By Alesha Combs, Account Manager
How do you handle distracting colleagues? You know the ones I’m talking about. They ask you a million questions, half of which they already know the answers to, or could figure out on their own. They’re loud, even when you’re in the middle of a scheduled call or Zoom meeting. They tend to procrastinate and aren’t the most productive members of your team, unless someone is really pushing them to achieve. Some of them even struggle with their own personal hygiene! I’m talking about these new COVID-19 colleagues…your children.
During this pandemic, many of us are making the shift to work from home. While that shift may be wonderful in terms of cutting out commute time and minimizing morning preparations, it does mean for many parents, that their children are their new coworkers. Yes, you love them, but they’re distracting! It’s a full time job to make sure they’re getting their schoolwork and chores done, making good choices, and meeting their goals.
Making sure these small humans are staying emotionally healthy during a very uncertain time, and adjusting to the new normal that’s restricting access to their school, friends, and social activities, is another level of mental distraction. “It takes a village to raise a child”, but right now, you have to manage the overall wellness of your child, without a whole lot of help. How are you managing it? If the answer is less than perfect, then congratulations, you are human.
Kids are used to a highly structured school environment. When parents try to replicate that, what the child may interpret, is their parent telling them what to do… All. Day. Long. This can make kids irritable to even the smallest prompt or redirection. Some common signs that a child is experiencing stress include mood swings, sleep disturbance, over reacting to small problems, bedwetting, nightmares, bullying, defying authority, and lying. Is this ringing any bells? How do you utilize this new opportunity to teach your kids responsibility, self-awareness, and how to be a self-starter, without overwhelming them, and still having enough time to get your work done?
A child geared scheduling device and app called “Goally” could help you accomplish these objectives, while helping your child accomplish theirs. Goally is an electronic scheduling device for children. It is about the size of a chunky cellphone and acts as an interactive planner/scheduler, as well as a goal-tracking device.
Parents create and load their child’s schedule, and Goally prompts the child with each step or task throughout the day. Goally prompts the child with one task or item at a time, with a title, or picture icon for non-readers, and a visual timer. If the child becomes distracted and does not check mark the task in the allowed time, the device audibly prompts them with a pleasant sounding whistle. TIP: I do recommend creating the schedule with the child, not for them, so they maintain a sense of ownership.
Goally also helps your child set and accomplish their goals, by giving a set number of points for each completed task. You and your child work out a system, so they can redeem those points for rewards that you’ve both agreed upon. This teaches children to work towards their short and long-term goals without parents having to “keep score”.
Goally can be used for anything from a morning routine of brushing teeth and getting dressed, to homework, chores, and walking the dog. This tool offers children more independence and stress reduction, by encouraging them to be in control. It also means you don’t have to use your “mom voice”, which is a win for everyone!
I was originally told about Goally by my sister, a Registered Nurse and foster parent. She started using Goally for her 9-year-old daughter, and told me that her daughter “instantly went from daily tantrums and needing 3-5 prompts to get any single task done, to completing entire sets of tasks without any assistance from me. I had extra time to get my own work done.”
Goally is a dedicated device, meaning it only runs the Goally program. This is another positive aspect, as it prevents kids from using the device for games or movies. It costs $299 to purchase, in addition to a $9.99 monthly service fee. The monthly fee includes access to dedicated behavioral specialists, who you can access via phone, text, or email. Goally does offer a 30-day trial and is running quite a few promotional specials in response to COVID-19. It is also eligible for full coverage via a Medicaid waiver.
It may be worth noting that Goally was created as a tool for “neurodiverse” children, however that term encompasses all children. The need that Goally meets is not specific to only children with special needs. I would recommend Goally for children between the cognitive ages of Kindergarten through 5th grade.
We as adult professionals have had years of experience in self-regulation, setting and reaching goals, working well with others, and not leaving our shoes in the middle of the floor. Children are still practicing these skills. Goally helps parents reinforce their child’s positive behaviors and actions, setting them up for future success, while also empowering the child. This checks the box on our parenting goals as well. Check out Goally at: https://goally.co/