Pause for thought!
We are constantly reminded that we are living in unprecedented times. There is a lot of worry, anxiety and fear in families and communities right now. Normal life is not what we have known it to be. It has changed drastically. So understanding the needs of your child is even more important. They too, are experiencing the changes which lockdown brings. Some children have enjoyed staying at home with family while others have found it difficult to have their normal routine abruptly change; to not see friends or play outdoors freely is confusing to say the least. Homeschooling is a definite challenge to some parents and children because it is an unnatural arrangement. In some cases, behavioural management becomes an issue, because children do not see mum and dad as their teacher. Children trying to engage with the teacher through a computer screen does not always make sense to them. They have to adapt and this is not easy for them. Change is not easy for anyone! Some children are also having to understand separation and the loss of loved ones for the first time and they share a complex range of confusing emotions. Children are affected perhaps more than we understand and as adults, it is important to take the time to think through the best ways of supporting them.
Take time to listen, engage and support:
Listen- There is something really wonderful about being ’emotionally present’ with your child, taking what they say seriously. Show interest in the things they say.
Interests – It is incredibly encouraging to support and encourage your child’s interest, regardless of what they are. Completely child-led activities are empowering for them.
Support – Manage any challenging behaviour by helping them understand what they are feeling and why
Routine – Introducing school-like structures at home is not easy but it is necessary. Their day must match the school’s routines so that they can fit into school life again with ease. Routines enable children to feel secure and prevents parents from feeling overwhelmed.
Try these activities at home:
Draw or print some emotions pictures or words, then lay them in a circle on the floor and play some music. Dance around until the music stops and pick up the card you land on and act out the emotion or describe a time you might feel it and let the other players guess!
Creating a calm atmosphere for children could be a classical piece of music like Animal Carnival by Camille Saint Saens whilst colouring, here’s the youtube link https://youtu.be/k2RPKMJmSp0
You could also read a link from the Anna Freud centre on helping your child with any anxiety they may feel.