Quarantine with a toddler for the next 21 days is a daunting prospect. In the few days we have been self-isolating my 3-year-old has commandeered the house and has both parents marching to her orders. The daily adventures of trying to work from home while keeping our little one away from the TV and rather occupied with mind-nourishing activities are taxing, to put it mildly. Luckily the chaos is interspersed with cute and funny moments that make it all worthwhile. This got me thinking how a radio audience and a toddler need similar inputs to coax the magic out of them. I list these similarities below:
They both need structure to their day. If you start to mess with when and how things get done, both the toddler and the audience will stop behaving as you would prefer. If a routine needs to change, tell them in advance and keep telling them with a good reason for why the change has occurred. If you stick to a routine their behaviour will be predictable;
Both toddlers and audiences will reward you with moments of magic, provided a framework has been set to allow the magic to happen. My little one comes up with the cutest lines when we are playing a game or doing activities. An audience also needs to be stimulated with content that allows them to be the star from time to time. A presenter asking for a call or voice note without context or reason is never going to lead to a moment of magic. Toddlers and audiences like to be heard but need the guidance of a parent/broadcaster to give direction and context to the conversation;
Toddlers and audiences love a treat and will generally do as requested should the treat be good enough. Too many prizes on air these days feel like a cobbled together afterthought of whatever was in the marketing cupboard;
Toddlers and audiences know what they want and will tell you in no uncertain terms if you are not giving it to them. Both are brutally honest;
Toddlers and audiences will stand up for you. They love you, so don’t give them reason to change their minds;
Toddlers and audiences enjoy good content repeated. Too often great pieces are played once and never heard again. My toddler and I have seen Frozen more times than the animators. Good content repeated is not a tune-out factor; there is no reason why a great piece should not be repeated or played in other time channels.
In summary, toddlers and audiences want to be entertained and informed. If you are not providing the content that will engage them (to quote a movie I am soon to be watching AGAIN), they will simply “Let it Go, Let It Go” and tune in somewhere that is.
If you want to join my home school group, mail me, you can tune out while I tune in!