I’m Joss and I manage our Children and Young People’s service and I’m here to share our first Monday morning message.
So, who would have thought that we would ever find ourselves in this situation? I can’t believe that the things that we have taken for granted in our daily lives have now gone and I know that this can leave many feeling fearful and uncertain.
I have worked with many families to support them as they try to manage their safety and that of their children. I can only imagine that the living arrangements that were just about manageable before could now feel make you feel really vulnerable and make you question just how safe you are. I know that going to school is part of our children’s daily routine, and that has now gone, with us as parents now being expected to be their teachers and support our children with subjects we may know nothing about. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been staring at the screen for the last half an hour trying to work out if it’s their, there or they’re….!?
I also know that, for children who are or have experienced domestic abuse, school is likely to have been their safe haven, with teachers forming a part of their emotional support network. For them, the loss of school isn’t just about education so for now, forget the school work…
Research tells us our children learn best when they are calm and feel connected, and I know from experience that this starts with YOU… That probably feels a bit scary, especially if you are scared and struggling yourself, so how do you help your children be calm and connected?
If you have ever flown in a plane, you may remember the cabin crew safety briefing - in the event of loss of oxygen, a mask will drop down in front of you. PUT YOUR OWN MASK ON first before helping others – this is because you can only help others if you have enough oxygen of your own. It's the same in a crisis, to help your children you need to be able to look after your own emotional health and safety first.
As a first step consider how you feel. Stare at this wheel of emotion, cast your eyes around it until you settle on a spot that seems to represent how you feel inside – if you were being really honest with yourself…[your current inner emotional make up]….
Maybe you feel some of these emotions, or perhaps you feel all of these emotions but at different times, you may also feel lots of other emotions that aren’t shown here. Please be reassured that this is completely normal and to be expected in such difficult times. You may be experiencing a loss of a sense of safety – this could be very real (loss of job leading to fears about paying bills) or perceived (not being able to see the virus so not knowing where you might catch it).
Spend some time recognising and acknowledging your own feelings (this takes time and practice – trust me!) – every day I find time to notice my feeling and say to myself ‘there’s anxiety’ or ‘there’s anger’ or ‘there’s contentment’. If you like you can take notes or keep a log of your emotional journey or just jot down words that come to mind – over time this has really helped me to also be more aware of my children’s emotions.
So, for now, the focus is you - here’s your Monday morning to do list:-
- Take a shower and notice the sensation of the water
- Practice recognising and naming your emotions
- Look at yourself in the mirror. Smile, even it it’s the last thing you feel like doing.
You are now in a better place to talk to your child about what is happening in the world right now. Get you and the children comfortable and take a look at these resources to help you explain.
Tomorrow we’ve got a great exercise that you can do together to create emotional safety within your home.
For our younger learners:-
Other useful links:-
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