Emotional wellbeing is crucial to supporting physical and mental health. But with everything going on at the moment, it’s easy to overlook…
Coronavirus is scary and stressful. We’re worried about our loved ones, our careers, our homelife. Huge shifts in the way we live our lives are happening with very little explanation or warning. If adults are finding this time tricky to navigate, imagine what our little ones are going through. As adults we understand what is happening, but for many of our children the way in which they have always lived their life is changing, and they may have no understanding of why.
So here are a few tips that you could try to support your family’s emotional wellbeing in these troubled times.
Routines – children thrive on routines. Being able to predict what will happen next is hugely reassuring to children, who often have little control over their lives. At nursery our routines are largely set around meals, which act as anchor points for the children to anticipate whether they will be moving to a calm part of the day (e.g. nap/relaxation or story time), or a louder, more playful time. Creating a routine that can be repeated daily at home may be reassuring for some children.
Rest – We have been fortunate to receive so many emails from our families showing us what their children have been getting up to, and we love seeing such happy, proud faces. But while there is time for learning in a day, there is also time for rest. Our children will go, go, go all day if they can, but by building in rest time they are able to conserve energy, and recharge emotionally, which helps them to regulate their emotions and play beautifully throughout the day. And if it means you are able to have a well-deserved biscuit break, then even better! We create a calm environment by diffusing lavender oil and playing soothing music.
Outdoor time – if you have a garden, we would thoroughly recommend making the most of sunshiney days and getting outside. This will provide a space for your child to burn off any excess energy, as well as giving them time to be soothed by nature and access Vitamin D. Additionally, a garden offers an environment with different challenges and possibilities than those found indoors, which will support both physical and cognitive development.
Emotional check ins – at nursery we regularly have circle time to discuss our emotions. This enables the children to recognise and articulate things that have made them happy, cross, or sad, so that we adults can support them through their emotions. At home, you could check in with your child’s emotions at meal times. Of course, for non-verbal children, singing, dancing and musical instruments allow them to have a voice and express themselves emotionally!
Eat good mood foods – a tough one with the state of the supermarkets at the moment, but food does have an impact on our mood. Try to eat foods that are high in omega 3 fatty acids, such as oily fish or eggs. Leafy green veg or brown rice are high in magnesium, which aids relaxation and helps produce seratonin, to stabilise moods.
Take care of yourself – Perhaps most importantly, one of the best ways to care for your child’s emotional wellbeing is look after yourself. You cannot pour from an empty cup. If you feel overwhelmed, take a few moments to apply handcream and breathe.
We hope these tips help your family navigate through these turbulent times. Take care, and stay safe.