Whilst I have been in lock down I have been able to pay more attention to how I am feeling. It is funny how one moment I am feeling that I can achieve anything, and then in the blink of an eye, I am on my knees feeling low. This got me thinking about how everyone else must be feeling, and how our emotions respond to what is going on around us.
For all of us the biggest change is having to stay at home and the outbreak of Covid-19. These alone bring on a number of different emotions and feelings. The diagram below shows how over time our emotions can adjust to accept the change.
It is worth noting that this model shows our emotions all in a nice row, one after another. However, in reality this is not the case. Our emotional response to change takes time and we will move from one to another, moving backwards and forwards. We may have found that over the past few weeks we have been able to accept the lock down. Then on Sunday, with the latest changes. we may move back into shock and denial.
What becomes important is to acknowledge our emotions and learn how to respond to them in a productive manner.
Children will feel these emotions too, and it is important to explain to them that this is natural and nothing usual. Remind them that feelings will pass. Encourage them to move themselves forward through the emotion by being in control. Finding activities that distract away from the feelings and encourage others. Role model for your children how to acknowledge your emotions, but not let them take control.
As parents and carers please don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are lots of services and resources available to help you and your children through these uncertain times.
What is a sensory diet? and why do our children need one?
Having a sensory diet is the same as a food diet. It is a fantastic way of ensuring that our senses are balanced and well nourished. This will help with brain development and allow many children to process the world around them. During these troubling times, now more than ever, we need to be getting our senses involved in our daily home learning.
So what is sensory play?
This is using a variety of different activities that develop our senses. When you have the opportunity for a break, why not introduce a sensory game. This can be as simple as crushing cereal in our hands, or squeezing shaving foam through our toes. There are lots of YouTube videos on different types of sensory play activities. They are not all messy!
What is a sensory circuit?
The easiest way to describe it is doing a few different activities in a row, to allow the senses to calm and re-balance. Using circuits can be really helpful for those children that are finding time at home tricky. They give the brain an opportunity to focus on something else and release hormones to maintain positive thinking. Circuits don’t have to be complicated and don’t need lots of equipment, making them ideal for home learning.
Below is an explanation of sensory circuits and some ideas on how to create one at home, or whilst our on our daily walks.
With so much happening at the moment, with uncertain expectations and the inevitable level of boredom being in lock down, it is really important to take some time to focus your mind. I have been thinking more and more about my mental health whilst in lock down. How important it is to recognise my emotions and not allow them to become too heavy. Not allowing things to take over and using techniques to keep me grounded and balanced. Trying meditation to focus the mind and relax the senses can help to settle the body.
Below is a YouTube link to a meditation session for children, however it is just as useful for adults. Maybe try and find some time in your day to have a go and see how relaxed it makes you feel.
I am finding more and more as the weeks go by how my mood is not quite where it usually is. I like to think that I am a happy person, who likes nothing more than having a catch up with my friends and family. But then it hit me; I am not able to do that as I used to. I am finding that my mood is feeling a bit low and I am not my typical happy self. I am frustrated at all the small things, I am finding that I am snappy and generally just not wanting to do anything. I am worried about what is happening and what that means for all the people I care about.
Do you think that you might feel the same?
This is not unusual at times like this. Our whole world has been turned upside down and understandably our emotions will be affected. Below is a video to try and explain what can help with our low moods and worries.
So what can we do to overcome low mood?
Accept the mood but recognise that it is not who you are.
Adults might need to help us understand the emotion and accept it for us. i.e. Saying something like “it is ok that you are feeling sad, I feel like that too sometimes.”
Use activities to help us lift our mood and distract us (momentarily) from our current feeling.
Don’t allow yourself to get trapped by pretending to be happy. It is ok to feel sad and worried, but do not let it get stuck.
Whilst we are living in uncertain times it can understandably increase our stress levels. We find ourselves to become less resilient in dealing with the small things. Children have a way of knowing how to push those buttons that just tip us over the edge. Well do not fear! There is help to hand in the form of two services provided by the local authority.
The first is the Family Information Service who can give guidance over the phone for all the practical elements to family life. They have a fantastic website with lots of sign posting.
The second is the Family Support Worker Duty Line, this phone line is manned Monday to Friday between 9-4pm. At the end of the phone is a Family Support Worker who is able to talk you through any behavioural concerns that you might be dealing with. They can offer hints and tips on a variety of areas.
Please find the details for both services below: Family Information Service: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/fis Phone: 01926 742274
Being away from my friends has really made me worried when I don’t understand what I am meant to be doing. Making mistakes is something that none of us like to do, but sometimes mistakes are good; they help us understand where we went wrong. Not having a friend next to me to ask, or another adult to talk to is making my tummy feel all wobbly. This got me thinking about some of you at home, maybe you are feeling the same too? Do you find that some of the work your parents and carers are asking you to do, just doesn’t make sense. Are you making mistakes? Are you getting frustrated? Are you getting worried? Well do not panic!! I have found a brilliant way to overcome my worries and I hope it will help some of you too. Here are a few easy steps:
Sometimes we just have a bad day and our brains are too busy thinking about other things to let us understand what we are meant to be learning. We will make mistakes because we are just not able to concentrate. Maybe try again another day, who knows what might happen?!
Big feelings do not last forever! When we are feeling frustrated or worried, remember with a bit of help they can disappear.
Take some time away from what you are trying to achieve. Get some fresh air, take some deep breaths. There is no point getting all worked up, it is fine for you to come back to it later.
Don’t give up. Maybe try coming back to it another day when you are feeling more positive about what you are trying to do. Try, try again. Sometimes it takes a few times to get something right.
Hopefully these tips might help. Please remember that you are not alone and there are lots of people who can help you. Ask an adult or put a note on your classroom blog. We are all in this together and we are more than happy to help.
Below is a YouTube clip about making good mistakes and trying again. Have a watch and see if it helps.
I am not sure about some of you, but not being in school all the time can really make my brain get all confused. Sleep is so important whilst we are going through these uncertain times. Unfortunately sleep is normally the first thing that is disrupted. I have attached a YouTube video of some calming music to help; remember it is not always about sleeping but rest.
The NHS have a great site to help, with lots of good advice. There is a link below for helping children to sleep and relax at bedtime.
Some of our children might find themselves getting frustrated by the big changes and the current situation. Below is a brilliant clip that explains what anger is and will show us how to calm our emotions and just breathe.
Whilst we may not be at school, we are still thinking about you all. We would love to hear how you are getting on and see some of your fantastic work. All of your class teachers are posting daily on their blogs to give you lots of activities to have a go at. If you need us, we are here and happy to help.
If you need to speak to any of your class teachers or us in The Hub please comment on our posts and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Below is a great social story from Sophie’s Stories, www.sophiesstories.co.uk It explains why it is so important for us to stay at home. It shows how we can all be superheros and do our part in helping the ‘big problem’.