10 ways to maintain positive relationships after 10 weeks in the Covid-19 world!
Whether you are parenting a baby, toddler, teenager, remote parenting or are isolating on your own, maintaining positive relationships is important for your mental and physical health. With this the “new normal”, what have you learnt, what tips can we share with you and how are you going to maintain those relationships into 2021?
Parenting/Caring for others – a time for patience and understanding!
This has been a confusing time for everyone whatever your situation, unprecedented, and something no one has ever experienced. At any age, whatever routine your children had has been changed overnight. Even our family pets are confused!
Routines and predictability make children feel safe – that expectation of what is happening or going to happen. We have often spent lots of hours establishing bedtime routines, habits associated with getting ready for school, juggling timetables so that every child can get to their clubs and many more.
All children struggle with change – schools try to manage transitions (from each year, to starting or leaving a setting), as parents we try to minimise disruptions for our children, and yet here we are with a dramatic change of routines, “a new normal”. It takes some getting used to.
Here are some ideas, thoughts and information that may help.
Time is our most precious resource:
- Put aside more time to connect with your friends and family
- Try different things to stay connected – phones, computers, old fashioned letters are the lifeline for those of our family and friends that may be feeling alone, isolated and afraid of what is happening. It is so important for our mental health.
- Stay patient when helping those less confident with technology
- Be brave – make new connections – but remember to stay safe – but online communities, or dropping a note to people in your neighbourhood to check on them, can be a very supportive environment and reduce the feeling that “you are the only one feeling this way
- Routines and structure are still important – it is easy to end up in a rut of familiar boredom that can increase unhelpful boredom.
- Ask your children to help you plan the day – nobody needs a colour coded timetable (although some love it) but just an idea of what you are going to do when – something before lunch, something after lunch.
- Invest in a meal planner -allowing everyone the opportunity to contribute ideas, and practically – you are helping them with life skills for the future and will save tears and tantrums if they have helped decide or prepare.
- Remember children show stress in different ways so it may be that fewer vegetables are eaten and that bedtimes might take longer – don’t forget patience and understanding.
- Sleep is important for teenagers – and sleeping longer may help them cope with the challenges they face
- Setting and rewarding chores and helping out, or even doing their school-work – give them a sense of achievement by rewarding them with a popcorn and movie, or lunch as a picnic.
We offer “live interactive classes” on many different topics, from parenting, skills, emotional wellbeing, life skills, supporting transitions, English and Maths, Early years and creative ideas to keep your children supported. This gives you the opportunity to connect with real people, in real time and get support from professional tutors. Click on: https://aclessex.com/community-family-learning-online/ to book.
The greatest gift we can give another person is to be present with them:
- Be present – this means really paying attention to the other person in your life and trying not to be distracted by your phone/work or other interests.
- Create a time each day to express
- it may be to agree a time each day when everyone in our home can say how they are feeling – for instance, it could be what we have found most difficult and what we are grateful for that day.
- Finding a balance of different activities
- Reading together, playing games, making a meal together, or doing something creative are all opportunities to have group time, giving everyone a chance to choose what you do. Being active is important for our mental health. Trying to eat at least one meal together can also give everyone a chance to reflect on the day and connect.
Sometimes we forget to listen (to ourselves and others):
- Let yourself be listened to – honestly share how you are feeling and allow yourself to be heard and supported by others. Find a space to share and listen without judgment, sharing feelings, without fear of being criticised or told off, can help us feel calmer and closer to each other. Everyone is feeling more anxious and perhaps more irritable than usual.
- Really listen to what others are saying and try to understand it and focus on their needs in that moment
- Recognising and managing stress – in relation to parenting, work, family and other challenges. If you feel like you can’t do this on your own one not book on one of our adult courses: https://aclessex.com/mental-wellbeing-online/
- Try not to judge or compare ourselves to others – through a lens of what we don’t have or can’t offer. It is really important to cut ourselves some slack. Right now, today you are giving your best to your kids, and hopefully there’s enough for you. If there isn’t find a way to replenish yourself – remember https://aclessex.com/community-family-learning-online/
I deserve to have a happy relationship (with myself and others):
- It’s OK to take personal alone time as a parent
- If there are other adults in the household or teenagers, enabling each other to have personal time is a huge gift we can give. Even young children need space – identify and make a space that is their own – perhaps building a den in the corner of a room where they can go if they need some quiet time.
- It is especially important with babies and toddlers- although hard, if at all possible, to try and use nap times to recharge rather than clean or work.
- If you have a partner at home, spending quality time together is also important – a shared cup of tea to chat!
- If you are feeling lonely – why not join an online group, or class that focuses on something you enjoy – we offer loads of short and longer classes, some of which are FREE at https://aclessex.com/
- Harmful relationships can make us unhappy. Recognising this can help us to move forward and find solutions.
Other key messages:
Maybe screen time needs to be relaxed – to allow you to have time for yourselves, activities together and to connect with others. There’s a huge amount of free, exciting content from virtual tours, on streaming platform and new games, and there is a lot there that can be good for our mental health. Don’t forget about online safety and keep talking to your children about these dangers.
Updated information and security guidance can be found at:
According to a survey of UK adults which took place during lockdown (2-3 April), one in four (24%) said they had feelings of loneliness in the previous “two weeks”. When the same question was askes shortly before lockdown, just one in ten people (10%) said they had these feelings.
Since lockdown, young people are almost three times more likely to have experienced loneliness, with almost half (44%) feeling this way.
Despite all of the difficulties, there are also huge opportunities to get to know your children better, to learn new things together and to be together as a family.
We don’t want you to be lonely – we want you to know that ACL Essex is here for you, building a community of like-minded people and helping to build those connections with us and with other organisations across Essex.
If you need specific advice or support, please click on this directory which will signpost you to numerous organisations, including us that are here to help. https://www.essexeffectivesupport.org.uk/media/1147/directory-of-services-140520.pdf
If you have any ideas to share or want to keep up to date with the latest workshops/courses/or support then visit our Facebook group:
To book on these or any of the workshops/courses we have on offer then click the link: https://aclessex.com/community-family-learning-online/.
Please feel free to share with any resident of Essex.