Managing children’s disappointment when they have to stay home

With the sudden changes to children’s routines there is, understandably, a great deal of disappointment, frustration and anxiety being caused to a great number of children.

Younger children struggle with not having planned and considered goodbyes to manage transitions, older children are missing out on planned trips and events, whilst those with GCSEs and A-Levels are frustrated and confused by the sudden changes to their exams. Those students who had worked tirelessly feel short-changed that they did not get an opportunity to show their work, those who took longer to warm up and were just hitting their stride to work are scared that they will be assessed on the work that is not a true picture of their capabilities.

Regardless of which boat they sit in, the changes and tsunami of emotions that they are experiencing, and will experience over coming weeks is understandable. Without life experience, the resilience to manage sudden disappointment or the comprehension of why their lives are having to be altered so rapidly wouldn’t we all feel the same way? (In fact, many adults are feeling much the same)

So how can we help them?

  1. Celebrate their achievements to date – whilst we can’t go out and party, we can celebrate our children’s hard work and determination to date. Tell them the things that you are proud of that they achieved and encourage them to write down the things that they are proud that they accomplished. You might plan a special meal to celebrate their success. If the situation continues, at the end of the term, for young children plan a mini graduation and for older children plan something special to recognise the next transition.
  2. Plan things to do – Children will no doubt have many things that they ‘want’ to do and will not be able to over coming weeks. Find an empty jar, tin or box and cut up pieces of paper and when they think of something encourage them to write it and put it in the box for later. This validates that their ideas are good, and sets an expectation that we will make plans for later and that this will not be forever.
  3. Create optimism for the future – Remaining optimistic and positive will allow the time to move more quickly and moods to lift. Create a bucket list sheet with children of things that they want to do ‘in the future, perhaps 2021 onwards). On sheets of paper or card (A3 sized is great) find old magazines or newspapers and print images off the internet to create a picture of their dreams and aspirations. This can be an ongoing project and is great for parents to complete as well to create an image of what life will look like. Encourage children to think of experiences, skills they want to learn and places they would like to visit rather than toys/material objects to encourage them to expand their ideas.

If you need help with some structure, join my FREE parent mental health group and access the free relaxation sessions on offer for families. (link here)

Stay home, stay safe

Nicky x


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