Contributed by expert contributor: Joanne Jewell, Mindful Parenting Expert From Mindful ME
This week Joanna Jewell, Mindful Parenting Expert from Mindful ME, speaks to Ines- QiDZ COO & Co- Founder, about the struggles Ines is facing while working from home, finding time for herself, screen time and homeschooling.
Ines: “I have 3 kids (6, 8 and 9) and I am struggling to have my own “me time” and make them understand that even though mummy is at home there are times I am not available.
I am also struggling to make them “focus” on school activities (as they are distracted by the fridge, by a fly passing by, by anything!).
And finally, I am struggling with the amount of screen time my kids are having, especially because everything is online.
What I do love about this time is that we get to spend more time doing things we never had time for before like: having lunch together, playing board games, coming up with house rules together, talking about how we are all coping with the situation, and trying to find solutions as a family.”
Joanna’s Top Tips for Ines
1) Me time is important
Part of meeting our own needs and balancing that with meeting our children’s needs can be a real challenge.
When our children are younger their needs are primarily met by us, and then they learn how to meet their own needs as they get older in the way that we have role modelled to them.
I would encourage you to make time for yourself when you are less likely to be interrupted where possible.
So getting up in the morning early before they wake up, or taking some time after they have gone to bed as this will help you to feel less frustrated if you don’t manage to do this during the day.
In addition, it’s great to lead by example, so set a time in the day when everyone does something for themselves at the same time – including you.
So this could be reading a book, having a nap, listening to music, whatever they choose that feels good to them when they spend time on their own.
I promise that as they get older you will have lots of time for yourself; and when they become teenagers they won’t want to spend time with you so in the words of Eckhart Tolle “This too shall pass”.
2)‘Focusing’ is not really something young children understand
They do know how to be fully engrossed in things they enjoy and find fun, but learning how to focus on things that seem boring is a skill that can take many years to develop and requires lots of patience, compassion and empathy from the adults who teach it!
Be realistic about your expectations, and particularly at this time appreciate that the way children are being asked to learn often is at odds with their developmental needs and capacity.
The younger the child the less time they will be able to focus, and if they are feeling anxious, bored, distracted or fidgety this time will decrease even further.
Lots of free play before short bursts of concentration is ideal, and try to find ways to engage in the learning through play where possible, in particular for your 6 year olds.
I’m running a session this Saturday on Schooling during Lockdown so that will definitely provide you with more tips and strategies.
3)Screen time is always a challenge for parents
Especially during this time when learning is being done in this way and other actives are restricted.
Again, be realistic, manage your expectations and be compassionate with yourself and your kids that this is difficult and new for everyone.
For me, I encourage my children to think about balance in their lives and do activities so that they were aware of how they were spending their time from a young age. I have often talked about my struggle with finding this balance too.
Help them to be aware of screen time and if they could do the activity in another way.
Look at how their day and week is balanced rather than focusing on one specific morning or afternoon.
There are some great ways to keep track of our screen time and this is a really useful skill to teach children as they move into adolescence and need to monitor it for themselves.
4)Keep spending time together and developing family rituals
Do this around mealtimes, playing together and sharing your thoughts and feelings.
This will help you to feel connected and raise your awareness of anyone in the family who might be struggling on a particular day.
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/