Last week Dan Lawrence, our Primary School Counsellor, shared a list of 'Useful Resources'. Here Dan offers us a few thoughts and updates with even more great content to keep us on track during these difficult times.
"I hope that the first few days at home have gone smoothly enough, despite the inevitable stresses and strains of being suddenly thrown together in a contained space, and the disruption of new routines.
Some thoughts, adapted from a friend’s whatsapp post recently:
You might be inclined to create a minute by minute schedule for your kids. You have high hopes of hours of learning, including online activities, science experiments, and book reports. You’ll limit technology until everything is done! But here’s the thing...
Our kids are just as unsettled as we are right now. Our kids not only can hear everything that is going on around them, but they feel our constant tension and anxiety. They have never experienced anything like this before. Although the idea of being off of school for 4 weeks sounds amazing, they are probably picturing a fun time like summer break, not the reality of being trapped at home and not seeing their friends.
Over the coming weeks, you might well see an increase in behavior issues with your kids. Whether it’s anxiety, or anger, or protest that they can’t do things normally - it will happen. You’ll see more meltdowns, tantrums, and oppositional behavior in the coming weeks. This is normal and expected under these circumstances.
What children fundamentally need right now is to feel comforted and loved; To feel like it’s all ultimately going to be ok. And that might mean that you relax your perfect schedule and love on your kids a bit more. Play outside if that’s an option and go on walks. Bake cookies and paint pictures. Play board games and watch movies. Do a science experiment together or find virtual field trips of the zoo. Start a book and read together as a family. Snuggle under warm blankets and do nothing.
Don’t worry too much about them regressing in school. Every single child is in this boat and they all will be ok.
Don’t worry too much about them regressing in school. Every single child is in this boat and they all will be ok. When they are back in the classroom, the teaching staff will meet them where they are. Teachers are experts at this! Don’t pick endless fights with your children because they don’t want to do maths. Don’t become over-agitated with your kids for not following the schedule. Don’t mandate three hours of learning time if they are resisting it.
If I can leave you with one thing, it’s this: at the end of all of this, your kids mental health will be just as important as their academic skills. And how they felt during this time will stay with them long after the memory of what they did during those long weeks is gone. So keep that in mind, every single day."
- Creative Self Care suggestions from the restorative community concepts team around creative self care
- I loved watching you play Advice from the rcc team on the most important words you can say to your children
- BBC Covid advice BBC news advice on looking after your mental health
- How to deal with coronavirus if you have ocd or anxiety Advice on how to deal with ocd amplified anxiety right now from Vice
- World Health Organisation WHO myth busters page
- Coronavirus anxiety and mental health Some practical advice from various experts attached to the Guardian
- After coronavirus we'll be poorer and more broken but we might be more tender too A nice piece from Guardian Australia
- Avoiding passing anxiety onto your kids Timely advice from the Child Mind INstitute
- Helping kids with transitions More advice from the CMI focused upon managing transitions
Resource Lists / Guides:
- Coronavirus sanity guide The 10% coronavirus sanity guide!
- Autism Speaks help A list of covid-19 resources for parents of children with Autism
- Resources for covid-closures An excellent list of resources for times like these
- Travelandleisure.com A page with links to 12 museums with online virtual tours
- Keeping anxiety in perspective How to cope with anxiety by Sharon Salzburg
- Maintaining hope More advice from Mindfulness teacher Sharon Salzburg
Videos / TED-style talks:
- Coping with coronavirus anxiety Coping with coronavirus anxiety - a short video from Kati Morton
- Taking it one day at a time Practical and humourous advice from the School of Life
- Change your breath, change your life TEDx at it’s best
- How to trick your brain into falling asleep TEDx advice for sleepless nights
- The skill of humour Perhaps timely advice from TED
- The psychology of self-motivation TEDx keeping us on task
- Advice for parents A brief video for parents from the Anna Freud centre (a real centre of excellence)
- Advice for young people Another brief video from the Anna Freud centre, but aimed at young people (11+)
- Mindheart Covi-book The downloadable Covi-book - a short book to reassure children under 7 about coronavirus
- The Big Sickness A great slideshow for younger children to understand what coronavirus means for everyday life
- Coronavirus comic! A brief comic explaining the coronavirus to kids (chinese version link on page and printable-foldable version)
- Managing our feelings through the coronavirus crisis A timely podcast from the makers of ‘Emotional badas
A useful graphic for listening: