During this stressful and cooped-up time, don’t let the pressure of parenting get you down. Try these simple tips and tricks, formulated by Professor Edmund Sonuga-Barke and Professor Andrea Danese, which are backed by science and proven to work with families.
Keeping positive and motivated
- Being a parent is a special and important role. But sometimes it can feel like a thankless task. As a person and a parent you are special and important, and you need to look after yourself.
- Being a parent is perhaps the most important role in society; but sometimes it can feel like a thankless task.
- If things are not going well with your children you can start to worry that you are not a good enough parent.
- It’s easy for this to turn into a negative habit of thinking which makes you lack confidence. This makes it harder to take control which often leads to children playing up more.
- It’s vital that you break out of this negative cycle and take the pressure off yourself. The best way to do this is –
- to recognise that parenting is a challenge, that some children are more difficult to parent than others, and that everyone messes up sometimes –
- To understand that small changes can improve matters with your child – which is what our films are about. Once you have switched into a more realistic cycle of thinking you need to look after yourself so you can keep this new sense of perspective.
- make sure you time out from the hurly-burly of daily life to relax and do things you enjoy and;
- reach out to family or friends – not just to talk about parenting – although it can be helpful if you have a person you trust. Don’t feel embarrassed to talk about the challenges you face. They will probably find it as useful as you will.
How to communicate better with your child
Active listening: It is helpful to explain to your children that it is normal to worry when facing challenges and uncertainty. You can listen to your children’s worries and encourage them to ask questions, check that you have understood them, and try answer questions with factual information / examples. Of course, you may not have all the answers. It is helpful to acknowledge when you do not know the answer, then try to find some answers together, or tell them what is being done by others to find the answer.
Address misinformation: It’s a good idea to limit children’s exposure to news and social media as they might unnecessarily increase anxiety. You can watch the news and social media together, so that you can help them interpret the news with terms they understand, correct misinformation, and discuss unhelpful behaviours they might see in others.
Modelling: Try to discuss with your children when you are calm, to model the behaviour you’d like them to have. Maintaining a predictable routine also helps them feel safe.