How Coronavirus Changed Our Lives

….And a Podcast was Born! This is the story of how the Coronavirus was the catalyst for this podcast,The Kids Are All Right!

So if you’re sitting comfy, we’ll get started. Once upon a time, long, long ago, in a far distant land…in fact somebelieve it might have been in an era called B.C…Yes, a long timeago…..B.C = Before Covid!
Joking aside, pre-March 2020, a world before this pandemic nightmarekicked off, is indeed a distant memory….And that’s because it IS adifferent lifetime….a totally different world.

B.C I ran an entertainment business specialising in kids shows and eventsand also worked freelance in TV production as a production manager andproducer. For the last 25 years, life has been very varied and reallyinteresting with no two weeks….No, I’ll be honest, no two Days the same!And I loved it.

I’ve always said over the years that if I won big on the Lotto, that I wouldstill keep working….as my work with kids, in entertainment and thecreative production of stage and TV shows is in my bones, it’s what makesme tick!

March 2020, we had just launched a brand new fundraising show wherethe kids are the stars and were on the cusp of launching a live actionpuppet show that had been gaining a lot of attention….Things wereexciting for the whole team!

And then yes….COVID.

And everything stopped overnight.

For people old enough to remember the cartoon Road Runner….and therepeated joke of the Cayote forever chasing the Road Runner and alwaysbeing tricked into speeding over the edge of a cliff, to end up fallingvertically straight down onto the rocks….Well, that’s the image I held inmy head back in March 2020, that’s how it felt. But then so many peoplewere in a similar position. Meep Meep!We all appreciated the good weather that luckily accompanied this firstLockdown….How would we have managed otherwise, we all kept thankingour lucky stars!

But as weeks grew into a month or two and these grew into half a yearand the kids were still out of school, still missing their sports andactivities, still missing seeing their friends, family andgrandparents….Missing ‘Normal’ – I began to hear more and more storiesfrom friends of how their kids were showing signs of stress and anxiety.Then it came to my own door as one of my daughters began to seriously struggle.

After some time, I realised we needed some professional help, we couldn’tseem to ‘fix’ this one ourselves. But due to Lockdown as well as thegreatly growing number of kids seeking professional help, it was almostimpossible to find anyone that could see us.

And then by a sheer stroke of luck I was passed on a number by anotherMum and we were squeezed into a psychotherapists busy schedule.

It was amazing to see this professional in action. She wasn’t telling mydaughter what she needed to do, she empowered her to engage with aplan of action that together they created and built which let her takeownership…and then to take charge of the issue.

Ultimately, she helped her to help herself.

And I’ll be honest, that’s a motto I have tended to ascribe to over my years.

An amazing English teacher I had in secondary school; a strict lady thatnot one person would dare step out of line with, but whom we all lovedand respected, had a favourite saying that in fairness she uttered not justonce, but weekly in our class;

“The only thing you learn about spoon feeding in the long run, is theshape of the spoon.”

I have said this line so many times over the years and many, many moretimes since my daughters came along, they know it more than well! But itnever gets old to me…its fresh message is as clear and inspiring as thevery first day my English teacher said at the top of the class with a twinklein her eye.

As parents we want to protect and care for our kids…we want to takeaway all of life’s problems and pain, shield and mind them. But we can’tdo this forever and it won’t help them to build the life skills and life toolsthey will need in the long run to negotiate this tricky world when they dofinally fly the nest!

The best favour we can do our kids is to love and support them to findtheir feet, find their passions and help them discover the copingmechanisms that work for them to get around or over life’s bumps whichwill inevitably come along their path at some point.

Help them, to help themselves. They need to grab a spoon of their ownand dig in…..

Another outcome of Covid, but a very good one this time, was a friendintroducing me to the world of podcasts.

How had I not know about this incredible world before?! I was instantlylove!

Audio has always been a very natural format to me as my Dad was asound engineer in RTÉ Radio and I spent many a weekend going into workwith him when my begging got too much and he would agree to let meaccompany him. The weekends in the radio centre were an oasis of calm,very few studios in use, very few people around and for an 8year old waspure bliss as I could meander around soaking up the energy andexcitement of live radio that I felt hung in the very air…I could smell it.

The best days to be allowed in were Sundays, as even better, a canteenlady would do the rounds of the studios with a noisy tea trolley with allkinds of delights to eat and drink….and needless to say as a child of 80’sand with relatively few treats on offer, I heartedly helped myself from thetrolley. Those days spent in the radio studios were some of my favouritechildhood memories…and I would take any opportunity to turn a schoolproject into an audio project…..myself in the studio, my Dad on the otherside of the glass at the sound desk.

After a lot of hard graft and driving producers mad with a constantbombardment of ideas for items and inserts into the shows they produced,I finally got my break when a producer let me do holiday cover on theDrivetime Show on Radio 1. And then I kept coming back!

I fell into TV by accident…and then stayed there for many years.

But my first love is audio, radio is in my bones.

Then one day during Lockdown, I had just come home from yet anotherwalk within my 2K permissible area…..and I heard a piece on the radioabout the massive increase in calls from kids to a Help Line.

I thought this over. I thought about my 25years working with kids and how I knew I connectedwith them differently to most ‘normal’ adults (!)

I thought about my daughter and how lucky we were to have been able toaccess the help that made all the difference.

I thought about all the kids at that stage…and the more that would findthemselves struggling as the pandemic continued….All the kids and theirfamilies who wouldn’t be able to access help due to the ever increasing

waiting lists as Covid continued to disrupt all the normal social humanityof being human….

And then Bingo!

It just made sense. A health and wellness podcast specially for kids thatdiscusses anything and everything that impacts on kids’ sense ofhappiness and wellness; a podcast that asks the kinds of questions theywant to know and gives them the kind of information and advice they canunderstand and actual tools they can use in their day to day lives to helpthemselves be and stay well in body and mind.

And who better to step up on behalf of the kids to ask the tricky questions,than the very lovable and witty puppets, Buster and Buddy!

Parents are encouraged to listen to the podcast with their kids so they toocan pick up valuable nuggets of information to help support their kidsbuild a happy and healthy life and develop a resilient mindset….AND it isa great conversation starter.

A great way to listen to podcasts with your kids, is in the car where thereis the opportunity undivided attention. It’s also a great habit to build upand gives parents a pleasant 20minutes of peace and quiet! (just saying!)

If you can’t Bluetooth the podcast directly through your car audio system,then simply bring an external speaker into the car and Bluetooth connectto it from your phone and play the podcast this way.

I really hope you enjoy this with your kids.

And remember….

“You Can’t Stop the Waves, But You Can Learn to Surf.” (Jon Kabat Zinn)

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