May 06, 2020
A really good outcome from isolation is that parents are taking back the reins. It may be temporary but this is a great time to feel more empowered as a parent, as your children are perhaps more reliant on you while their own networks have become smaller, or not so accessible.
For example, I was speaking to a lady who has been amazed at the cooperation of her children with herself and another who decided to have a hit of tennis at the local park every afternoon. Sounds like fun!
Having fun is really important amid the flood of negative news and horrifying outcomes.
Calming one’s self or self-soothing is important for both the parent and child so that any anxieties and worries do not become overwhelming. To refresh the body and mind – Is there a mini safe-place you can make in your home or in your garden? A place to sit and engage with the senses – What can you see? What can you hear? What can you smell? and breathe… breathe deeply…
Stretching and releasing muscles one at a time can help your body feel relaxed. Children react differently, they may need your close attention and affection - they too, need to self-sooth by doing the things that make them happy and relaxed. Some will begin to act out – not in a good way. They will take their cues from you and will look to you for reassurance. Talk about and help them understand their feelings. Perhaps through play, drawing and painting.
Check out the Child 360 app – it will help to check-in with how the kids are going.
Encourage your child to access kidshelpline if they need to talk to someone outside the family.
This is time for a new routine – but whatever that looks like for you, try and stick to it.
Kids always feel safer within boundaries – and as hard as it can be, setting boundaries and sticking to them is an expression of parental love. Young people are using technology more for socialisation at this time. This is hugely important especially for teenagers. We know the guidelines about screen time but these are unusual times – don’t beat yourself up over excessive use of technology.
Screens can be switched off at a reasonable time as normal, so that children can have a good night’s sleep. Even teenagers need to have a switch-off time so that nights are for sleeping.
If you are supporting those with complex needs due to trauma – the Blue Knot Foundation have some fabulous resources and fact sheets easily accessible through their website.
Optimism is contagious! At the end of the day check in with the family and share: “three good things from the day” or “three things I am grateful for”.
In this time of Covid-19, there are many front-line service workers that fit the bill as an example…. this is a good time to help our children see a bigger picture.
Reflect on what you are grateful for. If you are a parent, perhaps reflect on your parenting (normally you are way too busy for this!)
Get a notepad and ask yourself some questions - these reflections are for yourself or to be shared:
“A good thing about my family is…”
“One way we have fun in our family is…”
“I was proud of my children when….”
“I was proud of myself as a parent when….”
“One thing I hope my children remember me for is….”