With news that the lockdown is to be extended for another three weeks, many people are continuing to adjust to a new way of life.
Parents will be returning to homeschooling after the Easter break, often while juggling their own work and other responsibilities. It’s leaving many asking the question, ‘How will we cope?’
In the third of its series of articles about living in a lockdown, relationship support charity OnePlusOne is offering expert tips to help parents talk to their children about the current situation.
Penny Mansfield CBE, co-director at OnePlusOne said:
“Babies and very young children won’t know why life is different – but they will be aware of change in their routine, such as not going to nursery/activities with their friends. Reassure them by focusing on the things that matter to them, like having fun playing together.
Older children will have been working out why life has changed. Why they are not going to school, why playgrounds are shut, why mum and dad are not going to work and are around more. Hearing the news or chatting to friends online offers explanations but also creates uncertainty and worry. So, be attentive to their moods and responsive to their questions. Tell them what they need to know and if you don’t know the answer, say so. By being as available as possible you can make it easier for your children to share their concerns. You can’t change the present situation but you can give them the reassurance they need to get on with just being children.
Parenting in these times is tough and you need to be able to share your worries with your partner/co-parent/others.”
Top tips for parenting in a lockdown include:
- Present a united front. Couples who support each other and agree on parenting decisions may find their children cope better with stressful situations.
- Talk. Your child is likely to have picked up on the changes happening around them. Ask them what they know, how they are feeling, and if they have any questions.
- Get them drawing. Some children, particularly younger ones, can’t describe how they feel using words. Art is a great way for them to express themselves.
- Make time for fun. It’s a potentially anxious time for everyone and you may be busy with work and home schooling, but it’s important to take time out and have fun as a family. Children need to be children and your role as a parent is to keep them healthy in body and mind. Try not to put yourself under pressure and take each day one step at a time.
The full article on parenting in a lockdown, together with other useful expert relationship advice, is available on our digital relationship platform www.clickrelationships.org.