We are all worried about our kids at the moment. They are out of school again and missing their friends. These activities were once such a casual and normal part of their lives.
Routines are out the window, socialising is reduced to siblings, parents, Zoom calls and, if you are fortunate enough, the odd garden visit from a friend or relative.
Lots of parents with kids in mainstream schools have spoken proudly of the resilience of our children and of their ability to adapt to whatever new situation they are presented with, and that is absolutely still true. Aren’t they simply amazing?
And while we don’t yet know the long-term effects of our children joining us under lockdown enforcements, in terms of their educational or emotional development, I think it’s important to check in with them today. Right now. This moment, go see how they are doing. When I find myself fretting about how my kids are, I look for the following reassurances.
When I hear my kids giggling together or seeing their pride in telling me a joke, I sigh internally with relief. On the days when they are bickering and on each other's nerves, I either get the coats on for a big long walk or I separate them and try to have some one-on-one time. Even if it means waiting for Dad to come home so I can take one around the block for a walk and a chat.
Although the general consensus is that the adults aren’t sleeping during this lockdown, I definitely need to know that my kids are getting enough sleep. On the nights when they are having trouble dropping off, I know they probably just haven’t had enough exercise and try to do better the next day. I spray lavender on their pillows, set the Calm App to ‘Sleep Music’, and ban screen time at least an hour before bedtime. It all helps.
Being at home means there is always access to sugary snacks (anyone else still have eight selection boxes lying around from Christmas?!). My son, in particular, is a sugar sneak. He’ll help himself to biscuits or chocolates when I’m not looking and then that can interfere with his eating of regular food. With the absence of as much fresh air and running around as usual, it is more important than ever to get decent food and nutrients into the little ones.
We all know that when we are down, our energy levels can slump and it’s the same for the kids. If they seem lethargic, not interested in getting out for a family walk, or watching a movie together, I know a little re-set is in order. Sometimes a chat and cuddle on the couch is all that’s needed for your child to open up and let you know what is on their mind.
So long as we are all still able to talk about the future and dream about all those things we are going to do when Covid goes away; the holidays we will take, the people we will hug, the Santa knees we will sit on, the movies we will see… I know that they are still positive that there are better days to come. And that gives me hope.