Contributed by expert contributor: Joanna Jewell, Mindful Parenting Expert From Mindful ME
We are all struggling in our own way as we navigate through the uncertainties of COVID19.
As parents ourselves, we know the struggle is real.
We’re all trying to adjust to the changes and uncertainties this time is presenting while at the same time balancing the needs of our kids, their online learning, our work, family-time and everyone’s mental health and well-being.
It’s a lot.
Although there are moments when we realize that we have a lot to be grateful for during this time at home with our families, at the same time, there are times we feel completely overwhelmed, stressed and feel like we’re not doing enough.
In times like this, we turn to Mindful Parenting expert, Joanne Jewell from Mindful ME to get some of her top tips on some of the personal challenges we are facing.
Below, Therese – the Head of Content & Co-Founder of QiDZ, speaks about her struggles during this time:
“My challenge is I have 2 very active boys – 4.5 and 3, and we’re having issues of sibling rivalry and not sharing, combined with cabin fever. I feel like I am at the end of my tether and forever shouting and saying “no” to everything.
I am also worried about how I am reacting to the uncertainly and stress of what’s happening in the world, and what my kids are learning from this. Some days I am a right mess, can’t focus and have no patience for anything, making it hard with the pressures of work too. My kids aren’t sleeping very well so we’re all very tired and irritable!”
Joanne’s Top Tips for Therese:
1) Self-care is vital at this time
This means saying no as well as yes. Be aware (be really honest with yourself here) of the things that help you- eg, eating at regular times, and the things that don’t -eg, spending a lot of time on social media. Then focus on doing more of the self-care and less of the others.
2) Patience takes practice
And often suffers when we are self-critical or judgmental. Practice being patient with yourself – mindfulness meditation is a great way to practice this and you could take just 5-10 minutes per day to be with yourself and to practice noticing how that feels. This could also fit into your self-care routine.
3) Sleep often suffers when we are stressed or our routine changes
Figure out what timings work the best for you and your children – perhaps going to bed a bit later and getting up later works for your family, or you prefer to get up early and go to bed earlier.
Some children and adults need less sleep at the moment if their physical activity has decreased and this is okay too.
Think about what activities are happening before bedtime. Allow 45 mins to 1 hour for winding down to occur – this means no screens, low physical activity, a calm, connected parent and a regular routine which could include bath, listening to books and breathing exercises.
The ‘Calm’ app has some great bedtime stories for kids which might help.
4) It’s completely normal for children to fight and not share
The sibling relationship is where they get to practice setting boundaries with other children and testing out what is and isn’t ok.
Be mindful of how you are setting boundaries with them separately as this is how they will learn to set them with each other.
We want to use compassion and empathy when teaching children, and this means accepting how they feel and how hard some of these feelings are before we talk about changing behaviour.
If you can practice saying ‘yes’ more to them, they might be able to practice saying ‘yes’ to each other more – this does take time though, so manage your expectations and be patient with yourself and them.
5) Practice replacing “No” with, “Yes, we can do that when….” or “Yes, we can do that as soon as…..”
This will require some creativity on your part and a mindset change, but this is a great way of teaching our children a growth mindset and helping them to develop a creative mind themselves.
This aims to focus on how they can do something rather than focusing on how difficult it is or how they can avoid doing it.
6) My last tip is to practice self-compassion
Be kind to yourself at this time.
Kindness is a little burst of energy which spreads into the environment that we live in. So when we practice it on ourselves the impact is felt by others too.
Joanne is a Mindful Parenting expert, couples and individual therapist who has worked with parents and children in schools and privately in Dubai for the past 15 years. UK qualified, Joanne offers private online & workshop sessions to support parents on a range of topics. Check out Joanne’s upcoming online weekly workshops on QiDZ here as well as details for how to reach her for a private online consultation. You can also find more information on: https://mindfulme.me/mindful-parenting/
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