Parents: How to write around children

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Parents: How to write around children
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Tips, advice, helpful resources for keeping kids occupied and happy while we're trying to write... and of course, a space to have a really good moan when it all gets a bit too much.

Here in the Netherlands they've just tightened restrictions again and if this doesn't work (if people don't follow the rules - they've been pretty slack, annoyingly) then we'll go into full lock down again. I noticed that schools in Prague have closed again and there are likely to be more closures. Do you feel more equipped to cope with homeschooling if it happened again? I just feel a huge sense of dread, but I think I -and the kids - would find it less bewildering at least. 

Hi everyone, are all your children back in school/childcare or is anyone still navigating home school? Here in the Netherlands, we're back full time which is a little nerve-wracking but so much better for the kids. 

How is everyone finding the school holidays? I've found them easier than I expected (easier, not easy!) because my kids seem to be exhausted by the last term and more happy to just slob around, entertaining themselves. We've been going out for a forest walk most days (there are a couple of forests on the edges of our city) and that helps prevent them going too loopy. I've missed being able to safely take them to those horrendous big soft play warehouses though. Even though they were noisy and sticky and headachy, I used to get a few hours work done there while they careered round. 

HI All, I have had my 8 & 11 year old daughters at home since March - home schooling and then entertaining during the holidays - I'm lucky enough to still be working full time - all be it from home, my wife is a midwife pulling 12 hour shifts in horrific conditions. You can now spot a medic as they all have have spots around their mouths, ether that or their sniffing glue!

When she's at work it's been chaos - during teams meetings I've had:

Slime dropped on my head. One child on each knee crying. (they fight a lot). A rabbit running around the table and staring at the other teams participants - that one went down well actually, more interesting than the teams meeting. My eldest in the background making tik tok videos, my youngest presenting the world with a nose-bleed, both of them freaking out after a wasp flew into the kitchen, excessive noise as they play roblox in the next room. More tears as they have cut and styled each other's hair. (I got into a lot of bother for letting them do that.) They also took next doors cat into the blow up hot tub (when it had no water in it they turned it into a den. The cat didn't like it. The hot tub no longer works. Cat claws and blow up hot tubs don't go well together it seems.

As for writing - well on the back burner for now - I only get to do some during lunch time when my wife's not sleeping or working and able to manage the carnage. I don't think my kids are overly naughty but they're so used to having a catalogue of activities - gymnastics, swimming, brownies/guides, running club, drama, musical theatre that they are bored.

Also, we as a couple have not had a single hour when one or the other of them have not been with us - grandparents shielding - kids and parents are not designed to be together 24/7!

Schools in Scotland go back in 2 weeks - salvation is at hand....unless we get a second wave!!

fingers crossed


Today is the first day that I've had to myself to myself since lockdown started.  My daughter is having a much needed day without my company after being stuck at home with me 24/7 for four months and I've taken the day off work to give myself some rare time to write without interruption. I took an hour out of my writing this morning to catch up on Holly Seddon 's Jericho Festival webinar on 'How to Find the Time to Finish Your Novel.' I realise the slight irony with this, but in my defense I did listen to her session whilst also doing a workout so I think that still counts as efficient use of time! It was a great webinar and I've taken plenty away from it, particularly around how not to feel guilty about spending time writing and how to find time to write even when it feels like there is no time in the day to do so. 

I'm a new writer, writing my first novel, and spending any time on writing always feels like a bit of an indulgence.  Listening to Holly today helped me put a whole different perspective on this and I'm now more motivated then ever to get my book finished. Thanks Holly! :)

My youngest kids (5 and 12) broke up from school yesterday and they're already yelling at each other in the other room about something that's happening on the Nintendo Switch. Two months to go! How are you all doing?

There are at least two published writers that I know of, who home school ALL the time. Not just during lockdown. Sophie Anderson and Matt Haig. So it CAN be done!

Searching online for general advice for working whilst home schooling, it seems to come down to what Holly said below about finding slots when the children can be independent. 

The challenge I am finding at the moment is that when they are being more independent, I'm shattered! But that's something for me to work on...

Good luck everyone!

 i wonder what the outcome would be, if a brainstorming session was organised to engage wee ones, and then you try (subject to age), to tell your story (so far), or a synopsis, and get reactions, suggestions and directions from your children, ... almost, regardless of age, to then mould their truth, and uncluttered views and insights to develop the story, based on innocence, and blissful ignorance. would that then make for a much shorter work, cos they just cut through he crap? 🤔 ... 😁. just thinking out loud... stay safe all 🙃

How are we all doing? Here in the Netherlands the youngest kids are back part time and I've seen a huge improvement in their happiness and in my work rate! From tomorrow, my second oldest is back several days a week. I'm nervous, very nervous, but trying to be sensible. 

I always knew kids needed structure and routine but I didn't realise how much I needed those things until this happened! 

"how do i like my children? fried!" was WC Fields a writer 😂 i think many parents are concerned with judgement over decisions regarding time occupied for children. occupied with what? if i let them do this i could write, but what would others say? should i be spending time with them, as in orchestrating things for them to do? if i feed them this, they will love it, it's quick but not the healthiest... what will others say? children just need attention when they need attention, love when they need love. success in life i feel, is just about accepting the moment in front of you right now. that by giving time as and when needed, everything will be ok. including your creative flow. this 'sense' of 'expectation' will deliver great rewards (like comfort), when your path is one of love for all things (including yourself 😁). remember, when you get 'uptight' about anything, that constricted  🤔... 'bit' 😁, is also a constriction on your thought processes; ergo you are somewhat polarised perhaps? 'blind anger' blinkered view' etcetera.                                       the cure ... 

pause, be present. be loving. it cost nothing eh!  🙃 (kids just want to do, what they want to do. if safe and happy, rock on 👍)

i have a 9yr old. school work 🤔 just bits. reading ("come and do it in the office with me" 😁), ... anything else, "come do it in the office with me 👍. will his partial lack of academic application during several months of pandemic isolation impact his his success at 18 or over when he's sitting in a chair having an interview ... i think not. would anyone in their right mind mention lack on focus for all things school during lock down, again i think not. 

conclusion. don't sweat the small stuff. 🙃

How is everyone doing? The best tip I've heard is to tire the kids out early, all the school work and activities when they have maximum energy in the morning (if possible) and then when you let them zonk out a bit in the afternoon, you can hopefully get some work done... this isn't always possible in our house but when we can do it this way, it definitely works best. What about you?

Hello everyone!

I hope you are all keeping safe and well, and that things aren't proving too horrendously challenging for you right now.

I am SERIOUSLY struggling to write at the moment. So this is the perfect group for me.

I have a Reception and a Y2 child at home. They're quite demanding. As, no doubt, all children are, whatever their age. It might be difficult for us, but it must be so hard and confusing for them too. I am trying to be understanding. 

I hadn't logged on to Jericho Writers in some time, but woke up yesterday and felt the urge to attempt to restart my writing!

Looking forward to being inspired by, learning from and maybe even groaning melodramatically with you all.

Best,

Rebecca