The little and big ones navigating these times

This is a guest post by Panisha, Behaviour & Wellbeing Coach and an advocate for Good Mental Health

Here we are and almost a year has passed. It has been a year unlike any other and everyone on this planet has their own unique story to tell.

Personally, I have been grateful in that I am a keyworker and continue to go out and work (in a job I thoroughly enjoy) and helping children with their wellbeing has been the centre of my focus. The learnings have been monumental and ever-changing so with that I thought I’d share some of my musings and thoughts with you…

We are human, and this is our FIRST time navigating this situation; so please go easy on yourselves.

As humans we crave connection and social interaction, and we have fallen into an age where our main source of that basic need is online. I have had a lot of people come to me about screen time, whether it be for themselves or their children/family and trying to find that balance.

For adults and children, I would suggest creating new habits and utilising the Digital Wellbeing controls/Do Not Disturb/Focus modes that really show you how much screen time you use. No devices at dinner/ family activities or even coming off social media for a day (if businesses allow it). This can really help balance out not only your mind but the way we interact, we take the pressure off ourselves and concentrate on the present moment as opposed to what we feel we may be “missing out” on.

Something I have really pondered on in recent months are the mums/families in this lockdown. New mums, mums-to-be, families with children of all ages. I know first-hand how exhausting it can be to raise a toddler in these times and I luckily have some support around me. For those of you in lockdown please reach out and please look after you, your families are with you but if you are burnt out it will make the world feel so much heavier.

To those with children, take some time out, ask for help. Some tips I found useful:

  • Grab at least 10 minutes every day just for you (whether that is a cup of tea, meditation, music, talking to a friend and just purely focus on you for 10 minutes).
  • Plan your meals and simplify them if you can, get the family to help if they are able. Take some pressure off.
  • Keep in the forefront of your mind this has been a long year and you don’t need to put any unnecessary pressure on yourself, so make the mistakes but forgive yourself too.
  • Create a routine and try to stick to it, it may help create some structure and balance in your mind. Simple things like times for breakfast /lunch/dinner. A walk or some exercise in the late afternoon, an activity that involves making/creating/learning something.
  • Express gratitude daily – write three things you are grateful for, anything at all (health, family, house…not burning dinner!)

Children are exactly as it says on the tin – CHILDREN. They are developing and learning, whether 2 weeks old or 12 years old they are just growing.

As a caregiver, you are not their academic teacher so for those of you out there in panic-mode don’t feel guilty. You don’t need to conform to what everyone else is doing, if you and your child are struggling speak up- tell the school, talk to your family.

The children of this generation still need to go through emotions, so let them fall out/have tantrums. Be realistic of your expectations.

Remember you are human, and this is your first time navigating this situation.