We know what to do this summer
What do you do during a post pandemic summer? Although there is promise that all restrictions will be removed from the UK, the reality is that the pandemic will be far from over and the summer, for many children, will be the time children begin to consider the emotional impact, and process the emotional toll of the pandemic.
Many families will be in a different financial position to last summer and some will have a different design altogether. Our priorities, having been locked down for over a year while also look different and despite relaxed UK restrictions, our options will also be narrower. So with all that in mind, we can imagine that many of you are asking, 'what should we do this summer?'
Here are some top tips from Individed.
1. Restore Relationships
Although families have probably spent more time together than ever before, our relationships may not have the same qualities as they once did. We may have spent much of our time together distracted; our children may have become exposed to worries and concerns they would have previously been protected from. We may have shared our frustrations and our boredom rather than adventure and enjoyment and it is likely that we would have moaned more than we laughed. This summer is the time to restore our relationships to their pre covid quality.
2. Make memories
This summer is not the time to avoid the impact of the pandemic but instead it is the time to process it; to understand what it has meant to us, how it will impact our emotions and how that may shape our thoughts and behaviours both now and in the future. Processing our thoughts so that they become well understood, emotionally resilient memories may sound complicated but it can be easy as making time capsules, scrap books, writing letters and making emotion focused art. There are lots of worksheets available on our website that will support post pandemic emotions, too.
3. Be aware of emotions
As the world begins to reopen and we, as parents, book outings and activities for our children, it's important that we continually talk about our feelings and the emotional impact of doing all that was normal in a new way. How does it feel going to a restaurant or a theme park? Do your children feel safe going on public transport? Do they find a trip to the cinema exciting or would they really feel far more comfortable watching a film at home? It's important to be aware that what was once fun for your children may have become really worrying for them. Help them share this with you by asking questions, providing reassurance and opportunities for choice. Keep dialogue open and try to make it haitual by adding it to your daily routine and try to offer a number of channels for communication so your child can use the one that most suits their need at any given time.
4. Remember all we've learnt
Lockdown has given many of us the opportunity to reevaluate our priorities and for many of us, has given us the chance to shift our focus from one of materialism and consumerism to a simpler, relational approach to life. We have found joy in nature. We have been able to celebrate simple pleasures and in a world that had to stay apart, we realised the life affirming importance of being 'together' with the individuals we love and cherish. As shops reopen, as we find ourselves able to become consumers once again, it is really important that we don't forget all we've learnt. It will be valuable to find a balance, to focus on what we were most needed and most missed during lockdown and reinforce the ways in which we survived, adapted and thrived without all the things that we formerly believed were essential to our day to day survival.
5. Value vulnerability
It's hard, as a parent, to admit that we might not have all the answers and might not be able to always make things better. It can be really challenging to just listen to your children's problems and sit with their discomfort rather than listening to solve and immediately offer a solution. In our post pandemic response, vulnerability is something to be valued. It is something we must recognise as a strength and practice it both as adults and with our children. It will be the string that continues to connect us and our biggest opportunity to understand and support emotional health.
In planning your summer activities, remember to give your children a voice, to reset your understanding of what they might enjoy and try to remain detached from your own wants to understand what will really help your children have a safe, happy and positively memorable summer.