As the temperature continues to drop and the rain keeps on pouring down, the news many of us hoped wouldn’t come, did. We are going into a second national lockdown. As with our first ride on the Coronacoaster, this period has affected some of us more than others but we each have our own mountains to climb. Many businesses will have to shut again causing devastation to livelihoods, vulnerable members of our communities will have to continue to shield and some of us will be worrying about loved ones or impending hospital appointments/treatments. There are of course, collectives too. We are all feeling weary, worried, worn out. This has been going on for months, causing trauma in our lives, isolating us from our communities and cutting us off from things that nurture us, time with family and friends. Us adapting to our online lives has shown how adaptable and resilient we are as people but it isn’t the same and has come at a cost – we are all exhausted.
The proverbial tribe that should be such an integral part of raising children isn’t there so parents are doing it alone, without extended networks to lean on. Raising children, running households, working from home, cooking meal after meal after meal and for those having to isolate, the pressures of homeschooling too. For many parents, managing all of this as well as broken sleep, it is a step too far. However, the lighthouse as we try to navigate these rather choppy waters is that it is all fixable.
An advantage of children’s classes being put on hold is it is a great time to put a loose routine in place. For those of you who have children who still need to nap, working roughly towards the same timings each day will help their body clocks signal when it is time to sleep. Having a child who naps at home and in a pushchair is also the most manageable long term solution for many families.
Historically, a typical scenario was one parent was working hard and the other parent was parenting equally hard all day but these scenarios are both tiring and can be isolating. Try to draw on each other for support and take advantage of the fact that you are both around. With no commute to factor into your days, you can both be on hand at the end of the day to help with bath and bedtime when energy levels are low.
During the days, take it in turn to get out of the house and exercise or just go for a walk around the block and have a much needed natter to a friend.
With our worlds feeling so out of control, the thing we can control (to an extent) is our environments. Try to tidy up at the end of the day (shove those toys into a basket!), it will make you feel calmer if you aren’t surrounded by mess and less like the walls are closing in on you. Once the kids are in bed, light some candles and breathe. Spending the evening together will help you to stay feeling connected, catching up over a meal or just unwinding on the sofa.
Covid has had a huge impact on our mental health and has undoubtedly affected our children’s moods and wellbeing too so they will probably need more reassurance during the day. It is important to remember that our children look to us for guidance so when they are navigating those big feelings, a calm response always helps. The familiarity of a consistent bedtime routine will remind them that although some things may have changed at home, the last part of their days hasn’t. For those of you with older children, some may start to show delaying tactics at bedtime so preempting those but keeping the bedtime process moving forwards is key.
The function of sleep is restorative and at such a highly stressful time in our lives, climbing into bed and relaxing into sleep is imperative for our mental well being. Our immune system repair also happens whilst we sleep and in the midst of a global pandemic, there really couldn’t be a more important time to protect this.
Change can be a daunting prospect for us all but apart from our knowledge and experience, the biggest advantage of working with us is the support we will give you whilst we make those changes. Try to remember, any sleep programme should be a short term process and the long term gain to your whole family will always make it worthwhile.