Archive February 2021
Balancing lockdown life whilst distanced learning
We have been hearing from many families that they are finding it hard to maintain a calm and settled household whilst balancing distanced learning, work, furlough, the needs of siblings or other family members and their own wellbeing. To regain balance, we can make small adjustments to help us to feel more resilient. If we are able to meet more of our emotional needs, it is easier to feel calm and be able to cope with difficulties. Our Children and Young People’s Facilitator, Louise Harris has some tips to help you to meet your emotional needs:
Meet your own needs as a parent/caregiver
If you are trying to do everything all at once, it may leave you feeling stressed, drained, unable to think clearly and running out of patience. Taking some time to focus on your own wellbeing can help you to feel well and more able to cope with pressures. Studies have found that even just ten minutes’ walk can help to regulate emotions and settle your thoughts, which can leave you better prepared to deal with challenges.
Including children in a daily walk can help them to feel more settled, or if you are able to walk alone or with a friend in the evening, it can allow time for privacy or connection, both of which can help you to feel more mentally well and able to feel ready for the next day. Movement helps to burn off cortisol caused by stress and releases endorphins which can help you to feel better. Movement can also be dancing round the kitchen, vigorous housework or hide and seek if you are staying at home.
Take small steps to meet the need for achievement
Schools are working hard to provide plenty of learning opportunities both on and off-line to support children. In addition, many extra-curricular facilities are providing online sessions and challenges. If you are feeling the pressure to keep up, remember that sometimes to get the best out of learning opportunities, it is better to lessen the amount of tasks you are trying to accomplish at a one time. Sometimes children feel this pressure, and their own emotional state, rather than their capability, can be a barrier to them being engaged in learning.
Instead of ticking every task off the list in one day, try taking small steps to complete one task well, to help children to meet their need for achievement and feel proud of their work. Writing about something they are interested in or learning about, drawing a picture or creating it from craft materials and sending back to their teachers can show that children are engaging with learning whilst helping children to meet their need for achievement and remaining in wellbeing.
Encourage better sleep for all
For children to have time to settle their thoughts and feel calm, they need some time away from screens which is difficult when most learning as well as entertainment is online. You may be finding that your children are finding it harder to settle to sleep or that they are getting out of bed many times during the night. Sometimes, if children haven’t had time for quiet reflection, or privacy, they can go to bed with thoughts, questions and worries that keep them feeling restless and awake. Try and balance this in your home by including some time each evening away from screens to do something that keeps hands busy but allows time to let thoughts settle such as drawing, building or creating something from crafts.
Maintaining the balance within your home at this time can be challenging, but by thinking about the emotional needs of both yourself and your children, you may be able to take small steps to help everybody to feel more towards wellbeing.
Author: Kristina Brinkley