A common concern during lockdown is how can we look after the mental wellbeing of our family. Here are some general thoughts and tips:
- Talk to your children about the situation and ask them how they are feeling and about their thoughts, reassure them that it is normal to feel scared and uncertain. You don’t need to be an expert, but chatting about the situation and answering their questions can really help. Reflecting on feelings/thoughts can help relieve feelings of anxiety. However, it’s important to respect your child’s boundaries and if they are reluctant to talk, don’t try and make them.
- Enjoy activities together. Spending time on games, cooking, painting can help reduce anxiety and provide room for you to chat together. Other ideas are board games/jigsaws/baking/knitting/painting and sewing. There’s also an abundance of online activities, quizzes, games, virtual museum tours, theatre productions, dance classes, some more ideas here.
- Routines can be beneficial to a family in lockdown. You may find that one routine works for you (including some very important self-care) and a separate routine for the children. The routines should help set daily expectations and goals, but the trick is not to worry if you don’t stick to them.
- Facebook, Instagram etc. are a great way to stay in touch and connection is vital right now, but don’t fall into the all too easy trap of comparing yourself to other parents and families. Everyone will deal with the situation differently and just because you haven’t baked a cake or taught your child a new language, doesn’t make you any worse or better a parent than anyone else.
- Do stay connected, we all need to offload sometimes and a chat with a friend via Zoom or Whatsapp are great for this.
- Exercise is important regardless if it is indoors or out, there are plenty of workout and PE lessons available online. If you can get outside and utilise the space around you.
- Doing things for other people can be a great way to relieve stress and give time to focus on someone else.
- Limit the household news intake. Whilst it is important to stay up to date, too much of the news can increase anxiety. You could find a source you trust and check it a couple of times a day.
- If you are worried about you or your child’s mental health and want professional support speak to your GP, they can be accessed by telephone or their online platform.
There are a number of helplines, textlines and online chat services that offer 24/7 support for children including Childline (0800 1111), Samaritans and the YoungMinds
• Family line offer support for parents. (Monday to Friday, 9am-3pm and 6- 9pm. Phone: 0808 802 6666 Text: 07537 404 282 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
• Gingerbread offer support for single parents (Helpline open Mon: 10am-6pm, Tues, Thurs & Fri: 10am-4pm, and Wed: 10am-1pm and 5-7pm. Phone: 0808 802 0925)