By: Lindsay Poore, LIMHP
Everyone is feeling the burn of this pandemic and our children are trying to find ways to meet their natural needs to grow, learn, and connect. Caregivers have had to navigate the murky waters of risk versus benefit when it comes to school, peer interactions, family gatherings and the list goes on and on. How do I keep my child physically safe, yet still on a healthy developmental path? Parents can develop strategies that play a pivotal role in helping their child connect and stay engaged while finding a bit of joy along the way.
It’s difficult to parent out of a stressed, tired, overwhelmed state, but here we are with no days off in the middle of a pandemic and still needing to care for children. When you are here, you need to stop, take a deep breath and try to connect back to a moment when you felt happiness or joy with your child. This could be a quirky conversation in the car, the day they were born, first giggle, first time they said “I love you” or scored a goal. Really, any memory or moment that when you close your eyes you can re-experience the memory in a joyful way. Working to parent from this place can build a great momentum for building connection with your children.
We are wired for connection. We do this by getting on each other’s level; whether physically or mentally. It’s saying, “hey, I see you, I am here with you, we can be in this together.” It’s eye contact, calm voice, soft touch, relaxed conversation or fluid movement together.
Children get out of balance when in states of hunger or tired, feeling lonely, having had too much screen time, been in remote learning all day and likely stuck with adult only interactions. Parents and children alike need strategies to balance themselves back out. When we can see our children’s needs through a lens of needing connection versus a need for attention we begin to meet their needs in a more fulfilling way. Initially, this strategy can feel unnatural. Just give it time and repetition will bring confidence!
There is so much uncertainty about the world right now and children inevitably pick up on this which can lead to disconnect, worry, and fear. The goal here is to create a calm or calm enough presence we can invite them in for regulation, connection, and direction. If you are in need of a first responder, you want that person to be calm, confident and knowledgeable, right? As parents, you have become that first responder for your child and their needs.
If you are interested in more information about parenting support please feel free to contact us!