Family Well Being
Wednesday 15th April 2020
Dear residents, in this time when we are all apart from each other and Creation is not able to open our offices, we want you to know that we are still here for you and we are trying to come up with useful ways of supporting you and your family.
We know (from personal experience!!) that this is can be a tricky time for many for people with children, staying indoors, kids at home, trying to establish some kind of routine and managing family squabbles. We can feel a pressure to be constantly doing interesting things with our children, trying to keep up with their education, comparing ourselves to the seemingly ‘perfect’ families we see online. Maybe the family dynamic has changed, perhaps you are sharing your space with family members you don’t normally see for such long periods of time. Or perhaps you are not seeing people that you would normally be spending time with.
We have put together a few tips for families. Over the coming weeks, we hope to be offering some of our Parent Talk session online, with a dedicated session on managing in isolation, but in the meantime, here are a few tips for managing in these strangest of times. These come from advice we have found online from counsellors and other professionals, but we are also sharing our own strategies, that we are developing as we go along.
Remember there is no such thing as a perfect family! We are all just trying our best in incredibly unusual times. Try to be kind to yourself and the efforts you are making to make things as normal as possible for your family.
People only really post their best moments on social media. All families have arguments, lazy times and eat unhealthy meals. Try not to compare yourself to what you see online, it is not reality.
Don’t try too many new things all at once. There are so many wonderful resources coming out at this time, you can do online fitness, learn a new language, write a book, start a craft. It can feel a bit overwhelming, thinking you should be doing them all. Why not pick one new thing each week, or perhaps let your children decide which one you want to do. Decide if it is something you want to continue and if not, just let it go and try not to feel bad about that.
You are on your own, but not alone Sometimes, it can feel that we have to cope because everyone else seems to be, but reaching out when things get too much is really important. Or just catching up with family and friends for a chat. It can be nice to have a phonecall, but seeing people can be really important. Try using free apps such as Whatsapp, Facetime, Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts. But remember these should be things to make life better, not worse. If you leave chats feeling more exhausted that when you started, it is ok not to log on next time. Perhaps one of your children really enjoys speaking to their friends or grandparents but the other one doesn’t – this is about working out the best for us as individuals. Not to feel the pressure to be something we are not.
A routine can help - but don’t be a slave to it Getting a structure can really help the days to feel a bit easier to manage, so for example aim to get everyone washed and dressed by a certain time, making the break between sleeping and waking. But if the odd day no one can be bothered to get out of pyjamas, don’t be too hard on yourself. Tomorrow is a new day!
You are and are not a teacher! Schools are being great about sending resources, so that kids don’t fall behind. Some children will love sitting down with you and going through the work together (if you can keep up!) For others it will be a nightmare! Try not to force your children to complete every piece of work – maybe prioritise some of the core subjects. Perhaps they could choose a topic they are interested in and do a mini-project about it. What skills do you have that you could share with your children? For example, do you speak a language that your children don;t, do you use a computer programme at work that your kids might find interesting. You could teach your children these skills, it will feel less like school and you will feel more confident teaching something you know.
Don’t forget to have fun! Sometimes we are so busy thinking what we should be doing, cooking healthy meals, teaching our kids, but remember it has never been a more important time to have a good laugh! Is there a film that you all enjoy as a family, is one of your kids a bit of a character – could they put on a show for the others?
Look after yourself As caregivers, we are always thinking about the interest of others, but in all of this, we really need to look after ourselves. Ok – everyone says that, but do we really do that and what could that thing be? Ask yourself, what have you done today that was for you and you alone. Just half an hour of reading, a cup of tea away from everyone else, painting your toenails, watching your favourite programme in peace! The more we take care of ourselves the more energy we have for others.
And finally – remember, be kind to yourself and remind others to be kind to each other. As a family we need to try and remember the importance of sticking together. Don’t set the bar to high, we are all just humans trying our best in these incredible situation.