15th March 2021.
So, I am wondering how your children may be getting on at school now they have been back for a week after nearly 3 months at home. Were they exhausted this weekend? Perhaps not only exhausted but wired? All children and especially sensitive ones may be really struggling with the sudden sensory overload of a return to a full classroom. Many children, certainly my own, were very comfortable at home (even enjoying the daily walk above) and have been thrust out into a busy world again – often against their will. I know I would struggle with that difference in pace of life.
Not only are they back in the busy world but for many, especially the older ones, it is only the bad bit. The part that entails packed lessons, while masked, and imminent exams as the schools rush to gather evidence for teacher assessed grades. Many are stressed about what the future might hold, as the old established pathways seem to fall away. The nice part, the fun bit, out of school meet ups, parties, holiday planning, has not restarted. It’s tough.
Younger and older children will have absorbed official messages and those from us about the danger lurking all around us: It is too dangerous for us to gather as a family, see people, go to the office, shops or to work but now we want you to spend your day with lots of other people.
So – what can we do to ease this for them?
Children are infinitely adaptable and for the most part they trust us. So:
· Make sure the younger ones understand why they are being returned to what they might perceive as dangerous situations while, sometimes, we stay safely at home.
· Listen to their fears and stresses and make sure they understand that they have been heard. There is a universal need in humans of all ages to be heard. It is not always easy to get out of children what might be worrying them or how they are feeling but offering to hear their side of the story (especially if things have gone or feel wrong ) is crucial. Also you don’t necessarily need to agree with their actions to offer to see it from their point of view.
· Children need to feel clearly that you are there and that you love them. If your children can feel loved and held by you it will give them strength to tackle what they need to in their day.
· They also need to feel that you believe in them and their ability to cope with the difficult situations they might find themselves in. The more they can feel this the more likely they are to feel this about themselves. It will help them shape their belief in themselves and their abilities. We all know that confidence can make all the difference growing up. Instill a belief in them that they can do hard things.
· Sometimes children just need a break. Trust yourself to know when that time might be. Mental health days are as important for them as for adults when emotions become exhausting and overwhelming. It all adds up to them knowing you are on their side.
Also please know none of this is easy and we certainly can’t get it right all the time.