Covid-19: Facing confinement as a parent
Weeks pass by and families are getting used to their “new normal”. However, it is not always plain sailing. Parents are dealing daily with anxiety related to the pandemic as well as feeling pressured by homeschooling and having to face their children’s anguish. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and lonely. But the light is waiting for us at the end of the tunnel, and in the meantime, we can follow some easy steps to make things a bit lighter for our families and ourselves.
We all live different situations at home: some of us work from home, some of us are key workers, some are furloughed, some have one, two, three children… Take our team for instance: at Hummingbirds Montessori School we are four teachers and our confinement routines could not be more different! However, whatever your situation is, it is new and unexpected, hence stressful. So let’s make time to breathe!
1. Take breaks from the news
It is of course, extremely important to be updated on the latest regulations and advice from the authorities, and it is sane to face our current reality. But it is also necessary to switch our devices off or turn to positive sources when we can. Especially after a full day of keeping the house together and taking care of the children, we tend to scroll down in bed and catch up with the latest information. As a result, some of us are kept up at night or left with a deep feeling of anxiety.
Taking breaks from social media can also release you from another anxiety threat: the pressure to organise the perfect confined home environment.
So whether you identify as someone worrying for the entire world or you feel pressured to be the perfect home-schooling parent – or both, let’s put the phone down and turn the TV off for a bit – and maybe start an improvised dance party in the living room?
2. Take breaks from the house
It is entirely possible to respect the regulations related to Covid-19 advice AND go out for a walk every day. So take the bikes out or go for a family walk. If you have the chance to live with a partner, take turns: have a run or a walk by yourself whilst your partner goes out with the children and swap on another day. If going out of the house for a walk is not your relaxing trigger, try something else: a nice warm bath? Quiet time after lunch for everybody?
We all love our families deeply, that does not mean we should not allow ourselves some alone time. Your children need you as relaxed and calm as possible, so this alone time is not a selfish move at all, it will ultimately be beneficial to the house general mood! The less stress you feel, the more your responses to your children’s demands will be accepting and caring. So yes, you need to find your “break” times during the day!
3. Connect with others
The term “Social Disctancing” can be confusing. It would be easy to forget that it only refers to physical distancing. Your family and friends are a phone call away, so if you feel like drowning on a particular day – or everyday! Our advice is: reach out, reach out, reach out! There is no shame in feeling depressed or anxious. We are all in this together! Your friends and family are most likely going through the same emotional rollercoaster and a video chat is sometimes all it takes to bring your mood back up for the day! On the other hand, check on your relatives and friends: drop a positive text here and there, give them a call when you can… We need each other more than ever!
4. Appreciate the moment
There are structural conditions to our existence, things that we do not have a direct influence on. It can make us feel powerless. But if we manage to take a step back and look at our lives, it is also possible than amid a world pandemic, you and your family gained something. Either it is family time or either it is reaching out to friends you have not talked to in years, there is something we can all appreciate.
Families need to work together through this crisis. To be kind and accepting of one another, each of us need time to breathe, take a step back and appreciate the good things. We can do it!
Gov UK 2020, Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for schools and other educational settings, Gov Uk, viewed 3 May 2020,<https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings >
The Center on the Developing Child 2020, How to Support Children (and Yourself) During the COVID-19 Outbreak, Harvard University, viewed 3 May 2020