the kids know that there are certain snacks that they’re allowed to access at any time you know you can’t have too many apples if you want another Apple, have another Apple. And I thought that was a great way too to be able to give the kids a little independence and Amy like you had said they have choices they also now get to make their own decisions if I’m hungry I can just go grab an apple or an orange and I don’t even have to ask mom.
Amy: Mm-hmm or a cheese stick or something else yes and also with that a nice idea and I saw this online somewhere is that you can have them decorate their own Bowl or you know a plastic bin if you have plastic bins at home. Where they put their name on it and they can really make it theirs. That also gives a craft idea that keeps them busy for a while as well.
Julie: I love that. What a fun and creative way to keep the kids busy. Just making their own bowls. What a cool idea. Well Amy I think too you know as we kind of wrap up here and if anyone if you have any questions for Amy or any more feedback feel free or feel free to comment with each other. We’ll, of course, keep this video up for you so you can keep posting, but Amy I think you know one message that we’ve heard from pretty much every single expert we’ve talked to in this series is just remember to give yourself some grace. Know that you don’t have to be a perfect parent which is good because no one is right. No one’s perfect all the time so give yourself a pass. Whether it’s screen time or snacks or you know, create your schedule. Do what feels best for you and your family, but then give yourself some leeway and flexibility to say okay today might not be the day where this is going to be my battle. Especially as you know we’re dealing with a global pandemic so let’s you know face reality here and realize that one day won’t hurt, give yourself a pass. Any final thoughts Amy on that or you know any final words before we go?
Amy: Absolutely and then I couldn’t have said it better myself and then the only other thing I would add to that is check in with the kids individually. I’ve been periodically doing that because if you have more than one child at home they may give you the answer that they just heard their brother or sister give so go for a walk with them. If you have time, I mean well most of our time on our hands right now, but if you have a time just take a few minute’s walk around the block with one of them if doable depending on age to leave the other one at home, but to have that time, to have that conversation with them individually, to make sure that they’re feeling okay with all of this because just like we don’t know exactly what we’re doing, they’re feeling that as well. You know this is all new and different to them even if they’re excited about parts of it, it’s still we’re in very new territory for sure.
Julie: That is for sure. Amy thank you so much for taking the time. What is the best way for people to reach you if they want to stay in contact with you?
Amy: Oh absolutely so they can contact me for my email. It’s Amy@faithlovepinapples.com or you can feel free to follow me on Facebook at faith love and pineapples in integrative nutrition with Amy Olga.
Julie: Excellent Amy thank you so much. This has been so helpful. I really appreciate your tips and your time today and thanks to your kiddos for being so well behaved for you to take some time to do this with us.
Amy: Thank you.
Julie: So our expert connexions series will continue right here throughout the week one o’clock Eastern each day. Tomorrow we’re going to be talking with Laurie Lonsdorf from the Small Business Development Center and so we’re switching back to some more business related topics tomorrow. Laurie’s going to join us. She’s going to be available to answer your questions live. She’s going to talk about the resources that we know are available for small businesses. We can talk about what’s in the pipeline, what may be coming. So if you have any questions about resources and how to get your business through this time a Laurie is our go-to. She has been a trusted advisor of mConnexions for a long time and so I think where you’re really going to enjoy the insight and expertise that Laurie brings to the conversation. So that is tomorrow right here at one o’clock. Thank you for joining us and we will see you then. Thank you, take care.