- Sixth Form
You’ve juggled remote learning with your own commitments. You’ve kept yourself and your family healthy. Maybe you managed a shower today! Give yourself a moment to smile and appreciate the incredible undertaking you’re managing and celebrate the brilliant job you’re doing. In the maelstrom of all that’s going on in the wider world and in yours, you may be asking yourself, how can I safeguard my daughters’ wellbeing at such a challenging time? Here are some suggestions which anyone can implement without putting unrealistic expectations on yourself.
As with most things your children will be looking to you to take the lead on how to react in these new experiences. Taking care of your own mental health and modelling self-care is the single most valuable thing you can do to support your childrens’ wellbeing at this time. This is a win, win as it’s important that you take care of yourself first. You can’t pour from an empty cup.
Face to face
Lockdown has reduced our reference group to an absolute minimum. We use our interactions with others to define so much of who we are, especially during stages of childhood development and adolescence. Self-esteem is especially underpinned by these interactions. It’s important to set time aside for dedicated face to face contact which includes eye contact, listening, encouragement and affirmation. Try sharing three things you’re grateful for or something you’re proud of each day.
Take an interest in how your children are feeling and share your own emotions. This can be done in an age-appropriate way and doesn’t have to be an intense sit-down conversation, if that’s not your family-style. Use play with younger children, talk about how teddies might be feeling, use drawing to express emotions, chat side by side whilst you cook together. Don’t be afraid to show vulnerability.
Screen time is up at the moment and whilst it’s important to be mindful of this, not all screen time is bad. Creating playlists on Spotify, spending time virtually with friends and using apps to meditate are just a few ways technology can be used to help not hinder our wellbeing using technology. Of course, you don’t want your daughter finishing a day of remote learning to jump straight into gaming either. Taking a five-minute break for every hour of screen time is a good rule of thumb but look for a balance that works for you and your children which incorporates time outside, face to face contact, sleep, work and social screen time.
Give some thought to how you can adjust your routine and activities to make the weekends feel different to weekdays. You’ll have your own ideas about how to do this; fish and chips on a Friday, breakfast in bed on a Saturday, a longer walk, quiz night and so on. It’s a good way to break up the days and prevent them all from blurring into one.
Words by: Ms Keri Haw, Deputy Director of Boarding & Mental Health and Wellbeing Lead