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It's hard to imagine someone could be running a country (in the middle of a global crisis, no less) while taking care of their children without any help, but that is what Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is up to these days.

After his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, was diagnosed with COVID-19 she isolated herself away from the PM and their three children, 11-year-old Ella-Grace, 6-year-old Hadrien, and 12-year-old Xavier. The nannies were told to stay away as the PM's household went into self-isolation to prevent the spread of the virus. Suddenly, Justin Trudeau was solo parenting without any help while leading a country through a crisis.

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And when a world leader is late to a conference call because his 6-year-old's bath didn't go as quickly as planned, it makes international news.

A world leader working from home with no staff while his three kids chill in the background is not normal (because this pandemic stole our normal). But hopefully, when we do get back to something closer to normal we remember this time. Hopefully Trudeau and other powerful men in Canada (and around the world) remember what it was like to parent and work without childcare.

Because it is something that many parents in Canada and the United States were doing even before the day cares closed.

Before COVID-19 changed our world Motherly frequently reported on the high cost of childcare in the United States, where having just one kid in day care can cost parents around $3,000 in some cities, a cost that makes working prohibitive for some parents.

Canadian parents, too, were struggling with sky-high childcare costs pre-pandemic (and many still are struggling to pay for child care they are not using because they don't want to lose their spot).

Parents in Vancouver and Toronto spend upwards of $2,000 for day care for one child, making the cost of childcare comparable to a mortgage payment and across the country the average is $1,000 a month. Meanwhile, Canadian childcare workers are struggling with extremely low wages, especially in areas where provincial grants meant to attract and keep staff were recently cut, or where pilot projects to reduce fees recently ended.

Just a few short years ago it looked like solutions were on the horizon in Canada: In 2017 Justin Trudeau offered billion-dollar investments in childcare at the federal level, Alberta rolled out a $25 a day care pilot that looked promising, and BC voters were promised $10 a day childcare—but three years later Alberta's pilot ended just before the pandemic hit, Ontario parents saw provincial cuts result in more expensive day care bills, and BC is still a long, long way from universal childcare (just ask a Vancouver couple who pay almost $4,000 a month to keep three kids in day care).

The issue of staggering childcare costs in Canada is largely ignored in international coverage of the country, or even worse, Quebec's affordable childcare scheme is mislabeled as a Canadian solution, suggesting that the entire nation has access to what Quebec's parents do (a month of day care for under $200). But Canadian parents outside of Quebec struggle every day to afford childcare and mothers bear the brunt of this financial burden. The median income for a woman between 25 and 54 in Canada is $40,000 (the median income for men in the same age group is about $13,000 more). For a woman who takes home $3,333 a month, a $2,000 day care bill is a significant burden and a perfectly understandable reason for dropping out of the workforce.

In 2016, when Justin Trudeau was not yet the Prime Minister but was on the campaign trail, he was asked repeatedly about affordable childcare, particularly the need for a national universal childcare solution—something Canada still does not have.

Targeted investments from Trudeau's government meant to create more childcare spaces have had little impact on the day care bills of the average Canadian mother.

As Brock University Brock University's Kate Bezanson, Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, and Associate Dean of Social Sciences, argued in research published in the Journal of Law and Equality, the lack of a universal childcare system in Canada "leaves the biggest lever for women's economic participation largely untouched."

Within Canada, Bezanson and others have criticized Trudeau's Liberals for often claiming to be "feminist government" without creating meaningful policy changes that live into that label, including developing universal childcare as a public good, but Trudeau is often held up as an example of male feminism on the international stage.

Right now, Canada's PM is getting a lot of good press, news coverage that is creating a warm and fuzzy (and not undue) super dad narrative, as he can be overheard telling his kids "Daddy's on an important phone call right now," while leading his nation through a crisis. Trudeau's caring, feminist reputation, tarnished in the last couple years within his own country, is recovering its former sheen on the world's stage.

It is awesome that Trudeau is making this work. He's setting an example of social distancing and is leading his country in more ways than one right now. And he's showing the world that dads aren't helpers, they are full, capable parents. His personal commitment to social distancing and fatherhood can be a valuable example to other men leading nations and households through this crisis. Being a caregiver and a nurturer is just as important as being strong right now, but nurturing is often seen as a mother's responsibility and mothers feel undervalued and unsupported in our society.

It's understandable that Trudeau is not pondering universal childcare right now, but as crisis mode gives way to post-pandemic planning it is so important that he does, not just as Canada's Prime Minister but as a man who can inspire other leaders and nations. When the Trudeaus and the rest of Canada gets through this trying time, when workplaces and schools eventually reopen and the economy can function again, Canada is going to need its women in the workforce more than ever. And the best way to get parents working is to give them affordable childcare. Quebec has proved this. Canada can prove this to the world.

Trudeau has previously said "Access to affordable and quality child care is too often a barrier for many Canadians who struggle with the need to work or return to school. That is not right."

Months from now many parents are going to be struggling to return to work or school, and for the sake of mothers across his country, I hope Justin Trudeau doesn't forget what it is like to try to work without childcare.

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As a mid-Spring holiday, we never knew exactly what to expect from the weather on Easter when I was growing up in Michigan: Would we get to wear our new Sunday dresses without coats? Or would we be hunting for eggs while wearing snowsuits?

Although what the temperature had in store was really anyone's guess, there were a few special traditions my sister and I could always depend on—and it won't come as a surprise to anyone who knows me that my favorite memories revolved around food. After all, experts say memories are strongest when they tie senses together, which certainly seems to be true when it comes to holiday meals that involve the sounds of laughter and the taste of amazing food.

Now that I'm a parent, I'm experiencing Easter anew as my children discover the small delights of chocolate, pre-church brunch and a multi-generational dinner. While I still look forward to the treats and feasting, I'm realizing now that the sweetest thing of all is how these traditions bring our family together around one table.

For us, the build-up to Easter eats is an extended event. Last year's prep work began weeks in advance when my 3-year-old and I sat down to plan the brunch menu, which involved the interesting suggestion of "green eggs and ham." When the big morning rolled around, his eyes grew to the size of Easter eggs out of pure joy when the dish was placed on the table.

This year, rather than letting the day come and go in a flash, we are creating traditions that span weeks and allow even the littlest members of the family to feel involved.

Still, as much as I love enlisting my children's help, I also relish the opportunity to create some magic of my own with their Easter baskets—even if the Easter Bunny gets the credit. This year, I'm excited to really personalize the baskets by getting an "adoptable" plush unicorn for my daughter and the Kinder Chocolate Mini Eggs that my son hasn't stopped talking about since seeing at the store. (You can bet this mama is stocking up on some for herself, too.)

At the same time, Easter as a parent has opened my eyes to how much effort can be required...

There is the selection of the right Easter outfits for picture-perfect moments.

There is the styling of custom Easter baskets.

There is the filling of plastic eggs and strategic placement of them throughout the yard.

But when the cameras are put away and we all join together around the table for the family dinner at the end of the day, I can finally take a deep breath and really enjoy—especially with the knowledge that doing the dishes is my husband's job.

This article was sponsored by Kinder. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


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Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel are abiding by social isolation recommendations with their 5-year-old son, Silas. The family of three has been holed up in their vacation home in Montana and while Timberlake says they're doing good (and grateful to be in a place where they have some outdoor space for Silas) he admits he and Biel are missing having help.

During an interview with SiriusXM's Hits 1 this week Timberlake was asked how his marriage is holding up under the stress of isolation. "We're doing good," he said. "We're mostly commiserating over the fact that 24-hour parenting is just not human. It's not. "

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He's not wrong. Parenting isn't something we are supposed to do in isolation. Throughout history, we've had support from extended family, friends and our communities, the proverbial village. And now we don't have that, which means we don't have breaks from our kids—something Timberlake is missing.

Justin Timberlake on Being in Quarentine with Wife Jessica Biel youtu.be

He says sometimes even Silas looks up at him with an expression that shows he is needing some space from his dad, too. "Just a commercial break," Timberlake jokes.

We all need a commercial break from our kids sometimes. Experts say that in these tense times when togetherness is necessary and our kids need us more than ever, we also need to carve out space when we can by doing things like waking up 15 minutes before our kids do for a quiet coffee break, or maintaining a bedtime schedule to allow for some adult time at night.

Encouraging independent play is another way for parents to get some space when they need it. According to Biel, Silas (who just turned five this week) is super into Legos right now, so maybe he can build some projects on his own the next time he needs a commercial break from this dad.

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A lot of people remember actress Jennifer Stone for her teenage role opposite Selena Gomez on Wizards of Waverly Place, but these days the 27-year-old actress is all grown up and has a new career as a registered nurse.

Stone still acts, but she's also been busy pursuing a career in nursing and graduated at the end of last year. On #worldhealthday this week she posted a photo of her hospital IDs, and later added an Instagram Story showing off her scrubs and nursing shoes for a day of work at the hospital as an RN resident.

"I just hope to live up to all of the amazing healthcare providers on the front lines now as I get ready to join them," she captioned the pic of her hospital IDs.

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Stone's post is going viral and reminding people that nurses are the real superstars in our society right now.

Nurses are the backbone of the fight against COVID-19, but we don't have enough of them, the World Health Organization (WHO) pointed out this week. WHO says globally, we're about 6 million nurses short of how many we need to fight this pandemic, and notes that about 90% all nurses are female but few nurses (or women) are found in senior health leadership positions.

"Nurses are the backbone of the health system," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said this week. "Today, many nurses find themselves on the frontline in the battle against COVID-19. This report is a stark reminder of the unique role they play, and a wakeup call to ensure they get the support they need to keep the world healthy."

Meanwhile nurses and the unions supporting them continue to raise the alarm about the lack of personal proactive equipment (PPE) and N95 masks for these critical workers. Nancy Nielsen, former president of the American Medical Association recently told CNBC that it's important to understand that "health-care workers are at risk, and they need to be protected with protective gear to prevent infection," and that "these women [in health-care professions] also have responsibility to take care of parents, who are older, and school-aged children...So their lives are enormously impacted by worrying about elderly relatives and by school closures."

Nursing is a career that doesn't get enough respect in our society, and while we need more nurses, it's hard to get them right now. Stone's December graduation made it easier for her work than the students who would be graduating next month and are stuck without necessary requirements.

Stone went viral this week because it's not every day that you see a Disney Channel star switch to hospital scrubs, but we have to remember all the nurses that are working to save lives with little recognition or support. Kids are still watching Stone on old Wizards of Waverly Place reruns, but society needs to watch out for women she'll be working beside, too.

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So much has changed for our kids in recent weeks. The normal routines are gone, they can't see their friends and extended family (or in some cases, even their first responder parents). If you're noticing your child regressing a bit during this difficult time, don't worry, mama. It's totally normal if your preschooler is suddenly wanting to pretend to be a baby or if your school-age child wants way more cuddles and comfort than they did two months ago.

Here's what you need to know about child regression during the coronavirus pandemic:

Regression is a totally normal response to what's going on in the world.

Little kids don't have the vocabulary or experience to tell us that they are stressed and in need of comfort. Instead, they might say "pretend I'm a baby" or ask for lullabies you haven't sung in years. A potty-trained child might start having accidents and older kids may say "I can't do it" when asked to perform a task they have previously mastered.

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This does not mean you are failing, mama.

"Regression is typical in normal childhood, and it can be caused by stress, by frustration, or by a traumatic event," doctors Hermioni N. Lokko and Theodore A. Stern note in their research on the subject.

According to psychotherapist Noel McDermott, everyone (even us adults) is likely to regress or not function at our normal level during this pandemic. "Children are going to regress more than adults, and the younger the child, the more the regression is likely to be." McDermott tells The Huffington Post.

Comfort is key in addressing regression.

Regression can be frustrating for parents, especially during an already stressful time when everyone is locked in the house together. It's going to be frustrating to see a puddle of pee under your 6-year-old's feet or to have your preschooler throw tantrums you thought they'd outgrown.

It's okay to be frustrated, mama, but experts suggest that scolding or punishing a child who is regressing only makes it worse. We need to meet regression with kindness, comfort and open arms, even if our kids are refusing to do something we need them to do, like brush their teeth or wash their hands.

Dr. Laura Markham of AhaParenting tells Today "the best intervention is reassurance." Markham suggests parents offer a safe space to kids who are having a hard time and try using phrases like "'You are having such a hard time right now, aren't you? Don't worry, Sweetheart. I am right here to help.'"

She continues: "You step in, hold her kindly, make it fun, and get the hand-washing accomplished."

Recognize that you are your child's rock, but you are also human.

Parenting during a pandemic and economic recession is incredibly stressful. Alone time for moms was minuscule before and practically a fantasy now. You might be longing for a quiet moment. Our hearts melt the first time our children say "mama," but if your blood pressure rises when you hear it for the 10,000th time a day that's okay. It doesn't mean you're not a great mom, it just means you're stressed and so is your child.

"With more anxious children, they may be asking more questions than usual, and seeking reassurance that everything is going to be okay," Genevieve von Lob, a psychologist and author of "Happy Parent, Happy Child" tells The Huffington Post. "Parents may also find that their children are more unsettled at bedtime and are scared to be left alone."

But it is important that mama be left alone, sometimes. If you have a partner or another adult in your home this may mean that they take over caregiving to allow you to have an extra long shower or just some alone time in your bedroom. If you don't have another adult in the home, try to steal a moment for yourself where you can, even if that means the dishes go undone or the kids watch Frozen 2 for the 10th time.

"Try to be aware of your level of stress and anxiety and be kind to yourself," Dr. Tovah Klein, director of the Barnard College Center for Toddler Development tells Today. "Take 15 minutes in the morning to have coffee by yourself before children wake up."

Bottom line: Regression is natural, normal and hard.

Our kids express anxiety in ways that can be very difficult for parents. Sleeping and eating problems often develop when kids are stressed, and when you've been up all night worrying about how you're going to put food on your table during this economic turmoil it's hard to deal with a kid who is suddenly very picky about what you're serving for breakfast. But for kids, anxiety and stress often manifest as eating and sleeping issues.

It's rough, but this is the time where we need to come at our kids with kindness and connection. They need us more than ever. It's okay to sing a lullaby to 10-year-old or rock a 4-year-old to sleep. They need the extra cuddles right now.

We can't control how out of control the outside world has become, but we can help our children feel safe (even when the world isn't).

As psychologist and parenting coach Dr. Rebecca Schrag Hershberg previously wrote for Motherly: "Children show their stress in different ways: throwing more tantrums, being more moody, irritable or defiant, or regressing in a particular area such as language or potty training. However your kids are showing that they're worried—or even if they are not yet—there is nothing more valuable than giving them a hug and letting them know you've got them and it's all going to be okay."

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This week isn't going to be an easy one for most of us. There are hard things happening in the world right now as the coronavirus pandemic continues. We're not going to pretend like this is an easy time to be a parent, because it is not. It's okay to say you're not okay today. But it's also okay to allow yourself to enjoy the lighter moments of life because these moments are still happening inside our homes during the pandemic.

This is a hard week, but there are still so many things making us smile.

Here are a few of the good news headlines we're loving right now:

This baby's quarantine style birthday party is going viral 

So many events have been canceled because of the pandemic, and many first birthday parties are among them. For parents who were looking forward to celebrating their little one's first birthday with friends and family having to cancel the guest list is hard.

Mama Kylie Najjar was one of the many parents having to make the hard choice to cancel her baby's birthday party, but she decided to make it special by doubling down on the theme of social distancing.

Her baby's big day has now gone viral because even in a difficult time like this pandemic, small moments still matter and can still make us smile.

This viral illustration highlights how the pandemic is impacting newly postpartum mamas 

The artist Spirit Y Sol touched so many mamas this week, letting art speak for the women who have had their postpartum experience changed so drastically by the pandemic. Through an essay and accompanying illustration Sol describes what was stolen from those currently in the fourth trimester.

"This is not what you had planned. This is not what you'd envisioned. There are no visits from friends, no loving doula bringing you soup, no "mommy and me" yoga classes, no coffee dates, no stroller walks through the park." Sol writes.

"But mama, know this—We are alone. Together. You are surrounded all the other mothers who are navigating this tender time in isolation. You are held by all of us who have walked the path before you and who know how much you must be hurting. You are wrapped in the warm embrace of mama earth, as she too settles into this time of slowness and healing."

Sol is right. We are in this together, mama. And we are here for you.

Some Good News with John Krasinski has a surprise for Hamilton fans 

Last week we told you about John Krasinski's new coronavirus YouTube series, Some Good News, and this week he's going viral again with his second episode.

He gets his wife Emily Blunt to make an appearance and organized a treat for Hamilton fans, having Lin Manuel Miranda and the rest of the cast put on a performance (through Zoom, of course).

We love how Krasinski is using his creativity and connections to make people smile during this tough time.

This mom just welcomed baby no. 22, 30 years after her first child's birth! 

Back in February we told you the mom of Britain's biggest family was going viral after announcing she was expecting her 22nd child.

Now, Sue Radford's 22nd baby is here. She's a girl and her name has not yet been announced by the Radfords, Sue and her husband Noel.

Sue was 14 years old when the couple's oldest child, Chris, came into the world in 1989 (Noel was 18). Both Sue and Noel were adopted at birth and when they found out they were expecting as teens they decided together to make the choice to parent.

Four years after Chris was born they got married, and a few decades (and many kids) later they became reality TV legends in the UK, starting with a show called 15 Kids and Counting. They now have more kids than their American counterparts from 19 Kids and Counting, the Duggars. Besides TV appearances, the Radfords also own a pie shop.

In total, Sue has given birth to 12 girls and 10 boys so far (one son, Alfie, was stillborn), but giving birth during the coronavirus pandemic was a bit different. "I was so worried that Noel wouldn't be allowed to stay with me," she told The Sun.

Radford continued: "We have all been isolating and it seemed wrong to leave our safe bubble to go to a hospital, but when I got there I felt safe straight away."

Kristen Bell's Hello Bello launched a new 'camp' you'll want to check out 

Everyone is looking for extra ways to keep kids entertained these days and that's why Kristen Bell + Dax Shepard have launched Camp HelloBello on Instagram Live and IGTV!

Each week there's a new schedule for activities like singing, dancings and crafting (and Hello Bello is paying people creators to participate, you can apply to be a "camp counselor" at CampHelloBello.com).

According to a press release, "Schedules will be released on a weekly basis with lots of special guests (like Kristen + Dax and their friends) and members of our community to add some extra creativity to kids' days (and fill up some time for the parents too!)."

Sounds super cool!

This viral post highlights how our kids are 'little heroes' during this crisis 

There is a viral post floating around the internet that gives some credit where it is due: To our children.

Our kids have been champs during this crisis, as the post notes, "their little lives have been turned upside down...[but] every day they get up and carry on despite everything that is going on! Painting pictures, drawings to show their support to the heroes out there and to make other children walking past feel better!"

We see you, little heroes.

You're doing great and we are so proud of your resiliency!

Viral video shows even social distancing can't stop toddlers from 'socializing' 

Twitter user Toby Marriott went viral this week thanks to an 8 second clip of his nephew, "the friendliest toddler you'd ever meet." According to his uncle, this 3-year-old always says hello to anyone he meets on the street, but he's not running into any people on his daily walks these days...so he has to pretend.

"Hope this brightens up your day!" Marriott captioned a video of his nephew saying hello to an invisible friend. It's super cute and if we hang in there, one day this little guy will be able to say hello to his neighbors again.

Viral poem 'For the Lockdown Babies' puts mamas' feelings into words 

Mother and blogger Gráinne Evans saw her art go viral this week after she wrote a poem that is striking a cord with so many mamas. It's called "For the Lockdown Babies" and it's being shared all over social media this week because Evans' words capture the experience of so many parents right now.

The poem is set in the future, when we're all explaining this time to the babies and little ones who won't remember it.

"Sure you were only a baby" I'll tell her when she asks,
About that time in photographs when everyone wore masks.
"You don't remember the chaos when the world was forced to rest."
"You had all you needed in my arms and at my breast"

"You never even noticed" I'll tell her then I'll say,
"I held you as the weeks went by, we took it day by day"
"We were safe and happy, right where we needed to be".
"I fed you snuggled in my arms, protecting you was key".

"You were only a tiny baby" I'll tell her and explain,
Why so many people were afraid, anxious and in pain.
"It wasn't always easy, those isolating newborn days,
But feeding you flooded me with love, got me through the haze".

"You were a lockdown baby" I'll tell her when it's time,
"I was your whole world back then, just as you were mine",
"And now, though it's just a memory, I still smile when I see,
A rainbow in a window, put there for you and me."

Dad's viral video proves that while isolation is hard on families, it can also be funny  😂

Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic is so hard. It's a serious crisis that we at Motherly are taking seriously, but a viral video from a dad stuck working at home with his family reminds us that it's okay to laugh at the lighter moments during this difficult time.

Talent and Sports agent Jason Finegan is now working from home while his family isolates inside it, and he posted a hilarious video to Twitter.

"Day 10 and we've now cracked.. wife on her knees singing with kid in xmas clothing and dog going nuts," he captioned the clip that shows his wife, singer Rachel Adedeji singing along to Whitney Houston as their daughter (dressed like a Christmas elf) sits beside her. Eventually, the toddler and even the dog join in on the singing.

Many parents are laughing along with Finegan because they can relate. Days don't matter as much anymore. Kids are celebrating Christmas and Halloween on a random Thursday in April just because they want to. And mamas are singing to keep from cracking up.

This is hard. But it's okay to laugh, too.

This is the advice we need right now: Start + end the day with activities, have a 'mediocre middle'

View this post on Instagram

My friend called last night. Her 4 year old son was screaming, just screaming. She says: My life is hell right now. I’m trying to work and the only time I get a moment of peace I get all day and night is during TV Time. I say: Wait. Stop Did you just say the words: TV TIME? WHAT DO YOU MEAN “TV TIME?” Parents, Listen to me and listen good: “TV TIME” is for PEACE TIMES. You know what “TV TIME” is during the corona? TV time is ALLLL THE TIMES. ALL THE TIMES. ALL. . You know I love you and I always try to be gentle — but this: MOM SHAMING YOURSELF DURING A GLOBAL PANDEMIC IS WHERE I MUST DRAW THE LINE. IF YOU INSIST ON EDUCATING THE WEE ONES DURING HELL, HERE ARE YOU OPTIONS: Sit kids down. Turn on TV. Walk in after a few hours, mute the TV, turn on closed captions - Reading Lesson DONE. Yell: How many Daniel The Tiger episodes is this? They yell back: Seven! - Math lesson DONE. They yell: Can you turn it up? You yell back: TURN IT UP YOURSELF - Technology lesson: Done. They yell: Can I have some water? You yell back: Walk to the kitchen and get it yourself. Physical Education: DONE They whine: Mommy I’m tired of TV. You look them right in the eye and say: Listen to me, baby. Keep on keeping on. Don’t quit. You can do hard things- LESSON ON RESILENCE AND STICK-TO-IT-IVENESS: DONE. . To think of all of you depriving these children of these essential life lessons because of your own TV shame issues. It’s sad. Really sad. #GetUntamed

A post shared by Glennon Doyle (@glennondoyle) on

Glennon Doyle is a mom and a bestselling author, but she's also a former preschool teacher and has some excellent advice for parents during this challenging time. Back when she was teaching preschool she discovered her students only really concentrated on the first and last activities of the day. So she gave herself permission to have a "mediocre middle" and it worked.

"No matter what I did all day, the students only remembered the last thing we did," she says in a video posted to Instagram. "All of them. That's all they remembered. That's all they talked about to their parents."

She continues: "All you have to do is finish strong...I decided every day to start strong and finish strong and just have a big mediocre middle. One cool thing in the morning, one supercool thing last. Mediocre middle. Done and done."

According to Doyle, now is the time for all of us to lean into screen time if that's what we need to do. It's okay.

"After breakfast, read a book with them — that's starting strong," she says. "Then a quick seven-hour TV show. Then before dinner, turn off the TV and do something cool, something fun. Not Pinterest fun. Just easy fun. A board game, I Spy. That is finishing strong. Then dinner, then obviously another family show."

For a lot of us now is not about homeschooling, it's about surviving without school. And Doyle's advice is just what we needed to hear today.

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