‘Your influence as a parent is powerful. Don’t waste it. Little eyes are watching you’ unknown.
What a powerful quote and a definite reminder of the importance of walking the walk and not just talking the talk! Children absorb so much of the world that is going on around them and take in much more than we give them granted for. Your outlook on the world becomes theirs and your fears, anxieties and worries are so easily transferred to little shoulders.
During this time of lock down children are hearing words like virus, contagious, death, ICU – words that would never before have been part of their vocabulary. Suddenly it’s unsafe for them to visit Granny and Grandpa, to go to school or to visit their friends. Everything that they had taken for granted has been taken away from them. So as a parent it’s really important that you are spending time each day considering your child’s well-being, ensuring they have a positive understanding of what is happening around them and a way to release any fears or anxieties they have.
Giving your children methods of letting go of any fears, worries or troublesome thoughts that might be weighing them down is very important. It’s all about equipping your children with tools to help them deal with overwhelming and big emotions. Mindfulness will help kids shift their attention from these thoughts to the here and now.
Focusing on the senses can be a great way to do this. With younger children, a lovely suggestion would be to run a bath and add some lavender drops. Focus on the warmth of the water, the feel of the bubbles on our fingers, the water on our toes, the smell of the lavender, the sound of the splashes… concentrating on the here and now.
For older children a sensory activity is equally as effective. Name five things you can see, hear, feel and smell in the sitting room right now! How do we feel after we have found all those things? Are our minds more relaxed?
As a start to this process, and to begin introducing it in an easy way, a good idea would be to simply make space every evening to check in with your child and see how they are feeling. The importance here is your time and undivided attention. Put your phone down and turn off the tv. Ask questions and really listen to the answers – show them that you’re interested in what they have to say. Teach them that all feelings are ok. Don’t make light of anything your child shares with you and don’t dismiss anything as silly. Listen, comfort and reassure and be a place where your child feels safe to open up fully. Let them feel and share their thoughts without fear of judgement at a young age and they will always trust you with them as they grow.