Parenting tips: Lockdown 3

Wow! I’m sure I’m not alone in finding parenting harder these days.

My children are 11 and 14 years so I feel very lucky that their school is providing live virtual lessons for most of the school day, but, I’m still feeling frustrated by the constant moaning about having to do “school” at home, the need to keep checking my teenager is actually doing some work and of course, the continuous cries of “I’m hungry”. However, my heart goes out to those of you with younger children, especially if you are trying to work too!

From what I hear, from friends and family, live lessons are few and far between for Primary School children meaning parents/carers are very heavily involved in the child’s learning. That’s tough; it changes the dynamics between child and parent/carer. At my Therapy clinic in Bath I am hearing it time and again so although it doesn’t help, please remember you are not alone.

Here is a list of what I am feeling and showing Vs What my child is feeling and showing:

Tired / lethargicTired / lethargic
Fed-up / boredFed-up / bored
Missing friends & familyMissing friends, family and teachers
Missing routineMissing routine
Missing hobbies / clubsMissing hobbies / clubs
Distracted by work
Irritable / snappyIrritable
Bad sleepBad sleep
Lack of energyLack of energy
Emotional / tearyEmotional / teary
Withdrawn / quietWithdrawn / quiet
Unkind to siblings

I guess what I am trying to point out that children are feeling very similarly to us but often their understanding of what they are feeling is lacking and so their behaviour is more irrational. On top of this children are seeing their parents/carers behaving differently which is unsettling for them.

So, what can we do about it?

  1. Routine – children LOVE routine. It makes life predictable and, to a child, predictable = safe. This routine may well be different to the one we had when going out to work and school but it is still important.
  2. Enable contact with friends / family members – we can still “see” people virtually, send and receive emails / texts (via parents for the younger child) and even good, old -fashioned letters. I mean, who doesn’t like receiving something lovely in the post? Postcards, drawings, photos, letters, a treat…
  3. Acknowledge how hard it is – it’s not enough to just say; it will pass, it will get better, there are things to look forward to etc. We all need to feel someone is listening & for our feelings to be acknowledged, so tell children you understand how hard it is to be away from school / friends / clubs etc and how well they are doing.
  4. Regular meals and less snacks – this keeps them full for longer, increases focus and reduces sugary snacks. Sugar is incredibly unhelpful for anxious people (adults and children). Although it gives us highs, a low always follows.
  5. Set realistic goals for ourselves and our children – For example it is unrealistic to expect our children to get the same amount of schoolwork done as they would at school and working parents are unlikely to get a whole day of work done each day while we are all at home together.
  6. Regular bedtimes and bedtime routines – so important to create a secure feeling. The bath and bedtime story routine works well for most work children. As they get older bedtimes change but still try to have some routine and screen free time an hour before bedtime. Meditation apps, calming music or sounds, a bath, a story or audiobook can all be very helpful in aiding relaxation and sleep. Even more so for those with anxiety.
  7. Pick your battles and try not to stress over the small stuff. I’ve eased off on nagging over how messy the bedroom is as it doesn’t make either of us feel good. I hate feeling like I’m nagging, the boys hate me nagging so, for now only, to preserve our mental health, they know I am only going to hassle them over the more important stuff.
  8. Team up – remind them that you are all going through this together and that none of you would “choose” it. Use it as a time to grow as a family. We’ve done some goal-setting in our house along the lines of “by the end of this lockdown I will be …. “(able to run 5k, do 10 keepy-uppies, have lost weight, have read 2 books, have learnt a new song on my instrument etc.). It can be anything at all, but, a goal is a good way of looking forward.
  9. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

It is pertinent to point out that vast numbers of people (adults and children alike) are really struggling with their mental health right now. If you are worried about your child and think they could do with some outside help please reach out to someone.

I am a fully qualified and accredited NLP4kids & NLP practitioner. In my Child Therapy Clinic in Bath I work with young people to overcome any emotional struggles they may be facing such as anxiety, phobias & fears, lack of confidence, anger, sleep issues, motivation, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, trauma etc.

Feel free to call or email me to see how I can help. Even though we are in lockdown the Mental Health industry is still very much open for business. We can still have client appointments virtually (or face-to-face if necessary).

Although I specialise in working with children I am also fully qualified to work with adults too.

Amber Morgan – 07485 673205

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.