What can we do during lock down to help our kid(s) wellbeing I hear you ask!
Well, look no further here are my 10 ideas to boost your kids wellbeing during this uncertain and confusing time:
1. Find joy in the simple things
Encourage your children to find joy in the simple and the ordinary, to be grateful for what they have.
2. Let them be bored
Boredom is a wonderful gift we can give our children, it teaches them to be comfortable with themselves, to be creative in finding solutions and allows them to understand that instant gratification isn’t always an option. You may need to create a boredom ideas list with them or set up a box of boredom busting activities to start them off with. Have the strength when they come to you bored not to ‘fix’ it for them, ask open ended questions ‘What can you do to not be bored? Hello bored, I’m Mummy!’
3. Look for small ways to connect with them
Can you leave them notes under their pillows? Text them and tell them you are thinking of them? Make a special meal once a week where you all eat by candlelight?
4. Give them time to talk to their friends and loved ones
One of the biggest losses for our children during this period of lockdown is the social aspect to their lives. Can you set up zoom calls, let them FaceTime friends and family, join an online house party, go round to a grandparents home and talk to them through the window. A bit of creative thinking here could go far.
5. Introduce them to mindfulness
Mindfulness is about being in the present moment, engaging with their senses. Could you set some activities up through the week, which allow them to engage more than one sense at once? Cooking, play dough with essential oils, blowing bubbles and listening to them pop, listing what they can see, hear, taste, touch and smell at any given moment.
6. Teach them how to use breathing to calm emotions
Breathing is something that our kids rarely, if ever, think about but is a tool that can be very powerful in calming emotions. Get your son or daughter to breath in through their nose and out through their mouth 3 or 4 times. We want the breath to come from their belly rather than their chest. You may wish to work on this at bedtime, ask your child to lie in their bed and place a rubber duck or a light weight toy on their belly. Then ask them to breath in through their nose and out through their mouth and watch while they are doing this, the item placed on their belly should naturally rise and fall.
7. Encourage your children to problem solve
To stop the whining or the constant questions we so often jump in to problem solve for our kids. Problem solving is a life skill and one that can be developed from any age. I encourage you when your child comes to you with a ‘problem’ to empower them to be a problem solver, an investigator or a big thinker. This can be done simply through asking them open-ended questions: ‘Golly, I can see this is important to you, what can you do to solve this problem?’ ‘Really, there is nothing you can do to fix this?’ ‘What would grandma say if she was here?’
8. Allow them to feel their emotions
We are very quick to stop our children feeling their emotions. ‘Don’t cry. Stop that. No, you don’t feel x’ etc. In place of this I encourage you to use the following to state the facts ‘I can see you are cross, sad, frustrated, excited etc. I hear …., I understand …..’ and then leave it there acknowledge where they are at . If they will allow it offer them a hug, resist where possible the urge to lecture your child, when they are full of emotions they are not in the best place to hear and listen to what you have to say. Calm them down and then talk to them.
9. How can they be of service in your homes?
Part of being in a family means we all have a role to play, what can your child(ren) do around your home to help? It needs to be age appropriate and not putting their health and safety at risk but all children even the very young can help and they can all do so without financial reward!
10. Do’s rather than don’ts
Tell your children what you do want them to do rather than what you don’t want them to do. So often I hear parents listing so many don’ts: don’t shout, don’t jump on the bed, don’t talk to me like that. Perhaps just perhaps telling your kid(s) what you do want might have a better result: inside voices, beds are for sleeping in, bottoms go on chairs and feet go on the floor, please speak to me with respect
We are all in this together and if I can help further then do reach out to me,
This blog was originally written for the Wharfedale Mumbler.