February 8, 2021
The Family Formula for Surviving Lockdown
We are well into the third period of lockdown and we are all navigating our way through the challenges of balancing different demands including work, family, home learning and parenting. Have you found a sustainable model for you and your family? If you’re struggling to keep up with the many pressures, know that you are not the only one. If there was a formula to follow to see us through the rest of this time at home, we believe it would be the following Family Formula:
Communication + Compassion + Flexibility + Humour = Getting through
We know the most successful teams are those who communicate effectively. Remember to keep talking to those you’re with, whether that’s your partner, your children or wider family members. Saying how we feel and what we need becomes even more important when living under stressful times. We are not mind readers. Using ‘I statements’ can help keep communication positive and clear when we get drawn into a big emotion. Communication outside of our family bubble is also imperative. Try to carve out time to talk, share and connect with friends, this time away from those we live with can help to re-energise us.
Compassion is what will get us through this extraordinary situation. Compassion for each other but also importantly, compassion for ourselves and the enormity of what we are being asked to do. Rather than spending the rest of lockdown worrying whether you’re doing enough or feeling guilty about how much learning your children are doing at home, try to show compassion for how well you and your family are doing. Taking moments to celebrate and recognise the successes can help keep spirits up. We teach our children that their best is always good enough so maybe it’s time to heed this advice.
Everyone’s situation and demands are different, and there certainly is not a structure or routine that will suit all for how to live, learn and work at home together. Timetables and routines can be helpful to provide stability but let us also be ready to remain flexible. On days when it just is not working, break away from the timetable and do something different. On days when they are having a meltdown, have a kitchen disco. On days when you need to calm the household, use the power of water (drink it, play in it, walk in the rain, early day time bath). Be ready to be flexible and your children will learn from you modelling this too.
Retaining our sense of humour is a mark of true resilience. Finding opportunities to laugh with your family and connect through humour can help keep things balanced. Laughter is a release; it helps us physically and mentally. Our children are watching how we as adults respond to this ‘pandemic’, what better opportunity is there to teach them and model our resiliency levels through remaining balanced, positive, and mindful.
If only it was as easy as following a family formula to get through lockdown. However, you and your family are managing, you’re doing a fantastic job. Hold in mind the 4 ideas above and remember although we do not yet have a clear finish date, the end is in sight.
Louise’s recent IGTV on this topic can be found here.
This article was written by Louise Treherne, Director of Character Education at Role Models. Louise has a degree in Psychology, 12 years experience as a teacher and 5 years as a Senior Deputy Head at a London Prep school. She now works as a Professional Coach and Educational Consultant.