This week I’ve invited Juliet Robinson AKA the Sanity Nanny to give us some tips on keeping your family happy and calm during lockdown. Juliet is based in Cheltenham and provides one-to-one help and support to families of all ages and sizes.
Today I’m going to be talking about how to keep sane while you’ve got your children at home during lockdown. I know lots of parents are finding things a bit tough after weeks and weeks of being inside with their children. So I want to talk about some things you can do to make life a little bit easier.
Fortunately, we’ve had lovely weather, so that is certainly helping. But it’s still quite tricky when your children can’t see their friends and you know that it’s down to you to homeschool them as well as keep them entertained day after day.
I’ll just introduce myself for those of you who don’t already know. My name is Juliet Robinson and I’m otherwise known as a Sanity Nanny. I help parents get their children to sleep. I also do family coaching, helping with routines, child behaviour issues and a whole mix of things.
Make sure everyone is sleeping enough
Sleep is really important for us to maintain our health and well being. And it’s particularly important for children to get their sleep. If your little one isn’t sleeping well or they’re still waking in the night and they’re over 6 months old, then there’s lots of things you can do to help them to sleep longer which I can help with if needs be. If they’re getting the sleep that they need, they’ll be calmer during the day and less clingy.
It’s important that you get the sleep that you need as well, so that you’ve got more patience with your children. I know it’s particularly hard at the moment, when they’re under your feet all day and you just aren’t getting the space to yourself that you need to try and get on with things or have a minute’s peace. So try going to bed a bit earlier. It’s far too easy to get engrossed in something on Netflix because you just need some time to yourself, but you end up burning the candle at both ends. If you’re going to bed later than you should, you aren’t going to get the sleep that you need in order to wake up refreshed. You might need to tweak your own bedtime routine as well as your children’s.
Write an Activities List
The next thing I’m going to talk about is coming up with an activities list. No doubt you’ll have experienced many times where your child has come to you bored or not knowing what to do. If you create an activities list, you can direct them to the list and they can choose whatever they fancy, without the need for you to constantly come up with ideas.
Writing the list itself is a good activity to do with your child. Work together to come up with all the kind of activities that they might like and write them down (or draw them!) on a big piece of paper or notepad. You could even write both an indoor list and an outdoor list. So, if you’re fed up with painting, for example, then come up with some other fun ideas – such as looking for bugs, then going and drawing them, or jobs that you need to get done around the house that they could feel involved with.
This is also good if one partner is normally away but is suddenly having to look after the kids a bit more; they’ll have a reference of ready-made ideas to turn to.
Set Up a Snack Area
We’re all doing it. We’re stuck at home with less to do and we’re eating more because of it! The kids are no longer going out and about and doing all the normal things, so whenever they’re bored you hear ‘I’m hungry.’ But half the time, they’re not hungry, they just want something to do. So, to save you constantly having to go to the cupboard and wonder what to give them, why not set up a snack corner?
Set up a table with drinks and some healthy snacks and let them help themselves. This will stop the constant request for food and it also gives them the choice over when they eat. Obviously you’ll have to set the rules so that they know that once their snacks are gone, they’ll have to wait until the next meal. It’s been hot weather so make sure they have lots of water that they can help themselves to. They’ll be more likely to keep themselves hydrated if they see drinks there available for them.
Stick with a routine
I know routines are proving quite difficult for many people, because your normal routine has gone out of the window. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a routine at all.
Lots of parents are seeing changes in their children’s behaviour and this is likely to be due to the fact that their routine has been disrupted. So if your routine has slipped and your child’s behaviour has changed, then you may need to look at reintroducing a routine or tweaking yours a little bit. The more structure in place, the better it is for your child. By giving them boundaries, they know what to expect at certain times of the day, and it makes it easier for you too. Generally children are better off doing their school work in the morning when they’re more alert and haven’t been up for hours on end, so get them to do whatever they need to do first thing and this will free up the afternoons for fun!
Get some downtime
As a parent, you’ve got lots of things that you’re you’re trying to juggle and I think many parents overlook just how important they are. So the final tip is to make sure you take some time for you. Try and arrange to have some downtime to do the things that are important to you – but, as tempting as it may be, try not to use that time to do housework! Make it something pleasurable, such as taking a bath on your own or going to a room to read a book. Do whatever makes you feel happy and will give you that bit of peace. When everyone is cramped in and getting on top of each other, it’s easy to lose your patience. So that break, without someone constantly saying ‘mummy, mummy’, even if it’s just for 10 minutes, can make all the difference.
I hope that this has given you a few ideas to start implementing. If there’s any other particular challenges that you want to talk about or haven’t really found an answer to elsewhere, please let me know and we can set up a call.
Next month I am opening up a new group called Sanity Space. It’s going to be a really nice community designed especially for mums who work or are at home with babies, toddlers or even older school-aged children and we’ll be discussing things like sleep, behaviour challenges, family relationships, food meal times and fun activities. There will be information sitting there that you can refer to, as well as coaching calls so that you can come along and ask your own particular questions. There won’t be any tie ins so you can just join and see how you get on.
I hope you all have a wonderful day!
If you’d like to get in touch with Juliet, please head on over to her website: Sanity Nanny.