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  • Self Care... to Steer Your Child Through Stormy Waters

    By Danielle McKenna

    lionesslifecoaching.co.uk

    Singleline: Shutterstock

    We are currently living in uncertain and scary times. Guidelines changing, economy under threat and global death numbers climbing. We are in a state of war nothing like anything that this generation has experienced before.
     
    Everyone I speak to, be they family members, friends, clients or the little old man stood behind me in the supermarket queue yesterday, we are all worried about the coming days. So it is any wonder that our children are also experiencing increased anxiety.
     
    For the sector of the family who thrives most on routine, it is an unprecedented experience to have their schools closed and routine disrupted. Time apart from their friends, the clubs they enjoy and social distancing from people they love, like elderly grandparents - who lets face it, these days do much of the raising too. It takes a village, and right now that village infrastructure is taking huge daily adjustments. Without question they will be picking up on our energy, not to mention the fact that for once the adults don’t seem to be any wiser too.
    So what can we do to introduce calm and a bit of normality over the next weeks and months to come?...
     
    1.

    Answer any questions they have to the best of your ability. Don’t lie, children are smarter than you think. Their intuition is, more often than not, more honed than ours, so don’t break their trust when they’re already feeling strange

    2.

    Routine. With home schooling I truly believe routine will save us. Yesterday I started a timetable for Sadie and I. She is 5 so phonics and basic maths are important, but so is being creative and free time. I have tried to include 3 choices for each lesson so she can feel involved in decision making on what her day looks and feels like too. I haven't yet received the guidance from school, and am sure this will be great, but it helped me to take the lead on how our days will be structured.

    3.

    Don’t push it. At the moment the only thing that matters is that they feel loved, safe and secure. If it’s a battle getting them to sit down and learn then take a break. The last thing you need is to feel more stressed too. If it’s a cuddle and a film you all need then go with it.

    4.

    Move. If you have a garden try and get outside whatever the weather. Nature is so soothing and a constant whatever we are facing. Nature can reset our souls. (Sadie and I are going to be planting seeds together). Joe Wicks is offering P.E lessons for children at 9.00 every day on his YouTube channel to encourage movement. God bless Joe Wicks!

    5.

    Limit screen time. This goes for all of us. I found myself glued to the tv yesterday and all it did was increase my anxiety. Tune in for the important announcements but don’t have the drama played out constantly. Children will pick up on this too and not all stories are helpful or even relevant.

    6.

    Get creative and play. Use those paints at the back of the cupboard, play that board game gathering dust and do that puzzle you don’t usually have the time and patience for. Colouring can also be so mindful for adults as well as children. Encourage story telling and reading together.

    7.

    See this time to rest and reset as a gift for your family. I personally am thrilled I get some concentrated time with my daughter where we will bond and have fun together without the pressing engagements of every day life. She has no idea about mummy's den making abilities, but she soon will . . .

    8.

    Schedule alone time. I am going to attempt to get 30 mins to myself a day (not including evenings after bedtime) where Sadie will know that mummy needs to be quiet. Wish me luck!!

    9.

    Virtual play dates. As we are in a state of isolation they will be missing their friends. Schedule some FaceTime or let them send voice notes or silly videos to each other. My neighbour and I have already scheduled a glass of wine over the fence for next Thursday. Can you do the same for your children? Also, connect your children with your elderly relatives over the phone, FaceTime and Skype. We need each other now more than ever.

    10.

    Look for the beauty and the silver linings, I promise you they are there. Notice the days when the sun is shining, notice spring started to unfold in the garden. Practise gratitude as a family, have meaningful conversation, impart wisdom, tell stories about your childhood and theirs, and just cherish one another.

    I understand that we are living in difficult times and of course I am concerned for our elderly and the economy and what that means for my family and I in the days to come, however the hippie in me also has high hopes.
     
    We know that the way we have been living as a society needs to change, perhaps this is the global change that the human race needs. I hope with a change to reflect, we will emerge as a more compassionate and mindful society where we truly think about the issues that matter, and consider each other more.
     
    Suddenly magazine stories filled with gossip and plastic surgery villains or heroes seem irrelevant. Suddenly that disagreement you had with so and so seems ridiculous. Influencers who get paid per post for ‘skinny tea’ or whatever mindless crap we get fed with suddenly is obsolete. As we focus on the realties of feeding our families in the days to come, thigh gaps are less important. We are separating what occupies our minds with what is important to us and good for our souls.
     
    With blue skies over China, a massive decrease in pollution in Italy and the Venice canals running clear with visible fish and swans, it’s amazing how quickly our planet can heal when it’s given the chance to rest - like us.
     
    The hippie believes that we will come together as a planet and as a planet we will heal together, but this starts at home and with our children too. Right now their mental wellbeing is more important than their academic schedule and we will catch this up eventually anyway. Educate them on kindness and compassion, practise gratitude and find the positives in this crisis too. Good luck and stay safe. I am sending love to you all, remember we are all in this together.
     
    *if anyone is struggling with anxiety and needs some support around managing it and self care, I am happy to take emails at this time free of charge. Danielle@lionesslifecoaching.co.uk