Duvet day...? Welcome to Thursday and a change in the weather! How does that make you feel? For my young adults it seems to give them permission to have a ‘duvet day’ and stay in bed for longer but for younger children it may mean you have to find more to occupy them! The weather may make you feel ‘flat’ and less motivated or relieved that you can also have a duvet day! Whatever you’re feeling it’s ok to feel – feelings and thoughts come and go. Sometimes, during times of stress, I know for me negative thoughts can stick – I have a saying on my fridge to help me when this happens. It says ‘Have a Teflon mind, not a Velcro mind’. Having worrying thoughts about what is happening right now is a normal reaction – we are not in a ‘normal’ situation. For many of us life has changed dramatically and during crisis we have a loss of a sense of safety. This may be actual, for example, loss of employment leading to worries about paying the rent, or perceived, such as not being able to see the virus so not knowing where you might catch it. And so our children will also have worries. Yesterday we talked about physical responses to stress, today I have an activity to show you that will help with worrying thoughts. This is a great activity to use any time actually and the Children’s Team always recommend this one for children facing change such as starting a new school, or meeting a new step-parent or other family member, or a house move. It really does help promote feelings of safety for your child. Let the worry monster eat up your worries.... I am sure you will be familiar with the ‘worry monsters’! These are used a lot and there are many versions of them in our high street shops but you don’t need to purchase one to do this activity. The idea is that at night your child can write down on some paper or card any worries they have. Your child then pops the worry in to the monster’s mouth before going to sleep. Once your child is asleep, you then take the pieces of paper out and magic happens – in the morning the worry is gone! As a parent or carer, you can then see what your child is worried about and work out how best to help them. The good thing is you really don’t need to buy a monster – we use jars, or a plastic pot, or a box. Now is the time that you and your child can get really creative with cutting and sticking and making your pot look beautiful! To help you out, take a look at this:- https://www.drstephaniemargolese.com/the-worry-jar-technique-help-your-child-overcome-worries-and-anxiety Put on some relaxing music too! Really create that calming environment. One thing to think about during this time is the way you and your child are together – we often hear the word ‘attachment’ used to describe our relationship with our child. This term comes from a man called John Bowlby who first talked about attachment and what it means. There is lots and lots of information around to learn about attachment but, in short, attachment is a basic human need. Attachment is the foundation for our safety, security, protection and certainty. During this stressful time, it is important that we feel attached to our children and they feel attached to us so all these activities will help – even when it feels like they aren’t! If one day feels tough and it just isn’t ‘happening’ put it away and come back to it later or the next day. They are always in your ‘toolbox’. As adults we also need to feel attached to others as well as our child. If we have healthy relationships with our peers, we feel ‘nourished’ and this helps our relationship with our children so make sure you call a friend or a family member or a neighbour to have a chat and ‘check-in’. We are social creatures and we need to attach! We just have to find ways around it right now! Try to have a routine as best you can – perhaps one thing is a focus for the day, whether it’s making a worry jar, or doing the fight/flight exercise or creating the safe space – having a focus will give you a sense of achievement even when the day feels horribly long and you want to stay under that duvet! So, today’s ‘to do’s’…. Create a worry jar Call a friend Do one thing at a time! See you tomorrow!