With news of Coronavirus everywhere and recent lockdown rules, we are living in stressful times and need to take care of ourselves and each other. Not as easy at it sounds though is it?
With more and more parents working from home, schools closed, and lockdown implemented last night – parents stress levels are at an all time high.
Today on BBC radio I shared my tips and advice for parents finding themselves working from home while juggling childcare, so thought I’d write them all down to share with you. (You can listen in here – at the 7.15am mark.)
1. Take the pressure off!
Please don’t put yourself under so much pressure. It’s hard enough balancing childcare and working from home, but to add education into the mix is super stressful!
Instead of laminating a beautiful colourful timetable ( yup – guilty of this and regretting it now,) take the pressure off and aim to do 1-2 educational activities a day, then fill the rest with play, art, online free workshops or projects that children will love and can do unsupervised themselves.
2. Take care of your mental health!
In times of stress we need support, so keep the lines of communication open with your friends and family who can offer support remotely.
Yesterday I had an online cuppa and chinwag with my best mate – and even though we only had ten minutes, it made me feel a million times better after an awful day.
For children – set up FaceTime chats or encourage pen pal writing or emails. It’s so important for them to stay in touch with their friends.
3. Ask for help!
If you’re struggling to cope – ask your partner (if you have one) for support. There’s lots of online support too, and don’t forget my FREE parent advice service is staying open throughout all of this. I’m only a click away!
4. Take lots of breaks!
Homeschooling is tough – especially when you are working from home too. Take breaks regularly and try and set activities that your children can do unsupervised to free up time for yourself to work. (I’m currently typing this with my two doing google classroom – later they’re going to take a museum tour online!
5. Get some space.
On lockdown it’s pretty hard to have space – so take time to move to different rooms or go into the garden on your own if you can. Take a bath with headphones on listening to chilled music, or watch a movie on your own in a different room once the kids are in bed. Your own personal space is so important.
6. Find easy activities to do with your children
There are so many activities and resources out there, so I set up a group on Facebook called ’The Isolation Parents Club’ to share them all. now with over 500 members in less than 48 hours – parents are sharing funny memes, where to buy loo roll, and lots of activities, ideas and links to brilliant FREE stuff for kids online. You can join the group here!
For easy, no stress fun – take a step back into the 80’s for mud pie making, water painting and den building fun! Who remembers the clothes horse and sheet days making a fort to hide away in? Let kids have their lunch in their den or read book with fairy lights.
7. Get some fresh air!
The Government says we can have one walk a day out of home, with the people we live with. Please if you do this, remember to keep the distance from others and to wash your hands properly when you get home and ensure the kids do too.
The clock changes are on the way this weekend so the days are longer, the nights are lighter – so encourage lots of outdoor play in the garden if you have one, to burn up that energy and promote good vibes.
8. Communication is key!
It’s easier for older kids to understand lockdowns and what’s going on – but for little ones – keep the conversation simple. Say something like ’There’s a nasty bug making people very poorly, so we have to stay away from others to not catch it and keep healthy.
There’s more here about talking about talking to kids about coronavirus.
CBBC Newsround for older kids on CBBC or online – has lots of info for kids in a really easy-to-understand tone.
9. Routine is the magic key.
While you don’t need a regimented school style routine – it is important to keep the daily routine of regular activities, regular breaks and regular bedtimes so that when this do all blow over, getting back to normal life will be easier for you all.
If bedtimes are becoming a bit stressful due to anxiety and worry – tune into my LIVE and FREE sleep workshop on March 27th at 7.30pm.