Lock-down - what is it like from a child's perspective?
Try standing in your child's shoes
Do you know how it feels when someone really gets us? Really understands how life feels? Even if we started off in conflict with them, if the other person shows empathy and understanding, it is such a relief and so often our barriers come down and we look for solutions or compromise. Kids are the same. It is so helpful to stand in their shoes, imagine how they feel and articulate that to them.
So right now during lock down how are kids feeling? Don’t bother to ask them as they won’t be able to tell you but let’s just imagine what it is like for a child at the moment.
Routines are all different. They were used to going to school and being stimulated outside the house.
They had their friendships and the value of play with others.
They had time away from us.
They had freedom and variety in their lives.
We had other aspects to our lives - work in the workplace, socialising with our friends, stimulating activities and we didn’t have the burden of keeping kids busy, physical isolation, endless meal preparation, constant cleaning up so maybe we were more fun to be around?
So what kind of unwanted behaviour might these changes trigger?
- Tantrums which seem to be ‘over nothing’, but will always have a cause
- Refusal to cooperate
- Shouting at us
- Retreating into their shells and ‘sulking’ (this is what we see but it is a message about how they are feeling)
- Rude or demanding tone of voice
- Asking endlessly for things they can’t have or do..
Do these sound familiar?
Standing in their shoes
This means really thinking about what life is like for your child with all the changes our kids have experienced and the impact that has on them – emotionally, mentally and physically.
In many ways they might be happier at the moment - they’ve got more of you and life is a really slow pace which can suit them a lot - but they will also be missing their old life even if they don’t say so.
So simply voice that to them in different ways:
‘It is hard for you to always be at home’
‘You probably miss your friends from school’
‘You can’t go to the playground anymore and you really miss that’
‘You haven’t seen auntie Jo or Grandma for so long and they give such lovely hugs'
‘When you shout at me like that it tells me you are really upset about something and I’m not sure what it is. Perhaps you just feel frustrated by being inside so much’
Don’t explain or justify. Just empathise and you will be amazed by how that can lower their barriers and get them on side. Don’t expect the effect to be immediate but it does sink in
Let me know what you think about this.