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Supporting yourself and your family through COVID-19

date April 7, 2020 Sonia Mainstone-Cotton

 

These are strange times for which most of us feel ill-prepared. But fear not. At Kinderly, we are here to support you with resources and expert advice so you feel a bit more supported through these strange times, at the end of the day… we’re in it together, right?

On this occasion, we’ve asked our wellbeing expert, Sonia Mainstone-Cotton to share with us a few thoughts that might assist you and your families through this time. 


Our strong feelings

I have noticed that my feelings appear to be like a rollercoaster. Some days I am hugely grateful of where I live and that I and my family are safe and well. But I have also experienced times when I couldn’t stop crying. There have been moments when I feel terror, fear, grief and sadness at what is happening around us and what might be ahead. Sometimes I just feel flat and sluggish.

I know I am not alone in this huge mix of feelings and emotions. Feelings and emotions are neither right or wrong, they just are. However, it is so important that we recognise how we are feeling, to acknowledge our feelings. The poet and theologian Padraig O Tuama uses the phrase “Say hello to…” to help recognise and acknowledge how we are feeling. I have found this phrase so useful over the last few weeks.

mom with baby and child on a path

Acknowledging feelings is both important for us as adults but also for our children. We need to model to them how we recognise our own feelings and emotions. With our children we must recognise the feelings they are experiencing. A useful phrase to help with this is “I wonder if you are feeling..?”. By doing this we are recognising and validating the strong feelings they have and helping them to know this is ok.

 

Working out what works for you and your family

Our social media feeds are currently full of families being creative and having wonderful family times together, sharing ideas of activities to do with the children, ideas for learning and creative projects to achieve. For some people this is helpful, but for others, this is guilt-provoking and triggering.

family playing on the floor with their children

We all need to work out what will help us as individuals and our own families. For some, the achievement of the day will be getting everyone up, showered, dressed, fed and anything extra is a bonus. For others who are key workers and may be totally exhausted when you come back from work, the most you can do is put a ready meal in the microwave.

All these things are ok. This time is about being kind to yourself, not comparing yourself to others. Instead, be kind and gentle and nurturing to yourself and our family. I know many parents are feeling incredibly anxious about the homeschooling side of things, and many are struggling to get children to engage with their learning. Again, this is not unusual. Remind yourself your child will not fall behind as all children are currently missing their education. 

flowers in the morning on a field

Find something that makes you feel happy

This may sound a shallow thing to say at this current time, but an important part of looking after ourselves is finding things that make us happy. We are limited due to the lockdown, but there will still be things that work for you. Swimming is my go-to thing for happiness, and that has abruptly stopped, and if I am honest, I am finding that painful. At the time I would normally get up and leave the house to swim, instead, I am walking in the field behind my house, to watch the sunrise. I have discovered a field where hares play and I listen to bird songs. These are small things, but they are making me happy each morning.

Want to learn a bit more? Watch  our wellbeing webinar and hear Sonia giving us more useful tips:

About Sonia
headshot of Sonia Maisdstone

 

Sonia Mainstone-Cotton – is an early years participation trainer, consultant and author, specialised in wellbeing and mental health. She’s the author of “Promoting Young Children’s Emotional Health and Wellbeing” and “Promoting Emotional Wellbeing in Early Years Staff”.