Talking to Your Children about the Coronavirus with Caroline Maguire

With our own emotions taxed during this time of pandemic, it’s easy to misunderstand how our children are living through this same experience. These emotions of fear and uncertainty are amplified for them, and figuring out how to talk about both the disease and the isolation as unique events is becoming more critical in helping them to understand why we are living the way we are right now.

This week on the show, coach and author Caroline Maguire is back to help us through these thorny issues. Her book, Why Will No One Play With Me? has already helped so many in our own community addressing social challenges for our kids. Today, we’re turning the tools she outlines in the book toward living through the pandemic together.

Links & Notes

Thank you for supporting The ADHD Podcast on Patreon!


Episode Transcript

Brought to you by The ADHD Podcast Community on Patreon

Pete Wright:
Hello everybody and welcome to Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast on trustory.fm. I’m Pete Wright and I’m here as always with Nikki Kinzer.

Nikky Kinzer:
Hello everyone? Hello Pete?

Pete Wright:
I was tempted to start that with day 10 of the quarantine.

Nikky Kinzer:
I know.

Pete Wright:
We need some like brooding music. We are not brooding today. We’re feeling good, we’re feeling strong, we’re feeling rested.

Nikky Kinzer:
Rested.

Pete Wright:
We’re trying to be role models for others.

Nikky Kinzer:
That’s right.

Pete Wright:
That’s what we’re trying to do today.

Nikky Kinzer:
We are doing our best.

Pete Wright:
We’re doing our best to come with good cheer and we have a fantastic friend joining us for this very show. Before we talk to her though, head over to Take Control: ADHD and get to know us a little bit better. You can listen to the show right there on the website or subscribe to our mailing list and we’ll send you an email each time a new episode is released.

Pete Wright:
You can connect with us on Twitter or Facebook at Take Control: ADHD. And if this show has ever touched you, you know what I’m going to say, we invite you to join us at patreon.com/theADHDpodcast. And I have to tell you, I am surprised and humbled and thrilled by the number of people who over the last week have jumped in to help support us and help change their membership level, to upgrade their membership level to support what we did. We did a lot of shows last week and we’re continuing our journey to figure out how to best help those in our community. And we just deeply thank you for becoming a member of the ADHD community on Patreon.

Pete Wright:
This is listener supported podcasting and your contributions, your monetary contributions help us grow, help us do more things with the show, help us to be more reactive in times of crisis and just help keep old Pete editing all the time. Isn’t that what we-

Nikky Kinzer:
That’s right.

Pete Wright:
… Isn’t that what we want? Really? So, thank you. Of course, we know, we absolutely understand times are tight. You’ve got to make good financial decisions. And for those of you who are able to, we certainly appreciate it and believe me, we’re taking that and we’re putting it right back into the economy, tipping those Instacart drivers, helping the world keep going around. So thank you very much, patreon.com/theADHDpodcast to learn more. Oh dear. Welcome back, our dear and wonderful friend Caroline Maguire. Hi Caroline?

Caroline Maguire:
Hello Pete. Hello Nikki. How are you? I’m so glad to be back.

Nikky Kinzer:
We’re glad to have you back.

Pete Wright:
You are a ray of sunshine.

Nikky Kinzer:
That’s right. That’s right.

Pete Wright:
You know, we had a whole plan to talk to you about something completely different.

Nikky Kinzer:
Yes.

Caroline Maguire:
We did. But we’ll do another show about that sometime soon. Like we always have lots to talk about.

Nikky Kinzer:
That’s right. That’s right.

Pete Wright:
That’s weird. Just keep talking. Well, today, our pivot lands us on children coronavirus and talking to kids crisis and quarantine and all the things that have got to be very, very confusing for kids and how they relate. Nikki, what do you think? Do you want to set us up?

Nikky Kinzer:
My first question is such a broad question, Caroline, and I’m really sorry. How do we talk to our children about this? I mean, this is something we’ve never gone through in our whole lifetime and probably never will I hope, right? Fingers crossed. How do we talk to them about this and what’s going on?

Caroline Maguire:
Well, I think the first thing we have to remember is age groups, right?

Nikky Kinzer:
Right.

Caroline Maguire:
So there’s something for littler kids whose language isn’t as developed, called a social story. And for instance, with younger kids, we can talk to them about Mr. Rogers and the helpers. We can explain about, we can make a little picture book where we talk about what’s happening now. And I think with little kids, we have to be a little more concrete, right? We have to talk about this as a month, a week. We can’t give them this, we don’t know what’s going to happen thing because it’s also just really hard for them timeline wise. For them their timeline is a couple hours, it’s not weeks.

Caroline Maguire:
I think that’s one end of the spectrum. And then we were chatting before and we touched upon this. I think when it comes to twins and teenagers, there’s a different conversation. And I think there’s a few things that were going through my mind when I was getting ready for the show, which is with kids with ADHD, they often don’t have it great timeline horizon. They often also don’t intuit their role. So there’s something about executive functions in the brain, not for every kid, but for a lot of kids where they don’t necessarily Intuit their role, what they’re supposed to be doing, what it looks like and how to be kind of thing.

Caroline Maguire:
So, I think when we’re talking to them, we’re not only talking about safety and everything, but we have to be in some cases really explicit with expectations. You can’t go hang out with your friends, and here’s why. And connect to the dots. Right? And to also, we had a really wonderful conversation in one of my classes that I teach about harder, teaching the teenagers and the teenagers and the tweens about our larger society. You are part of something larger. This isn’t about you. This is about your role as a citizen and sort of Mayflower compact stuff, right?

Caroline Maguire:
Your role and the larger picture. And I think this is terrible for so many people, and there’s so much economics that go into this. So I am not oblivious to that. But when I say like the good part about this is that I think it is an opportunity to pause and to have those conversations, which frankly, we need to have with them anyway. This is about a larger context.

Nikky Kinzer:
Absolutely. And you’re right, because we wouldn’t be having this conversation if everything was just sort of normal business as usual. Right? So, it does, you’re right. This gives us an opportunity to really talk about community and how you can help others and what your part is in that. I like that, I appreciate that.

Caroline Maguire:
I was thinking of, my daughter reads those American girl books, and one of the dolls is at the time of polio. And you know, when you think about this, you do harken back to other things that have happened in society. And I think that, if you asked our grandparents, if you asked some of us who have parents who were around during that time, I think it’s important to have those conversations because we have been here in many ways before. We personally just don’t remember.

Caroline Maguire:
So I think there’s a couple levels to the conversation is really where I’m going with this. And I think one of them should be about your role. And I think with ADHD kids especially, I don’t think we can assume they get it. I would be explicit if I were parents, this is what you can do, this is what you can’t do. I’m going to go to schoolwork in a minute, but like about your behavior, your movements, that kind of thing.

Pete Wright:
Well, that seems to get to one of the splits in the narrative that I wonder if there’s something that we need to define specifically here. That first, and maybe this depends on age groups. First, we have this issue about the pandemic, right? We have COVID–19 and it’s moving around the planet and it’s scary. In and of itself, it’s a scary thing, right? It’s a boogeyman that is coming around the country, and depending on what kind of signals kids are getting, they might be living under different degrees of sort of fear of this boogeyman that is COVID–19. That’s one.

Pete Wright:
And then we have the social isolation, the quarantine stuff, right? And we’re not really undergoing, nobody’s tenting our houses at this point, right? We’re doing our part to STEM the contact and slow the disease. That seems like the social isolation is a separate thing. That it’s possible, to your point about roles that kids can totally understand, what COVID–19 is, what it’s doing, flattening the curve. Maybe they’re all on board with that. And also, they really don’t like being in the house anymore. And my hunches for ADHD kids, that those two things can exist in completely different worlds.

Caroline Maguire:
Yes. Yes. It’s funny because been writing an article about the fact that this is a self regulation nightmare, right?

Nikky Kinzer:
Right.

Caroline Maguire:
So I’ll just take from the adult perspective, I’m juggling kids, I’m juggling all these different aspects. I’m wearing all these different hats, you’re getting on the clone with clients and customers and people and you’re having to self regulate and put forward a certain face. Right? And that’s going to be hard for adults. And then there’s the teenagers and the tweens and the kids, who we have in the house, and they are having to self regulate. Some parts of the country it’s obviously warmer than others. And that going outside element, that exercise element I think really helps. There is a lot of self-regulation challenges. I have heard from many coaches, ADHD coaches that some clients have reached crisis points.

Caroline Maguire:
I would say of my experience with this is that a lot of things were a problem and now if you’re stuck in the house, they get accentuated. And so, that is not to diminish it, but that is to say this was always an issue and now it’s like a bigger issue. And so yeah, there’s that self regulation peace and I think kids can forget, they can know on an intellectual level we shouldn’t be doing X, Y, and Z and at this pandemic is here. But to stay in the house is really hard and they can make impulsive decisions.

Pete Wright:
I’m seeing so much of that. I hate watch news clips and interviews with people flooding the beaches and flooding our coasts and in Oregon, some of our small towns on the coast of Oregon, the business owners came together and voted to close. Right? Even though people are flooding to the coast for spring break this week, they’re saying, “We’re closed for business because we believe it’s the right safe thing to do. Sorry.” And that’s that’s a real struggle when you see those kinds of signals in the media, and then you do start to wonder, “Am I the crazy one here?”

Pete Wright:
Really, I know, again, on an intellectual level, I’m doing the right thing. And yet, am I the crazy one here? Everybody else seems to be having such good time.

Caroline Maguire:
Well, and I think that’s why I said there’s just like larger discussion about citizenship and being part of something larger and the role that you need to play. I just think about World War II and our grandparents and sometimes you sacrifice and you play a role, and that role isn’t it pleasant? Right? So, it’s very hard because you see that. But on the other hand, people are suffering. Waitresses are not making their wages. Nail salons here are close, so they’re not making their wages.

Caroline Maguire:
All those services are not happening. Shops are not open, bookstores are not open-

Nikky Kinzer:
If you think about the housekeeper, the maintenance. But yeah, all of that is crazy.

Caroline Maguire:
All that’s happening. So my thing would be because of that, obviously because of health and whatnot. But also because of those people suffering, you don’t get to go to the beach. And I think it’s important to have young people get it, that those small movements can really affect others. But I also think that there’s a fear factor that you touched on that we should talk about too.

Nikky Kinzer:
Let’s talk about that because I very much see that.

Pete Wright:
Yeah, let’s talk about that.

Caroline Maguire:
I’ll just tell a personal story. I was a little upset the last days that we were in school because kids were getting all riled up and upsetting each other and getting themselves worried. And I felt like the school should have stepped in and had a meeting and said, “You guys, it’s all going to be fine and like calm them down.” Instead, they would get off the bus just so worked up. And kids have access to news and information and electronics nowadays so they can read all the stuff we can read.

Caroline Maguire:
And I think there is a factor where we as the adults, I don’t know if you have to do meditation or yoga or go running on the treadmill, but we have to be the ones remaining calm, and leaving things ina fact-based way. And also, helping kids to reassure them. One of the things that I know a lot of psychiatrists have advised is not to say can’t go on the internet, but make sure their sources of information are legitimate and that who they’re interfacing with even in a distant socialization are not people getting them more fearful and riled up.

Caroline Maguire:
And if that means you have to speak to the grandparents or the aunties or whoever and say, you need to be a helper here, that may need to happen. Because what I’ve noticed is kids getting each other riled up even if-

Nikky Kinzer:
Oh, for sure.

Pete Wright:
Yeah.

Nikky Kinzer:
Well, especially, I think about my daughter, my daughter’s age group, they’re eighth graders, and they’re 13, 14 years old. Oh, yeah, they are totally riling each other up. I heard this, I heard that, my mom said this, my mom said that TikTok, right. They’re on TikTok all the time and they’re getting like information off of TikTok. I’m like, “Don’t believe anything you see on TikTok.”

Pete Wright:
Please don’t believe off TikTok.

Caroline Maguire:
That’s exactly the news source I was thinking of Nikki, I was literally just thinking of that one when I said news source.

Nikky Kinzer:
Yes. That’s not where you go.

Pete Wright:
Very generous that you’d call it a news source. It’s unfortunate. But there is-

Caroline Maguire:
What I’m saying like, TikToking that. TikToking not.

Nikky Kinzer:
Facebook too. Because, you see people re-posting things. And you have to ask yourself like, where did they get that? Where did that come from? It’s like I just don’t trust it. So anyway, sorry.

Pete Wright:
No, no, it was to that point exactly. Because, this is what I’ve been seeing happening in my own observation over the last week. Everybody’s working at home. I do a lot of video calls. As I know you both do too. And this is what I see. We’re having a nice conversation and then their eyes off the video call will go up usually over the camera and they’ll do this, “Uh-huh, no, I don’t. Yes, you can use the iPad. Yes, go. Would you close the door on your… pleased? Yes. It’s fine. I’ll talk to you when I’m, and bring me some bring me some coffee.” That’s what I get. Right?

Pete Wright:
That is I think a perilous thing if you are not aware. Because, we’re seeing more kids. My hunch is getting more screen time over a very short period of time, and if you’re not aware of those new sources that they might accidentally be stumbling on. Right? The tablets are incredibly generous with notifications. And if you’re just handing your iPad to a kid, then the news notifications it comes down. And you know to ignore it because it’s nonsense, but they might not. And when they see that headline, that’s a scary thing.

Caroline Maguire:
And what I’m holding up is these are the children’s iPads. They’re living in my office.

Pete Wright:
And I’ll tell you, personally, I am incredibly… I’m an incredible warden when it comes to the screen time manager. Like I just turned stuff off from my phone. Nobody can do anything. My kids are like, why did YouTube, shut off? “Well, because I’m worried about you.” So, I do that. And I mentioned, but I know not a lot of people do. And that creates fear.

Caroline Maguire:
Well, I don’t know how to do that. I would love to do that. I just don’t know how. So I do the old fashion, like I pull the cord in the wall kind of thing. Like I’m here, I’ll take them in. But I think Pete, to your point, that’s actually a really good point is that forget about, “Oh, too much screen time isn’t good for you and all that.” Look, we’re all working from home and parents are juggling a lot. So, I really feel like let’s not get into some big judgmental thing about that.

Pete Wright:
Screen time is not the problem.

Caroline Maguire:
Screen time isn’t the problem, but it’s the news source. It’s TikTok, it’s Snapchat. It’s all these different sources that they are getting information from, and they’re riling each other up. And also, it’s this idea of uncertainty. Right? And so, I know that my daughter was just telling someone that one of her friends was saying that the mother was talking about the stock market.

Caroline Maguire:
So, they’re having FaceTime chats because they’re away from each other. And that’s good to have a little communion once a day with your friends. But what’s interesting is that they’re picking up things from us as adults and they’re carrying them forward. I didn’t even know 11 year olds really knew what the stock market was. They probably really don’t. But I think the point is that we have to remain calm, right? And whatever you have to do that. We’re worried here, since they’re going to tell us to shelter in place that they mean don’t take your car out and go for a drive to get away from your family for half an hour because that’s something people do.

Caroline Maguire:
But I think it’s really important like what Nikki said, that information is not always flowing from the best sources and sometimes it’s flowing from their peers.

Nikky Kinzer:
Absolutely.

Pete Wright:
I have been getting screenshots of text chats from my son who was saying like, “Is this true?” And it’s just one after another 13 year old who’s writing to him saying, “Did you hear they’re going to start checking us, police are going to be at the borders of the town,” and not all of these things that it is possible that they’re going to be here, right. That is a new reality that we’re adjusting to, that we’re going to see more uniformed officials in the streets. We’re going to see more uniformed officials and military building hospitals and tents.

Pete Wright:
We’re already seeing that here. We’ve talked about it last week on the show. They’re building a major new hospital facility. They did it in Washington. It’s happening. But to keep framing the conversation, not about the fact that these people are here, but what they are here to do. And that job is to keep us safe. That job is to keep us healthy. That job is to make sure that the people who are avatars for this disease are actually going to have the resources that they need. Hopefully not running out of those things because we’re quarantined ourselves. That kind of a thing.

Pete Wright:
And so, I worry that those signals, the social media signals and the signals coming from figures of authority that are clearly not true. Those things are coming through just as data points without the purpose behind them.

Nikky Kinzer:
Right.

Caroline Maguire:
Right. And I think it’s interesting because Nikki and I are both trained coaches and so what comes to my mind right now is something that should’ve come to my mind originally, which is a question. What are you worried about? What does this screenshot mean to you? I notice you on Facebook, you don’t normally go there. What’s that about? Because, I think we have this opportunity to be in our homes with our kids. To me, there’s a lot noise, but there’s also less noise. And we’re allowed to say we’re going to do things in a simpler way.

Caroline Maguire:
None of us asked for this, but since we have it, I think we have this opportunity to kind of ask the most questions, engage in a discussion, and keep them calmer. And also, like you said, Pete, keep them focused on the why. You know? And like, I’m not a great biologist by any stretch. I know a lot about the brain, but we have an opportunity to teach them a little bit more about science. Right? Because, some of this is scientific. And I think that everybody has that intention, but we all also get caught up ourselves as adults because we’re seeing the Facebook feed.

Nikky Kinzer:
I have a question. I kind of want to switch gears a little bit to the school because we had a family dinner last night and I asked my kids, “How do you guys feel about the possibility of having school in summer?” Well, their response was really interesting to me because it they didn’t really answer the question. They came back with, “Well, I’ve heard that they can’t have school in the summer. And I’ve heard that the teacher unions won’t let that happen.” And you know, so they kind of go back to what they’ve heard.

Nikky Kinzer:
And really basically the conversation was, we really don’t know what’s going to happen, but we need to be kind of prepared that, that might happen. That you may have to make up some of this in the summer. But my question is not only around how to deal with maybe that right potential situation that they have to go to school in the summer. But just in general, how do we do online learning right now, we don’t have it. So, I don’t know if that’s going to be something that’s going to happen in our house, but I know it’s happening in a lot of houses where they do have to teach.

Nikky Kinzer:
Any thoughts, advice, suggestions around that?

Caroline Maguire:
Yeah, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this. It’s actually kind of funny because it’s such my wheelhouse, but I haven’t done a lot of writing about it. I’ve been doing a lot of writing about the social piece, but I haven’t done a lot of writing about this piece. But I think there’s a few things. One, do you not let the Facebook post of other people allow you to feel bad about your ADHD child. So I don’t know about your Facebook, but my feed is full of people who must have neuro-typical or sainted children. And they show the schedule color coded, and they’re homeschooling and allegedly everyone is following the schedule.

Caroline Maguire:
They’ve converted their garage into a gym and people are having actual, like first we do this, then we do that. And a lot of my clients, a lot of people I’m in touch with, I’m feeling very badly because our ADHD kids, it is not as easy to get them to learn at home. First, let yourself off the hook. I don’t know who those children are. I think it’s probably fake. And probably they’re fighting just as hard and maybe the parents made a schedule, but I’m sorry, you’re not going to be at the same standard.

Caroline Maguire:
Your kid isn’t just going to make a schedule and go along there if they have ADHD. It’s going to be a much different process. And so I want to first say like please don’t take that in, because preposterous and it’s not probably real. Right? My bet is, it’s not real.

Nikky Kinzer:
One day. Yeah.

Caroline Maguire:
And it lasted one day and hey, if it is real mazal tov, that’s not our people. Right? Mazel tov, that’s not who our kids are. And so that’s A. B I think we have to adjust our expectations in terms of what do you need to do in order to manage all this, because we’re all wearing many hats. I’m not saying that we don’t teach our kids but let me just take college students for a minute. A lot of people have left college, and they are doing this distance learning at home now. Now first of all, a lot of our kids don’t do as well with online classes.

Caroline Maguire:
There’s a ton of self-management and there’s a ton of self-advocacy needed, because your professor isn’t looking at you every few days. Right? So first and foremost, parents that I know are now very involved in something that they didn’t want to be involved with. But I think that’s where we have to go to the ADHD way versus the neuro-typical way.

Nikky Kinzer:
So glad you brought this up, because I work with a lot of college students. And they’re nervous, right? This is the first week that they are on online courses, and it’s really interesting. I guess maybe I was being a little naive, because I was thinking that they wouldn’t have such a hard time with the transition, because some of them have taken online courses before. But man, I mean that is wiped away. They are nervous, and they’re anxious, and some of them are really afraid that they started out really well and now they’re afraid that they’re going to decline.

Nikky Kinzer:
So when you talk about the ADHD way, what is that? What advice can I give, or how can I support, because it’s not advice? How can I support my clients and everybody that’s listening to this, who’s doing online learning? What is that ADHD way?

Caroline Maguire:
So when I say the ADHD way, I mean that we have to do things differently, right? So one thing, many of the colleges that had sent the students home, they are now reopening the coaching function. And you should check into a parent’s because in some cases you didn’t have to have it before. Because they know that these kids are going to reach a point of crisis. So if you need to, maybe your kid didn’t have a coach before, maybe they weren’t open to it before, but maybe now that they’re scared you have an opportunity.

Caroline Maguire:
So when I talk about the ADHD way, I mean we do things differently. We need more body doubles, we need more support. And also the problem with online learning is that, in many cases we find it a little boring. Boredom is how we ignite the brain, the opposite, we need interest. So I think there’s a couple of things. One, I would talk to your child about how can you make this interesting? And is it that you run on the treadmill while you listen to your class? Is it that you do it at night, and I’m kind of sitting next to you? Is it that you all get on some kind of chat function, while you’re doing your classes, you’re connecting distance wise with your friends?

Caroline Maguire:
But if there is a coaching possibility, whether a private coach, or through the college, I would enact that as fast as I could because that can be a tremendous support. The other thing is some schools have also started saying, “You can take pass/fail,” and I have talked to some parents who feel vehemently, “Well, we’re not going to do that.” Well, I think in some cases we have to deal with the cards we’re being dealt. And your kid might’ve done great if they were in-person, but now they’re doing this distance. So if there’s an opportunity to make this a pass/fail situation, this might be a better thing. The other thing is reach out to professors. Say to them, “It’s been five days. This isn’t going well.” And I have been finding that they have been really receptive.

Nikky Kinzer:
Especially if they already have accommodations in place. They’re going to see that as being something that they are going to want to help you with. The other thing I want to talk about with the pass and fail for all of the parents out there that are listening, I have heard firsthand how the anxiety level has gone down incredibly because they have the option of taking a pass/fail. So I’m just thinking of one student in particular, he told me now that that’s an option, I mean his anxiety is from a 10 to an 8.

Pete Wright:
Yeah, yeah.

Nikky Kinzer:
It’s still not great, but it decreases the pressure. And so I just want to emphasize that I’ve heard it. It helps. It helps.

Caroline Maguire:
Yeah, I think that’s why I brought it up, because I think the pressure and the anxiety is the biggest thing that I’m hearing and seeing. And as Nikki and I have both gone to, and I’m an instructor at the ADD Coach Academy, and so I’m hearing from, not just my clients but the coaches. So I’m hearing from hundreds of coaches and they’re saying that that is a huge thing. The other thing is that helping and coaching your child to reach out to the professor, and maybe they didn’t disclose their ADHD, maybe six months ago they wouldn’t even talk about it with you, your kid, I mean.

Caroline Maguire:
But maybe now that they’re a little scared, we can get them to do that, and they will. And I’m seeing a lot of that. The other thing I wanted to mention Nikki, is anxiety, which you touched on, and any kind of mood issues that are coming up, is to not be afraid. We may not be allowed to go see certain people. But, reaching out to the psychiatrist talking about mood, having your kid regularly rate their mood. How’s your mood today? What do we need to do to get you energized? I am a big huge fan of doing wacky things to get your brain engaged, to then do your schoolwork.

Nikky Kinzer:
Right, right.

Caroline Maguire:
Because this is kind of boring.

Nikky Kinzer:
Yeah. And I know that many therapists are doing the tele-health.

Pete Wright:
Yeah. And I was going to jump in on that because, I’ve spent the last week, helping therapists migrate to tele-health. And so I will say it is a struggle for a lot of therapists. This is a completely new model. And yet they have to. They have to for an indeterminate amount of time, they have to figure out how to migrate their practice online. And that’s not working for some people, and it’s working great for others. But I would encourage you to reach out because this last week, has seen an incredible shift in what the therapeutic community is doing, is able to do.

Pete Wright:
And in large part you might be surprised if you reach out what your therapist is going to say. Like what I’ve heard is “Gosh, yeah. I’m doing it, I’m on it. I’m on a HIPAA compliant video provider. I’m doing all the things right and I’m ready to talk to you from your phone, from your home, wherever it is, I’m ready to help.” And so that’s where we are right now. There is an option. It may not be palatable, but there is an option.

Caroline Maguire:
Yeah. I mean my son is five and he has a speech delay and he is going to start seeing his speech pathologist via tele-seminar, or whatever tomorrow for like 20-minute sessions, granted, because he’s little. But I mean they’re all trying to do things. So I think really, we have to encourage our young people to reach out. I also think it would be good if parents are struggling with structure, lack of structure, kids going into the bedroom, and not coming out to have a conversation, and make it a very collaborative conversation. Not autocratic about, “We’re all in this together. We would like sometimes of the day when you’re doing work, we would like sometimes of the day when you’re contributing toward the family.”

Caroline Maguire:
All the things that parents are feeling to actually, instead of cracking and screaming and all the stuff that we do as parents, to have a conversation. And also to hear their concerns, right? Maybe they are used to having so much privacy, and now they don’t have any. So having that collaboration is really, I think important too, because if we’re in this for a while, we don’t want to be fighting with those in our house.

Pete Wright:
I’ve got to say, in addition to that, one of the things that has helped us over the last week that we’ve kind of adopted, we’ve called them swaps for a long time, right? Distraction swaps. Like when you’ve worked for a long time and you just need a break. I don’t know why we call them swaps. Sometimes it’s, “I just want 15 minutes to watch a YouTube video and then I’ll get back to work, I promise dad,” that kind of a thing. We’re just increasing the number of stations in our house for swaps.

Pete Wright:
So we put out a puzzle on the kitchen table. So that’s one area for a swap. There’s music, my son started playing the piano out of nowhere. And so we got him the little app, the Yousician piano playing app and that’s over at the piano on an iPad. And so he can turn that on and go through a lesson. So there’s one station. We have the backgammon table set up in the living room, so our backgammon board set up on the Ottoman and the living room so we can, move in pairs in there and play a game of backgammon.

Pete Wright:
I would just say that’s been a really nice change in our house, just in the overall flow, because it involves all of us. Me and my wife, we’re trying to do our thing. The kids are doing their thing, but sometimes we all need a break and that helps engage our brains in a different way than just, “I’m going to take a break and watch a 20-minute show on Netflix.”

Caroline Maguire:
Well actually to that point, Pete, I would jump in and I would say, one of the golden rules with kids on the autism spectrum is to create a place for them to do work. And not their bedroom, a place. So one of the things that I’ve been doing, and I’ve been doing at home is to set up a place where kids can do their schoolwork. Maybe you sacrifice your dining room, that’s not their bedroom, right? So there’s a little bit of a fine line there. And you’ll actually create those stations.

Caroline Maguire:
So if you’re trying to get them to do things, instead of it having… Go a little Montessori style, right? Instead of it being you’re fighting them on. “You said you’d start at five o’clock.” To have like little stations throughout the house. “Now you’re going to move to do your science, and you’re going to go to the kitchen islands to do it,” and to give them that variety. But also there’s something about like having a place, and knowing that-

Pete Wright:
Yeah.

Caroline Maguire:
That’s what school is, right?

Pete Wright:
Right.

Caroline Maguire:
It’s the place you do this stuff.

Pete Wright:
Yeah. That’s great.

Caroline Maguire:
Oh and also, we would be remiss if we didn’t say, if your school is giving a ton of work, your kid can receive accommodation. So even though they’re at home, you can write to your teacher and say, “I know some kids are able to get 40 minutes’ worth of work done per class, but it’s making our lives hell. So can you cut this down?”

Nikky Kinzer:
Right, right. And something else I want to make a point of is the transition period. Right? It’s really difficult for ADHDers to not have a transition. And I’ve been finding this with some of my adult clients that yes, “I’m working from home, but then I go home, I’m home.” Like there is no time, right? To transition from work to home and all of that. So I think that going to your point of having these different areas, and then having that kind of transition time to know, give yourself that buffer, that moment to know that “Okay, this is what I’m doing next.”

Nikky Kinzer:
But take a walk, go outside, do something that kind of separates it a little bit, so that you can feel that transition time. I think will help too. Because right now it’s taken away from them. I mean they’re home and that’s it. So something to kind of think about too is how can you make that transition happen?

Caroline Maguire:
I agree. That’s a really great idea. It’s to give them that transition and that shift, and that might be a way to avoid fights too.

Nikky Kinzer:
Absolutely.

Caroline Maguire:
Is that, the minute they walk down into the kitchen at breakfast, whatever time it is, maybe you wanted it to be 8:00 AM and it’s now 10:00 AM. Give them that transition and then when they’re awake and they’ve had their Cheerios now sit down and have… When I say collaborative conversation, I mean not where you talk at them, but where you ask them, “Okay, here’s my dilemma,” right? “I need us to have structure, because I am still working and doing whatever. Can we talk about a start time that’s a compromise that would work for both of us?”

Nikky Kinzer:
It makes sense and it makes such a huge difference. I remember when my daughter was diagnosed with ADHD just recently, and my husband and I were talking about some different strategies and he had gotten an idea from her doctor that, he thought was this really great idea, right? On how to kind of keep her planner, which doesn’t really work. But he had these ideas, these great ideas about how to keep her time organized. And his approach right away was to tell her, “This is what I want you to do. This is how I want you to do this. So this is what you should try.” Well, the coach in me of course was like, “No stop, you can’t do that. We need to ask her what does she want to do? What does she think will help her keep her stuff organized? What has worked with her? What is she willing…”

Nikky Kinzer:
And really trying to ask the questions, so that the idea comes from her and it really is coming from her, right? She really is developing her own plan, which makes so much more sense and it’s going to stick much better than us telling her what to do. And thankfully my husband has really taken that to heart, and he doesn’t do that anymore. I mean we’re asking a lot of questions rather than just like you said, you’re not talking at them. It makes such a difference in your relationship. I mean-

Caroline Maguire:
Well, and if I can just say like, “[inaudible 00:39:10] don’t play with me, because Amazon still delivering.” There’s several chapters about using this method of open questions that Nikki is referring to and this is the perfect time to do it. The other thing I would mention too is that a lot of times kids have ideas, and if we ask them about it, they can give us those thoughts, and then this can end a lot of the conflict.

Caroline Maguire:
We’ve talked about Mr. Rogers and the helpers; I employ other helpers. So for instance, my daughter very proudly today told me that she doesn’t need to know math facts, that she can use a calculator and that her teacher, who I’ll be having words with, said that they can use calculators whenever. So I didn’t fight with her. I asked one of the college girls, “Are you allowed to do that at the SATs and under certain other circumstances.”

Caroline Maguire:
And I let them go ahead and tell her, “You know Lucy, you really need to know these math facts. They’re going to come up, blah, blah, blah, blah blah.” So use other people. We may be social distancing, but we have relatives. We have people who are willing to call, willing to chat with our kids, willing to tell them how they failed out of college, because they didn’t put structure in place. And you may want to actually do that.

Caroline Maguire:
There’s other people who can help with your kids during this time. They may not be in your house, but they can be just a phone call or a zoom call away.

Nikky Kinzer:
And I just want to add something, Caroline, to your book. I forgot about that. You have a wonderful chapter of actual questions too. You have examples of, you can ask these questions, so definitely I just want to recommend that to people who are looking for the words, like how do I say this? What do I say? It’s in your book. I know it’s a little bit of a different context, because you’re talking about the social piece of it, but it’s the same questions. It’s the same idea, right? So highly recommend that.

Pete Wright:
And also, yes, Amazon is delivering. The struggle is, have you gotten any word on delays? Because I’m hearing that this morning, Amazon has completely rejiggered their supply chain and now any non-essential items are being pushed way out. Like you want a guitar cord? April 21st. And so I’m curious how that’s going to impact-

Nikky Kinzer:
Do an e-book, right?

Pete Wright:
Yeah.

Nikky Kinzer:
Can’t you just do an e-book?

Pete Wright:
So that’s why I was going to say, we’ll post a link to the Kindle version.

Caroline Maguire:
There’s a few things. So Why Will No One Play with Me, is available on Kindle and on audio book, which I know many of us… When I say I read a book, I really mean I’m listening to the book, so you can Why Will No One Play with Me, that way. The other thing is, I know the president of Hashtag the publishing company, which is like the second biggest publisher in America, wrote us all over the weekend to assure us despite the apocalypse, we are still going to sell books and to calm down.

Caroline Maguire:
And one of the things he was saying is that, at the time Amazon wasn’t stopped, but you can order it even through my website. If you literally type in carolinemaguireauthor.com or play better, Barnes & Noble, all of those people are still delivering. I am as you know a shopper, my only hobby is shopping. And I’m doing a lot of little projects in the house because I feel like I have time. And so I’m still getting a ton of practice.

Nikky Kinzer:
That’s good.

Pete Wright:
Well you can still get packages and that is all good. But just the abundance of caution, and in terms of efficiency, we will definitely put the links for the Kindle and audio book versions in the show notes. You can get those right now, today, do it right now today. And Caroline even narrates the book.

Caroline Maguire:
I do, it took years off my life so please buy it.

Pete Wright:
It’s so hard.

Nikky Kinzer:
That’s fantastic.

Pete Wright:
So good on you Caroline. And other than that, you already pitched yourself. Look at you, you dropped the links and we’re going to put those in the show notes too. And our deepest, deepest thanks for you joining us today.

Nikky Kinzer:
Thank you so much.

Pete Wright:
Yeah.

Nikky Kinzer:
You came short notice; I think I texted you… Or not texted you, but emailed you like what? Maybe a week and a half ago. I’m like, “I know this is really short notice. Can you do this?” And you were so happy to do it, and I’m so thrilled. Thank you so much.

Caroline Maguire:
Oh no, thank you guys. I love doing this and I’m trying to balance, right? I think we have to realize these are difficult times for everyone, and to hold ourselves less accountable. Right? Give ourselves a break. On the other hand, one of my struggles that I’ll just say is that people are writing me from all over the world and one thing they’re writing me is, “Well, I guess we’ll just not do any of this social skill stuff, because we’re at home.” And that breaks my heart because, waiting is not the answer.

Caroline Maguire:
So I have been writing a lot of articles about how you do this at home, and how you have this huge opportunity to connect with your kids and to make eye contact. To have family dinners, to work on chitchat to work on having conversations with them. So I’m trying to balance. Like on the one hand, let yourself off the hook, if they watch a little more TV. Understand that’s part of it.

Caroline Maguire:
And on the other hand, I do feel like life should continue to go a little bit, because we have actually such a lovely opportunity where a lot of the stuff that pulls us as parents is no longer forcing… I’m not forced to spend five hours a Saturday at a pool, which means I have time to also… You know, my daughter and I are both reading Diary of Anne Frank and so we’re reading together and it’s good, it’s good perspective. It reminds us not to whine so much, because it could be worse.

Nikky Kinzer:
Right, right.

Pete Wright:
That is an ironic choice for living in quarantine. Is that the same vibe as, why everybody suddenly wants to watch the movie contagion?

Caroline Maguire:
I think it’s kind of the same vibe. It was on our list, and they had had a parent child choice thing last month, so we read Call of the Wild. And I felt that we all needed a little perspective. So yes, there is an irony in a sort of weirdness to choosing a book about staying in place. But I do think it’s important to remember that you’re in place, but you have-

Nikky Kinzer:
Internet.

Caroline Maguire:
… electricity-

Pete Wright:
You have internet.

Caroline Maguire:
…food-

Pete Wright:
Video, yeah.

Caroline Maguire:
… internet, Game Boy. There’s not war and bombs dropping on you and no one’s coming for you.

Nikky Kinzer:
That’s exactly right.

Caroline Maguire:
So I think that that’s a good thing for kids remember too.

Nikky Kinzer:
Yeah, absolutely, absolutely.

Pete Wright:
Yeah, I love it, I love it. And for us, right?

Nikky Kinzer:
Thank you.

Pete Wright:
And for us, everybody, gets to remember

Nikky Kinzer:
Oh absolutely. Yeah.

Pete Wright:
Well again, thank you Caroline. I’ll say it again, you’re a ray of sunshine.

Nikky Kinzer:
You really are.

Pete Wright:
That’s right.

Caroline Maguire:
Aww. Thank you.

Pete Wright:
Thank you everybody for downloading and listening to this show. We sure appreciate you hanging in with us and listening along as we too navigate uncertain territory. On behalf of Caroline Maguire and Nikki Kinzer, I’m Pete Wright, we’ll catch you next time right here on, Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast.