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Supporting yourself and your children during this difficult time

Mother working on laptop with child on her knee

We know many of our learners have children, and with many schools shut it’s a challenging time to juggle responsibilities.

To help regain some control, however, we list some ways you can find comfort with your children right now.

Acknowledge their feelings

It’s important to make sure your children know their feelings are valid. Highlight to them that you’re responding to their concerns, and tell them how you’re feeling (where appropriate).

Be honest

With many of us adapting our daily routine to current circumstances, it may feel confusing to your children if you pretend that everything is fine. Explaining things clearly and giving out realistic expectations can help.

Try “This is a sickness, a bit like the flu, some people may get it, including some of our family. We are focusing on ways to get through this time and help as many people as we can to stay well, which is why we have to stay inside.”

Be open about the need to adapt

Talk openly about the changes and disruptions to daily life and assure them that things will start up again soon. Perhaps explore ways that you can do versions of the things they usually do at school, but at home.

Structure and positive reinforcement

Tell them regularly that you love them, and this will never change, although some other things will change for a while. Aim to create a routine and have some structured time throughout the day, such as keeping bedtime and mealtime routines fairly consistent.

Help them to stay in touch with friends and other members of the family, to help reassure them that there are many people who care about them.

Remind them that you are here whenever they need anything, and that you will try and answer any questions they have.

Even if you need to go out to work during this time, remind them that you are thinking of them when you’re apart.

Fun time is essential

Making time for fun & creativity is just as important as ever and will help them to use up any anxious energy they may have. It’s also a good distraction and may help you together as a family to relax.

Let them lead the way in what they would like to do at times.

Put everything into context

Find time to explore situations through history - where difficult things have happened people have come together to work things out.

Remind them that there are many Doctors and scientists who are working hard to come up with solutions. A great example of an example TV programme is Horrible Histories, which is popular with many children and provides some interesting perspectives.

All is calm, all is quiet

Set some time during the day to just be with your children and enjoy their presence. Let them talk if they want to, but enjoying some peaceful time can soothe them and help you both to feel calm.

Watch a favourite TV programme, read a book, listen to music - whatever calms and soothes.

What are you thankful for and how can we be kind today?

Think of ways to orient them to what they’re grateful for so you can gently remind them that although things are difficult right now, there are some good things to focus on.

Help them to focus on all the acts of kindness that are going on around them and how they can be kind.

And finally, be kind to yourself

Find ways to keep yourself as calm and centred as you can be. Remember: children are like sponges - which means they’re not only soaking up the events around them, but they’ll also be focusing on the way you’re responding to what’s happening.

Explore mindfulness, or think about ways to tap into your positive psychology and resilience. Also, don’t forget to reach out to your own support network.

Remember, you know the children you care for better than anyone. So, adapt these suggestions in ways that you think they will help best.

This blog is a joint collaboration between Kaplan and CABA. CABA is the charity that supports the wellbeing of the chartered accountant community. They provide lifelong support to ACA students, past and present ICAEW members, and their close families across the globe.

For more information on how CABA can support you at this time visit caba.org.uk/coronavirus.

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