Helping children during difficult times.
 
These are uncertain and challenging times for many families. As parents and carers it can be difficult to help children manage their emotions during times of stress and improving relationships can seem like an impossible task. However one of the most simple ways to do this is to find one or two short periods each day to really connect with your child.  
 
Below are a suggested list of activities that can build stronger bonds. Stronger bonds will help both our children and us as parents get through these difficult times together. 
 
The activities below can be as long or as short as the time you have available.  
 
Play
Let your child choose what to play with and how. Small world toys, teddy bears picnic, drawing, building dens, anything they are interested in, it doesn’t really matter what…what is important is let your child lead the play. See if you can join in but without making too many suggestions. Notice, listen, be present, let your child know that it is them and their ideas that really interests you.  
 
Collaborate
Work together. Draw a garden or a park, taking turns to add animals, people or plants. Do some colouring together but on the same piece of paper. Challenge yourselves to build something from Lego.
 
Building connections
Increase eye contact using movement cards to copy each other.   Use conversation cards to start a discussion. Dance, sing, play catch, have fun, be silly.
 
Welcome emotions
We may want to ‘fix’ the problem for our children but it is important for children to have their emotions accepted. Let them know that you ‘hear and see’ their difficult feelings and respond in way that lets them see it is ‘okay’ to feel angry or upset. If they can, let them talk about their feelings using a worry jar or make a worry monster who can listen to their worries. If they don’t want to talk, or can’t, perhaps they can draw or paint a picture of their feelings. For instance, what would their feeling look like if it was an animal? . Talk about hopes and wishes for the future and write them down.  

Trauma Recovery Centre, Bath

The Trauma Recovery Centre is a Bath based charity (https://www.trc-uk.org/) and the founder has set up a youtube channel with short videos covering some really useful topics to help parents and carers navigate helping their children in this time. The charity founder, Betsy, is a teacher, psychotherapist and author of many books about trauma recovery, many of which are best sellers and she trains professionals all over the world. Her most popular book series ‘The Simple Guide To…” offer any easy understanding of many complex issues.

Here is a link to one of the short video talks available titled “Lockdown and stressed kids”.

https://youtu.be/2MV7oOo0SC4