Let's be honest, there isn't a single person out there who hasn't struggled with some form of anxiety or worry this year. And while we as adults can try our best to protect our children and keep them safe, many children will be experiencing worries and feel the need for some extra reassurance and love.
As a lot of the UK re-enters lockdown and social restrictions, and with a return to school with new rules that seem to change so quickly, children may or may not be able to explain how this makes them feel. As a parent myself and through countless chats with friends, clients, teachers and family over the last 6 months, I know there is no easy way to address anxiety and each child is different, but there are certain ways we can help to support them and bring some smiles to small faces and make happy memories together.
Listen to what they are saying
Ask how children feel, listen to the little things and try to talk about emotions. For some children who find it hard to express their feelings, there are so many incredible resources and ideas, from fantastic ideas like Happiness journals to worry dolls and books they can relate to. Understanding that they are not alone in their feelings is so important, and encouraging children to open up can be tricky for everyone involved.
Why not make your own worry dolls, or a worry box/ bag that children can write down and pop any anxious thoughts into? You can then look at them together, and explain that once the worry is shared, the worries have been taken away.
My children find it easier to chat whilst doing something else, so we head out on a long walk which seems to make it easier for them to talk.
Keep active and creative
Create memories and mess, beat personal bests, join in, bake cakes, paint walls, go wild swimming, make dreamcatchers, learn to sew, climb trees, do a scavenger hunt, tie dye a t shirt, fly a kite... try to support and encourage their interests, and find new hobbies together.
As social interraction outside of school is becoming less possible, our family unit becomes our friendship group, so we all need to learn to play together! Leave the washing up and get the paints out/ build the tower. do the washing up together with way too many bubbles and have a water fight.
We have a page on our website filled with free downloadable ideas to give you a shove in the right direction, and craft kits for more creative children to get involved in...
Have some chillout time
I always tend to fill every moment with nonsense and games and mess, but lockdown has taught me that sometimes, especially now the children are back at school all day, they just need to relax.
We are a family obsessed with board games and card games, but also a family movie night or even some reading space is great for a relaxing escape into another space.
We also throw spa evenings- a bit of pamper time is always a treat- my boys now love a footspa and head massage!
Check out our pamper kits for a fabulous evening in with face masks, bath bombs, relaxing eye masks and even a link to our fabulous family yoga 20 minute relaxation- wellness and relaxation are important for the whole family.
If you feel your children are suffering from serious anxiety or mental health issues, there are many amazing charities and organisations that can help.
This link is to the NHS resources page with details of where to find the right help for your child.