Well, I don’t think we will forget 2020 in a hurry. If you are reading this, it’s likely you have come to the website for some support in relation to your child/ren. Firstly, take some time just to think about the extra-ordinary circumstances we have all been in, how many extra stresses Covid-19 has brought into our awareness, some of which we are already used to, but nevertheless managing a pandemic and helping children through it at the same time is not like anything else we have encountered before and you have done so well just to get through it, whatever that looks like.
Take time now, just to be amazed that you are getting your family through it, however hard it has been, however arduous these months have been, despite the emotions that are running high, you are managing in your own way, like we all are and that’s pretty epic.
Try your best to turn away from what you think others may or may not be managing with their children. Try to see that your child is managing in their own way and this is good enough. We truly never know what other people are really feeling and thinking, those that look like they are coping very well may actually be the ones needing the most support.
Now take time to know it’s going to be okay. This crazy time will pass, children will go back to school and our amazing education system will enable them to catch up. Do you know how much a child’s brain develops through cosy times with loved ones? Bonding and simple pleasures at home provide the basis for synaptic connections in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, so whilst you may feel all has been lost and wasted this term, in fact the very opposite is taking place, your child’s brain will be in a good place to take on new information, provided they are having (mostly!) relaxing, fun and playful interactions at home, therefore if there are heightened emotions, try to keep things as calm as possible, even if this means making some changes/overlooking some of the rules that you may not usually do. Your child is having time to live, to just ‘be’ and make the most of the world, as was the case generations ago and they survived pretty well through other tough times.
Try to feel accomplishment in what you have gotten through, because I think we can all agree that surviving a pandemic is a significant life achievement. Like any major crisis or life event, we may come out looking like we’ve seen better days, but that’s because we have!
If the anxiety about September is looming, try to focus on the now. What can you do for yourself to put that anxiety away until the start of term, how can you help your child to do this? Mindfulness is a really worthwhile practice and making the most of the present can help leave the anxious times until the moment when they actually happen (and they may not even be as bad as we expected).
You might try a mindfulness walk with your child/ren, what five things can they see? What four things can they hear? What three things can they smell? What two things can they feel? What one thing can they taste?
It might help to create a journal to document the summer break, how they are feeling or what they are grateful for. Other mindful activities are below:-
Mindfulness activities for children:-
Summer activities to do at home:-
I am a child psychotherapist (UKCP Registered); a counsellor; arts and play therapist, covering Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire. You can contact me here.