Covid 19 and Parenting

19th March 2020
By Sarah Everett

It would seem that we are facing highly uncertain times. Schools are closing from tomorrow here in England. We are sat waiting for new information and guidelines each day now, waiting for the next update. So what can we do as parents to ensure that we protect our children and remain their anchors as we find our way through this? How can we protect their mental health as well as our own? 

Let’s break this all down and focus on what we CAN do for our families. 

STAY CONNECTED – Use Facetime, whatsapp etc. Have video calls everyday, schedule them with family and friends, set up a game of chess together! Have Nanny on the phone as you bake, get Grandad to video call and read a story, teach each other new skills, share stories, get to know each other better. I discovered yesterday that you can video call within a Whatsapp group! Our children are also going to be missing their friends like crazy, let them have video chats!

FRESH AIR – Open a window, explore your garden, look for bugs, sit by the back door. If you’re stuck indoors then some fresh air is vital.

FUN LEARNING – Teach new life skills, lots of learning through play, use what you have, ask them what they’d like to learn about, start a family project, read together and create new spaces to do that. Home learning doesn’t have to be as structured as school and right now we need to cut our little people a whole lot of slack! 

STAYING ACTIVE – Share your ideas, use your garden, make an assault course (no special equipment needed!) or do some yoga together. There are so many resources out there and many small businesses are taking their classes online too!

SHARE FEELINGS – You are your child’s safe place. It’s likely that we will experience all sorts of emotional outbursts in the coming weeks, that includes us as parents! We are not used to all being together all the time and life is going to be very different for the foreseeable future. Perhaps start a feelings jar or box. Set up some scrap paper and a pen, tell everyone in the house that they can write down a feeling or something they might like to talk to about. Create a comfy corner of cushions or blankets, a quiet area. Invite your child to join you to talk about their note.

BE INSPIRED BY SCHOOL BUT DON’T TRY TO REPLICATE IT – There are many ideas we can take from the school environment to use in our homes. 

  • Snack time – A snack selected by you and put out with a drink at a set time.
  • Story time – A chapter book read by you each day.
  • A visual schedule – Used very simply ie – Morning Reading/Writing, Snack, Outdoor Play, Lunch, Baking, Snack, Arts and Crafts. Just really so they have some structure and know what to expect next. You can use pictures.
  • Displaying Work – A beautiful drawing, a story they’ve worked hard on. Let them be proud! You could even display it in your front window! Wouldn’t it be great if all children regularly drew new pictures to display in their windows to be enjoyed by neighbours walking by!