I had just been thinking how my books (the ones that deal with emotions which is all of them!) almost need a supplement addressing the current situation, when I received an email from a seven year old girl and her mum. Etta (7) told me exactly what I had been thinking: that it was a bit disappointing that my worry book did not have any part of it dedicated to the potential concerns of the lockdown. And then she told me how she had created the necessary pages and emailed them to me. Etta is an emotional genius. I particularly liked her advice to ‘enjoy the time off school, it won’t happen again.’ Soothing words for many children I would think.
Now obviously I am a fan of the idea that emotions need expressing. I also think that the slight ‘war spirit’ essence of the current situation makes us a bit stoical (so we end up holding our metaphorical emotional breath!). This situation is weird, disturbing and unprecedented and even when I can distract myself from the situation, it is still either a background unsettledness bubbling away or occasionally (if I am doing a good job of distracting myself) a sudden and stark shock as I remember, with disbelief, where we are again.
There are different emotional components to this - like many situations. There are the feelings evoked by the actual lockdown and all that that entails, the anxiety about the actual virus and also the uncomfortableness caused by the uncertainty of the future - as we cannot know how this will ultimately unfold. A friend of mine suggested we call these feelings coronoia! It might help if it had a name.
Your child is bound to be having an emotional response to this situation of some kind and they could be responding to something you haven’t realised they have picked up. I believe it is important find ways of expressing these emotions so you can support your child to find resourceful ways of dealing with them. It can be simply about asking your child what they are thinking and feeling. It could also be;
- about getting your child (like Etta) to draw life in lockdown (and maybe give survival tips or pros and cons),
- it could be a chat while out exercising considering how life is different and what we like and don’t like,
- it could be prompted by you saying how you are feeling or it could be a list of emotions from which they could chose that expresses how they feel and possibly saying what has triggered that emotion – if they can.
I guess this is just another prompt to remind everyone to remember emotions have a significant impact on us and in a situation like this, they might need a little more focus. Ultimately by acknowledging and processing the emotions of lockdown, you and your child are more likely to arrive at a place of gentle acceptance and some calm. Which links to further consoling advice that Etta had to give – ‘when you are in lockdown just remember it won’t last forever.’