Leadership / 06.30.20
How to Deal With Your At-Home Kids While Still Working Your At-Home Job, Part 1
The stresses of the pandemic era are many. When will we get to enjoy a stage play or musical again? When will our stadiums be filled with raucous sports fans again? Will we ever hear live music? And when will we sell tickets to all these events?
Then, there are the everyday stresses of having a job and keeping a job. There is the stress of having been furloughed or let go entirely. For those who are still fortunate to have a job, there has been the transition to remote work. And then there are those who are parents.
COVID-19 has closed schools in most parts of the world. Consequently, this has meant a lot of family time. I have a 15-year-old daughter, and every time I hear her call out “D-a-a-a-d,” it might as well be “Ka-ching!” Because it means “Dad, can we order a pizza?” or “Dad, can I watch this on pay-per-view?” or “Dad, can I order this off Amazon?”
So, how are other professionals in our industry dealing? Actually, some are doing quite well! The first of this two-part article features tips, insights and anecdotes from INTIX members with young kids — from babies to middle schoolers. Part two will feature parents with high school and college-age kids who are sheltering in place.
The Games People Play
“I read tips from a submarine veteran, who described that the crew would start marathon games of gin, gin rummy or some other game. So, we started some long-running sessions of a dice game called Kivi, with glory and prices going to the winner at the end of the day. The kids have also done a few ‘challenges’ — yes, YouTube influence — like spending three hours straight on the trampoline. Bliss.” —Martin Gammeltoft, Vice President of Commercial Operations at Activity Stream Inc. in Denmark, and father of two sons, ages 13 and 10.
“My two older two girls love playing Roblox. It is an online game platform that allows them to play games created by other users. They set up an account for me about a year ago, and I have tried a few different games with them. But I could never keep up with how fast they play. But we finally came across an Uno game in Roblox that we all enjoy playing. So, each night before they go to bed, the three of us sit down and have a battle for a best-of-three match. If either of them wins the night, they get 80 Robux ($1) from me. Robux is money they can use to buy things in the other games that they play. If I win, then I just save myself a buck for that night. And in true ticket nerd fashion, I have a spreadsheet that I created that keeps track of the day and the week so we can check off who won which night and keep a tally of weekly wins versus overall total wins.” —INTIX Chair Anthony Esposito, the Atlanta Braves’ Vice President of Ticket Operations, and father of four daughters (ages 11, 10, 6 and 4).
“I taught them poker! While this is in fact true, we also have been playing a ton of other games together as a family. We also bought a basketball hoop for the driveway.” —Derek Palmer, Chief Operating Officer of Qcue, and father of two daughters, Cordelia (10) and Willa (8).
Changing the House Rules
“My wife and I decided early in the pandemic process to relax — or even break — many of our long-standing rules for the kids. We threw out the rulebook for traditional evening bedtimes and morning routines, just to allow a little bit of excitement in an otherwise drab situation. At first, it felt like the beginning of summer vacation, but after the first few weeks of not seeing their friends, going to the park, camping or any of the other fun activities that come with summer, the reality of the quarantine started to set in. That led us to breaking a second long-standing rule of no social media. We noticed that my 9-year-old was having an especially hard time with not seeing her friends or interacting with any other kids besides her 5-year-old sister. We conferred with a few other parents and decided to allow her to utilize Messenger Kids via Facebook to see and chat with her school friends. For those who have never utilized Messenger Kids, parents are in control of who their kids can connect to via the app. We act as administrators of her account, and my wife and I have a real-time view of her chat conversations with her friends. Needless to say, our phones are abuzz with unicorn emojis during the windows of time she’s allowed on the app!” — Dusty Kurtz, President of TicketsWest, and father of two daughters, Brooklyn (9) and Callie Joe (5).
“We’ve really limited screen time, which has resulted in creative and collaborative play for my kids. They’ve built villages from cardboard boxes, made doll clothes from lonely socks and set up shops to sell their artwork (we conveniently offered curbside pickup). We’ve also used this newfound time to stay active by taking family walks, playing nightly games of H-O-R-S-E in the driveway and batting practice in the backyard.” —Nick Begley, Senior Marketing Manager at AudienceView, and father of son Landon (8) and daughter Camryn (5), with a baby on the way in October.
Nick Begley's new baby announcement.
“I am lucky because my daughter is older and fairly independent. She set some of her own goals on projects and has been outstanding at keeping after them. A few outside of keeping up with her schoolwork include organizing kitchen shelves and the pantry, clearing an overgrown area in the backyard and painting an old cabinet so she can use it in her room. School just ended last week, so she is getting some ‘time off’ before we work out her summer routine.” —Sara Chebishev, Customer Success Manager at AudienceView, and mother of a 13-year-old daughter.
“For the first three months of the pandemic, my husband and I staggered our work schedules so someone was always fully available in case our daughter needed anything. That has made for some very long days and late nights! Since we both work from home full time and can easily break away from work if needed, we recently adjusted our schedules so that our daughter has mornings to herself as independent time. I love to watch how she chooses to amuse herself during this time. It usually involves imaginative play with her many stuffed animals, reading, listening to audiobooks or belting out improvised ballads about whatever she is thinking or feeling at the moment.” —Mara Hazzard-Wallingford, Vice President of Business Development and Marketing for Tessitura Network and mother of an 8-year-old daughter.
Invest in Some Backyard Fun
“One of the first things we did after our older daughter had her daycare closed is buy a bouncy castle!” —Trevor Mangion, Ticket Operations Manager at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts in Vancouver, and father of two daughters, one turning 3 in September, and the other who is 14 months old.
Trevor Mangion's kids in their bouncy castle.
Don’t Forget Their Birthdays
“Birthday parties during quarantine have been interesting social experiments! My daughter turned 13 in May, a big milestone for a teenage girl, and we wanted to make it special. Not being able to see friends at school has been difficult. So, we jumped on the ‘birthday parade’ bandwagon, inviting friends to decorate their cars with signs and messages and drive by with birthday wishes on the special day. We also installed a ‘balloon bouquet’ with the number 13 in front of the house.” —Craig Ricks, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Paciolan and father of two daughters (ages 13 and 9).
Whatever It Takes
“Working from home all the time presents some interesting challenges for sure. I’ve had to default to always using a virtual background in Zoom meetings so that my children and husband are invisible when they are in the room with me. My boys very sweetly want to be near me when I’m working but get very camera shy and don’t want anyone to see them. So, they often are lounging in the bed right behind me, reading, while I take meetings, and nobody ever knows they are there.” —Rebecca Throne, Burning Man’s Head of Ticketing, and mother of 9-year-old twin boys.
“Since this pandemic began, my youngest has begun doing three to five costume changes a day! She likes to match whoever she is watching on TV. Popular choices being Queen Barb from ‘Trolls 2,’ Dorothy from ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ Belle from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and Elsa from ‘Frozen 2.’ She also likes to put on her new makeup and put on performances to her favorite music. She was broken-hearted when we reminded her that when/if school starts, she will have to wear the same clothes all day. To which she said if she has an ‘accident’ at school, she gets to change her clothes. So, that will be fun!” —Tiffany Kelham, Member Services and Executive Associate for INTIX and mother of two daughters, Taylor (6) and Annalise (4).
Tiffany Kelham's daughter.
Mealtime Is Family Time
“Normally, we don’t eat dinner as a family during the week. In these quarantine times, we now cook together and eat as a family every day. We talk about manners: the way to use silverware, how to put a napkin on your lap and what you talk about during dinner. We ask how everyone’s day was. Then, we list three things that each person is thankful for. It has to be things that happened that day. This exercise has shown me perspective through a 4-year-old’s lens. Now that we’ve been following this practice for a couple months, the girls start by asking these questions themselves, no longer waiting for me to prompt them.” —Amy Graca, Vice President of National Ticketing for Caesars Entertainment, and mother of twin girls.
“My boys have always been interested in cooking, and it’s something they’ve done in school since preschool. But finding recipes they can feel confident to execute completely on their own has given them such a sense of purpose and pride. And it keeps our house well-stocked with some impressive chocolate chip cookies and banana bread!” —Throne
Find the Humor
“My 5-year-old may be the most creative problem-solver I’ve ever encountered. She came out one morning last week and asked if it would be okay to go jump on the trampoline. We told her it had rained extensively the night before and the trampoline was soaking wet. So, she would need to wait until the sun dried it off. I told her we didn’t want her getting drenched in the nice clothes she had just put on for the day. She quietly went back into the house and emerged a few moments later wearing a swimsuit and goggles. She snapped the goggles over her eyes and headed toward the trampoline. I looked at my wife and said, ‘I have to give her credit. She found the loophole in my argument!’” —Kurtz
“My wife and I have continued to work full-time from home during the lockdown period, so there have been times when our kids lacked direct supervision. One afternoon, we heard a commotion in my son’s room. This included my daughter frantically asking Google how to get slime out of her hair. We calmed everyone down and were able to solve the problem — after consulting with Google, of course. We all learned a couple of lessons: One, Dawn dish soap gets slime out of hair; and, two, playing catch with slime is a one-and-done activity in our house!” —Begley
Look forward to Part 2 of this series, coming soon.
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Tags: Leadership , Workplace , COVID-19 , Coronavirus