Life As A Child Part 1
Reassurance Amidst Uncertainty
We are certainly all experiencing a higher level of stress and anxiety with the pandemic affecting day to day lives, finances and relationships. Children thrive on security, predictability and extended family / community. This year we have seen that all change and everyone is having to cope with more insecurity and lack of control.
For some children who were only just about coping before the pandemic covid restrictions have created a huge impact on their life. You may be seeing difficult behaviours escalating as your child feels the stability they were hanging onto such as regular activities, future plans and contact with extended family has had to change and you can’t even reassure them about when we will back to normal.
A Challenging Time for Parents
Many parents will find it hard to be as positive with their children as they usually are and parents need to take care of their own feelings as well, You may be feeling despair, loneliness, frustration, heartache or boredom.
For perhaps the first time you’ve found yourself unable to reassure your child, feel anxious yourself and maybe your family has been personally affected by Covid either through health issues, loss or financial issues.
Taking care of yourselves as parents is harder during lockdown but also so important. Making the most of the opportunity to have childcare bubbles this time round could give you the opportunities to put yourself first on occasion.
We cannot give a date for when life will resume in the way we knew before but you can reassure your child that you can get through this together and they don’t have to face their feelings alone.
5 Tips for helping your child during lockdown
- Let them know it is okay to feel upset, angry, fed up, furious, sad, scared or lonely when they cannot see friends and family or do the same activities they did previously. Naming what you think your child may be feeling gives reassurance those feelings are okay. Too often we expect our child to tell us what they are feeling but we need to give them the language for emotions by observing, noticing and saying out-loud what we think they are feeling with acceptance and curiosity
- Be playful with fantasising about what your child wants to do to the coronavirus, they can draw pictures of this also. It may be they want to lock it up in jail, destroy it, bury it deep underground, blow it into space or stamp on it. Playfulness can have a role in helping a child feel empowered and release tension.
- Notice together the things they do have control over and perhaps make some new routines within the home. Point out what has worked to help them feel better in the past so they can learn about self care and apply it in the future. You could create a self care poster and use it to go back to when they are struggling.
- Encourage loved ones to send cards in the post and exchange drawings with each other. The FaceTime contact many people are having is clearly beneficial but for a child to know they are kept in mind after the call has finished by receiving a card can be very special.
- Have a way of containing worries: you can have a worry box that your child pops their worries in for you to read and discuss, you can have a worry book where worries are drawn and contained within the book or a worry teddy that listens to and takes away worries. Identify the worries they need help with and any adult worries that they can give to you to take away. The Huge Bag of Worries is a useful book to look at with your children which shows how they may carry around too many worries, some of which can be put down.