Supporting Parents With A Possible Return To School
I would like to start by saying this blog is written to not pass any judgement, but to hopefully encourage confidence with whatever decision you have made as a parent regarding your child's return to school, if they have been invited to return.
Parents and children have been on a corona-coaster (as it has become known) for the past ten weeks, and now with some children being invited back to school the roller-coaster of emotions continues. Many parents I have spoken to over the past few weeks including family, friends and therapy clients I have worked with, have expressed that their emotions have tended to fluctuate far more frequently than prior to Covid-19. They have expressed a range of emotions regarding their parenting, depending on individual circumstances. Some have expressed being grateful for the extra time with their children, whilst some have expressed feeling resentful for the lack of time with their children, due to having to pick up extra shifts or take on new posts or roles during this time. Some have expressed complete fatigue, feeling overwhelmed, questioning their parenting skills, worried for what the future brings for their children, yearning for clarity, feeling confused, frustrated, irritated and angry at various points. As a parent myself I completely empathise with the challenges that this pandemic has brought to so many. What I would like to say as a therapist, is that it is okay to have negative thoughts and emotions. We are all human and it does not make you a bad parent if you cannot keep your 'positive pants' on all the time. Your emotions and feelings towards how your role as a parent has changed are absolutely valid. Allow yourself to feel those emotions but do not allow yourself to get completely stuck in a negative cycle.
As the week ahead comes closer with many parents having to decide whether to send their children back to school or not, remember to be confident in your choices and know that you are doing what you can for your children, during a crisis that no one could have ever anticipated or prepared us for. There really is no right or wrong. Right now, many are finding it hard to navigate these choices and emotions, knowing that the power to make decisions about our children going to school, lies with us. There is no judgement! If you are happy (I appreciate some decisions may have been forced and out of your hands, if having to return to work) with your choices that is all that matters. Be kind to yourself as a parent and as a human. If you are doing your best, you cannot ask anymore of yourself right now! You have to make the right decision for you and your child/children. It is important to help your child feel secure and safe, by being confident and secure with the decision you have made.
Focus on what you can control rather than what you cannot. If your child is returning to school for the first time this week then talk to your child about changes to their old school the routine so they are prepared for what lies ahead. Tell them who will be dropping them off and picking them up. Explain where you will be standing, what gate they are to go through etc if their school has notified you. Set aside some time to talk about their day.
Establish a good routine again if it has been lost during lock-down but do not expect miracles to happen overnight! It takes time to re-establish boundaries, including bedtimes, wake up times, screen times, work times and patterns of how the days will be structured moving forward. Think about the order of things in the morning that would make it easier for you all, so you do not feel rushed or overwhelmed getting your child/children and yourself ready. Remember some children have had ten weeks away from school-do not be hard on them or yourself if they don’t quite get back into the new routine straight away. They are only children. They cannot process everything in the way we as adults can and nor should they be expected to.
If you need to find comfort over the decisions you have made, then reflect on this time. Look through photos of the past few weeks, and remind yourself of all that you have done and the times you have shared with your child. Ask your child to create a wishing jar of things they would like to do when they can, when the world opens up a little bit more. Write each wish on a post it and keep it in a jar-this is a great way to also have some ‘fun ideas’ for days out and quality time together when you can. Take some time for yourself this evening, practising some self-care before the week ahead.
Be mindful of the feelings and concerns your child might have, but avoid putting your own fears, anxieties and worries on to them. Let them ask questions, and provide honest answers, but try to sensor any of your own fears, anxieties or concerns. Children really are resilient, and adaptable-they’ve demonstrated this over the past ten weeks! If you are concerned about getting your child to talk through their emotions, then check out the FREE downloadable mindfulness resources for children. Click the link to go straight to the page and download today. https://www.abundancetec.co.uk/abundance-tec-products.
Remember teachers are amazing beings (I have had the pleasure of working with many) and they will do everything they can to support the children and families that they work with, as they have continued to do so for the past ten weeks.
Whatever decision you have made or are having to make regarding your child's return to school, then please know there is no judgement to be made. We are all in the same storm, but very different boats at the moment. Comparisons cannot be made when it comes to this parental decision, that is so personal to our own family circumstances and belief systems. Please reach out if you need help coming to terms with this change. You are not alone. We all want the best for the children of our future.
I continue to offer online clinical hypnotherapy, education, and coaching for individuals during this time, with a waiting list for face-to-face therapy, once this restrictions in relation to Covid19 are lifted, and this form of therapy can resume. All initial telephone consultations are free with no obligation to book for therapy.
Take care and stay safe.
This is written with an intention to support parents. I am by no means saying this is how everyone is feeling or that the above advice is what everyone needs to do. I recognise everyone's circumstances, feelings and emotions are different and unique. I continue to offer online clinical hypnotherapy, education, and coaching for individuals during this time, with a waiting list for face-to-face therapy, once this restrictions in relation to Covid19 are lifted, and this form of therapy can resume.
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