By Dr Elissa Pearson
So many families are juggling work and young children right now and for those of you who are, you’ll know that life has a way of being chaotic and beautiful all at the same time. But life as we knew it was turned on its head earlier this year due to ‘Rona, so we all had to get used to a new way of life, a new normal, for a while. Now, as we emerge from lockdown, here are five things I’ll defs be taking with me.
1 // Slow down – Less is more!
As we begin to gradually move back to something which more closely resembles our old ways of being, it’s an opportunity to reflect on which things are worth returning to and what could be let go. It’s so easy in our fast-paced modern world to find ourselves and/or our children becoming over-scheduled. For our health and emotional wellbeing, we need to squeeze out some of those extra-curriculars to create time for leisure and play! So, give it a go, what can be moved across to your ‘not-do’ list?
2 // It’s ok for kids to be bored sometimes
With playdates, afterschool sports, and birthday parties suspended, many kids were left having ‘nothing to do’. In our house, I saw this ‘boredom’ become the inspiration for countless hours of rich imaginative play and learning. Far from something to be avoided, boredom often provides an impetus for creativity and allows children to tune into their motivations and interests. It’s a good reminder that kids don’t need to be entertained all day long, in fact a healthy dose of boredom can do them good!
3 // Spend more time outside
When it comes to self-care, we are all very familiar with the staples of eating well, exercising, and sleep. But we can further support our physical and mental health by opting outside. When our favourite locations were closed, there was a resurgence of families out enjoying time outdoors together – hiking, riding, exploring, adventuring, and making memories. Spending time in nature helps to reduce stress, enhance mood, and strengthen our immune system.
4 // Connect with nature
If there was a silver lining from spending more time at home, it encouraged us to experience just how much there is to discover on our doorstep. It allowed us to notice and appreciate the colours, the scents, and all the living beings we share our backyards and neighbourhoods with. Time outdoors and especially nature connection enhances our wellbeing and fosters caring for the natural world. As our leisure options broaden again, let’s not forget the value of a daily dose of nearby nature.
5 // Embrace gratitude
One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is to find the joy in simplicity. These past months have inspired many of us to reflect on what really matters and to be grateful for the big and little things that bring happiness and meaning to our lives. In our house, sharing something we are grateful for each day has become a regular part of our dinner conversation. Not only is this a nice way to end the day but embracing gratitude also supports optimism, joy, our emotional wellbeing, and caring for others. So, let’s keep shining a light on all the things we have to be thankful for.