Staying Sane while Staying Home (with kids)

Staying Sane while Staying Home (with kids)

Thrive Parenting Podcast  Episode #1

In our first episode of the Thrive Parenting Podcast, Jennie and Lynn interview parents from around the world, gleaning great ideas about staying sane while dealing with the challenges of life during the COVID-19 stay at home orders. Below is a summary of that conversation which can also be seen on youtube, or wheverever you get your podcasts.

Staying Sane while Staying Home (with kids)

I keep hearing celebrities and others talk about what people should be doing during all their “extra time”during the Coronavirus pandemic. Every time I hear it, I can’t help but think of those parenting children with extra needs, knowing that for them this time in quarantine could provide many challenges rather than extra time.

We asked our panel of parents what they were doing with their “extra time,” and, after they stopped laughing, they shared with us their tips on how they’re staying sane during this time while parenting a child (or children) with extra needs.

Get everyone active

  • A family from Moldova who lives in an apartment shared that keeping the kids active had helped tremendously. They drive to a different place every day and spend around two hours hiking. 
  • Another family kept their children active by purchasing a piece of exercise equipment
  • One mom shared that she goes for a run during her 15 minute break from work instead of sitting around.
  • One mom, whose boys enjoy skateboarding, decided to purchase a long board so she could join in with them.
  • A great resource one family shared was It provides a variety of ways to get kids (and parents) active, as well as some breathing exercises.

Use the resources you have

  • One family had a relative who’d been furloughed from his job. They started using their daycare money to pay that relative to watch their kids while they worked. Others have been paying older children home from college to watch their younger children.
  • The mom from that same family shared that she started using the candles and other treats she’d purchased for “special occasions.” She encouraged other to consider the quarantine a special occasion and to use those items you’ve held back using.
  • A single mom recommended that people recruit relatives or others to read to kids via Skype or zoom to give themselves a short break. She also shared a resource for “virtual babysitting” called Virtual Babysitters Club (

Re-frame Self-Care

  • With six kids at home, many of whom have special needs, one mom shared that she’s had to re-frame what she views as self care. “Getting a shower is now a huge deal….”
  • Another mom reminded us that “This isn’t working from home. This is trying to work during a pandemic….” She has been trying to go easy on herself, reminding her that this is no easy task.
  • Still other parents encouraged other families to maintain consistent bedtimes 

Revisit an Old Hobby (or Take Up a New One) and Consider Including the Kids

  • Since her children need a lot of help with homework, one mom has learned to crochet so she have something to do while they work.
  • Another mom has started doing scrapbooking again.
  • One dad took up a new online game to play with his friends.
  • Another family was surprised when they paid for everyone to take an online art class together  and all their kids, even the ones who don’t consider themselves artistic, loved it. (

Take Creative Breaks

  • The family from Moldova builds a break into their day that has helped their sanity. After they return from their hike, the kids have an hour or two of quiet time in their rooms.
  • Others encourage consistent, early bedtimes for the night-owl parents to have some alone time or enforcing an early morning quiet time for early riser parents to have some time to themselves.
  • Another family has come up with a creative way to have a date night. They provide each child with some form of electronics and dinner and send them into their rooms to play. While the kids are enjoying their screen time, the parents enjoy a movie and take out in the living room.

I hope that these ideas can help you find creative ways to spend all of your “extra time” while in quarantine.


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Our hosts

Jennie & Lynn Owens

Jennie & Lynn Owens

Jennie is a foster parent trainer and Author of the book Dancing with a Porcupine. Lynn is counselor, founder and co-owner of Canyon Lakes Family Counseling. Together they have parented over 100 kids including the 4 they adopted.

our Special Guests

This Week we are joined by:

Sasha and Sara Pascal

Amanda Daniels

Ashley Miller

Dayna Sabbath

Chaney Mobley



You don’t have to wait for wednesday night!

The conversation happens all week long in our private facebook group. Here you can ask questions, get ideas, vent, or just share your favorite new meme. We also post a video of the large group times on our new Youtube channel. Connect with us anytime online.

How to help kids reduce anxiety – Two Tips

Potty Break Episode 7

Wondering how to help kids reduce anxiety during the holidays? In this episode we continue part 2/3 of dealing with children’s anxiety during the holidays. Today’s tips: How to help kids breath to relax and how to teach them to play in a way that fights anxiety.

Additional thoughts not in the video:

As a therapist I tried for years to figure out a way to get kids to do breathing exercises. We know that good mindfulness practices can be so helpful to treating anxiety and stress that I wanted them to try it. Getting an explosive child explosive to breath is challenging when angry. For kids that are anxious we had a hard time getting them into the routine because frankly, it’s boring. Additionally, often these kids have very poor control and awareness of their bodies and have a hard time regulating their breathing.

Enter: Sesame Street App. It was just different enough that when a kid started melting down I’d say, “looks like your upset, lets play a video game.” They would stop their meltdown and sit down long enough to get to the breathing part of the game.

The heart math system teaches kids to regulate their body in a fun way. As long as we provide external motivation for hitting certain milestones (prizes), they will engage daily if it is part of their routine. If you are going to pickup the heart math for your kids know this: The iOs app and hardware is half the price and is portable enough to use in the car or in a waiting room somewhere. However, it lacks the games that are on the mac/pc version.

Show Notes:

Potty Break is a series of daily training and encouragement videos for foster and adoptive parents…designed to be watched during those precious few minutes that you can find some alone time….your potty break.

Links and products from today’s show:

Tools and Resources: How to help kids reduce anxiety mentioned in this episode

Sesame Street Breathe:

Heart Math:

EmwavePro (for mac & pc)

Inner Balance (for ios devices)

Vagus Nerve


If you find this series helpful, be sure to subscribe to our youtube channel, or head over to facebook to join in the discussion.

Do you have other tips that have helped kids reduce anxiety? If so put them in the comments below.