Keep calm, keep informed, keep connected, keep working (from home), supervise your child/ren’s education (from home), exercise but stay away from everyone, support small business, eat healthy, buy take-away, spend time with your kids, make time for yourself, learn a new language or instrument, look out for your neighbours, play board games, grow veges, don’t watch the news, know all the restrictions to flatten the curve, watch the curve, spend time with your partner, practice mindfulness, keep cleaning, monitor screen time, reflect on long term changes, try not to panic, shop online but expect delays, get going on those jobs around the house, learn how to connect online, find resources and activities to keep kids off screens, miss major events (funerals, weddings, birthdays) but know it’s for the greater good…is anyone feeling exhausted yet?
Every single thing in the list above is valid and useful, but together it is just too much. Too much change and too many expectations. At the end of week one, term 2 2020 in Australia many parents are feeling exhausted, despondent, like they’ve failed and many are feeling scared about how they will cope over the next few weeks.
One of the big problems is we are all being asked to undertake routines and take on roles that are new and unfamiliar and quite frankly, we didn’t ask for any of them. Of course we are all trying our best to adapt to all the change, but doing so many unfamiliar things in unusual ways has left many of us feeling incompetent and unsatisfied.
So let’s look at how we can get some balance back in our lives during the Covid19 event.
To help ourselves and our families to survive and maybe even thrive during Covid19 restrictions, we have to think about what roles are we really good at, what makes our family most happy and what is really important to us.
For some this will be completing all the school work sent home from school. For others it will involve lots of exercise and play. Many will be looking to do things that help them sleep well at night. The important thing to remember is that every person and family is different, so the routines and roles that work for one family might be disastrous for another. We are all different and we are all in a state of flux and change, so we must do what works for us and our family. We must be kind to ourselves and others as we all navigate this very strange and very significant event.
Here are some things to consider when developing new routines and roles for your family:
- You have a choice and a voice. Decide what is most important for your family right now and prioritise that. Explain to friends, families, educators, employers what you are prioritising and why.
- Come up with a routine that suits your family. Do not let others impose a routine on you
- Keep things simple. Do not expect too much of yourself or of your family each day
- Look after yourself – get outdoors every day, move your body, get plenty of sleep, laugh, eat good food. If you do this, you are being an amazing role model for your children
- What do you and your children enjoy doing together? Do these things a lot
- Do not do things with your kids or take on roles that you find stressful or are not confident doing
- Let work colleagues know when and how they can contact you and when you are unavailable
- Let educators know what you are able to manage at home and what you can’t – be honest and realistic
- Play a lot – children can play alone, with siblings or with you…a combination of all of these is great!
- Make sure everyone in the house knows where they can go and what they can do when they need time alone
- Turn off screens as much as possible. Try to make your downtime screen free.
Now, more than ever, the routines and roles that we take on must have a sense of meaning, hope and interconnectedness. If we can do this, we will feel more in control of our lives and it will give us the opportunity for our bodies, minds and spirits to not only survive but thrive during these difficult times.
Written by: Madeline Avci, Director Jump Up for Kids 25 April 2020
Madeline Avci is the Director of Jump Up For Kids and is a huge advocate of children balancing their time in front of screens with time playing outside where they ignite all of their senses. At work and through her own children, she sees the joy in children’s eyes as they rise up to meet the challenges that nature provides. Jump Up For Kids brings together over twenty years of Madeline’s experience in Occupational Therapy, teaching and parenting, to offer children and their families a ‘just right’ experience in a world that often feels hurried and stressed.
Jump Up For Kids combines expert knowledge of the demands of the modern world, the education system and child development to provide a service that advocates and promotes a common sense approach to raising children in the modern world.
Jump Up For Kids Occupational Therapists work alongside children, families, educators and industry leaders to help develop and promote the independence and resilience children and young people need to do the things they need to do each day and the things they want to do. Jump Up For Kids strives to maintain outstanding levels of service for our clients and strives to place itself at the forefront of Child Development within the Health, Education and Community Development industries.