While we can't hug
Parental stress during Coronavirus - some tips to keep things calmer at home
Parenting is joyful and challenging all at once. As we navigate the Coronavirus lockdown we are spending more time tighter, often juggling work, school and domestic priorities. It is not easy for the big and smaller members of any family right now and staying sane and looking after each other is so vital. The following article is written, drawing on key external references, to offer some tips on how to steer your family through the current period.
Parenting has its ups and downs on an average week. On a good day, the joys of seeing your children achieve new milestones, of spending quality time together can be incredible. However, when you throw in a dose of work related stress, personal anxiety and a global pandemic in the mix, things can get a lot harder, fast.
Leslie E. Roos, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Manitoba and Jessica Flannery, Doctoral Candidate in Clinical Psychology, University of Oregon have compiled a useful visual checklist. They have identified, eight key areas to protect and be mindful of at this time of flux:
1. Notice what’s going well – it’s too easy to focus on the negatives - taking time to praise and affirm a kind act, a great attitude or a lovely response to an activity, can make all the difference.
2. Plan (a little) - their routines have been up-ended so offering some structure can make all the difference: outside exercise, reading together, creative time, lunch together - setting up some daily norms can be reassuring. Giving them some choices too is important. We are not expected to replicate school
3. Get down to their level - play-time and close time are important to build positive feelings right now. Reaching out, in between work calls, can help return closeness and reduce frustrations.
4. Give good directions - being clear and calm (as possible) when making a request can help to keep things steady. When we are feeling frazzled we tend to be short. Our children pick up on this. if you are struggling to get them to come on board - incentivise. "If you help me with this - you can have the choice of this..." It’s absolutely ok to dangle a carrot at times like this.
5. Take a step back - if you recognise you are feeling stressed and are not able to communicate in a positive way it’s better to step back. I have found that admitting to my son, "I'm feeling stressed, I'm need to be on my own right now," can sometimes diffuse creeping tension. Taking a deep square breath (4 in, hold 4, exhale 4, hold 4) really works to bring that anxiety down.
6. Choose not to react (when you can) - this is not easy, especially when you have several things piling on top of you. Trying to ignore challenging behaviour is helpful if we can. Counting to 10, walking away, whatever it takes not to explode is the best option. Sometimes even blowing a raspberry or being silly can pull us out of the 'mood.'
7. Reset and move on (when you can’t) - sometimes we don't follow the best path and we can erupt at each other. This can be really unpleasant when we're cooped up together. Admitting our mistakes and saying sorry can go a long way, along with a cuddle and a treat. A bit of TV time and a slab of chocolate can go a long way.
8. Be generous with affection - making time to check in with each other, to say 'I love you,' to ask 'how are you?' to reach out with a hug. All these things are soothing and stabilising when we are all feeling out of kilter.
St Philips Bilton Grange, (in partnership with St Hilda's Greatfield, St Giles Marfleet and St Margaret's Welcome Centre Longhill) are running a food bank in response to an increased level of food poverty in our communities as a result of covid-19.
They operate on Fridays 10-12. People can knock on the door for a household appropriate food parcel or we deliver to those unable to collect. They ideally need to know by Wednesday evening if people need delivery or are coming to pick up so they can prepare the right number of food parcels on Thursday.
They are currently helping anyone on Longhill, Bilton Grange, Greatfield, Marfleet and Preston Rd, who asks. If there are families you are particularly concerned about, or you think could do with help, you can pass them this number 07929733555.
Mindheart - COVID Book for Children in 18 Languages
Please click on the link to find a book for children under 7 to help them understand Coronavirus - it has been translated into many different languages, including Romanian, Polish, Portugese and Hungarian.
Mental Health Helpline
Help and Advice
Attached is a list of services that may be helpful to families, some of the services families need to be registered to use. Please see documents below.
Online Support for Young People
Kooth.com is an award winning and innovative online counselling and support service which is now available to all young people across Hull between 11-25 years old. It is a safe, confidential and anonymous way for young people to access emotional wellbeing and early intervention mental health support.
Fully trained and qualified counsellors and emotional wellbeing practitioners are available until 10pm each night, 365 days per year, providing a much needed out-ofhours service for emotional support in an accessible way.