Sandra and I sat together in Boyle, Co Roscommon, on Tuesday the 10th March filling our notebooks and minds with plans, goals and ideas to bring to your little people for the up coming term. Fast forward 48 hours later and we were cancelling classes.
We closed our classes on March 12th, the same day as the schools closed, and here we are 23 weeks later holding our breath that there are no further lock downs announced. We want to fly full steam ahead into September!
Strange as it has been for us though, we can’t stop thinking about the effect this has had on our little people. We were blessed to see so many faces attend summer camps and were so delighted to be able to offer a little relief from the isolation they’ve experienced, but for many kids the energy levels were lower than usual and the concentration spans shorter but can we blame them?! After all, we’ve all felt more than just a little lethargic a few over the last few months ourselves! The restrictions our kids have experienced have undoubtedly disturbed their routines, their eating patterns, their bedtimes and their opportunities to exercise. This doesn’t even begin to mention how much they’ve missed their little friends. There is no denying the toll this will have taken on them.
As all eyes are on returning to school, it is so important that we, as adults, are mindful of the anxieties that may be looming in their minds. Over the next few weeks, talk to your child about how they feel about returning to normality and give them space to talk about any fears they have. Start working on a routine – kids need routine to thrive! Simple ways to do this include keeping bedtime and rising times the same each day, and limit screen time before bed, removing screens from the bedroom completely. Be mindful about what your children are eating – reduce the sugar intake, cut out unnecessary snacking, increase water intake and focus on having meal times at the table, as a family.
We all know the saying ‘We need to spend energy to create energy’ and the same applies to children. To help prepare them for being active all day long, start increasing the amount of physical activity they are getting daily. Go for walks, play ball, buy a hoola hoop, learn some TikTok dances! There are lots of ways to make sure your child is moving for at least 60 mins per day.
Socially, many children will be very nervous about seeing friends and mixing again so it is a good idea to consider arranging a few play dates. Remind children of how much fun it is to see their friends and to play with each other.
The lock down has been tiring on us all, but as adults we can make sense of it. We need to make sense of it for the little people in our lives and guide them out of it in as positive a way as possible.