This month The Fathering Project is providing fathers with tips help supporting their children’s wellbeing during these testing times, and beyond.
It is natural to feel a range of emotions such as stress, worry, anxiety, boredom, or low mood – especially during a global pandemic. Many people are also feeling distressed by the constant news and overwhelming amount of information about the pandemic.
Kids will express their feelings not only through words, but also through their expressions, actions and behaviours. Sometimes they may act out their feelings in physical, inappropriate or problematic ways. Keep in mind that behind every behaviour is a feeling.
- Schedule emotional check-ins. During times of change and stress it is a good idea to check-in with your kids and see how they are coping each day. You could try having days of the week on the fridge and getting the kids to draw an emoji for how they are feeling. This is a good way to monitor them over time.
- Help kids name feelings. Just the process of identifying and naming an emotion can help the brain to calm down. Learning to identify and express emotions helps kids develop the skills they need to manage their emotions.
- Explore emotions. Read stories or watch videos or TV shows and discuss the characters’ emotions. Talk about what they might be feeling and how they respond to these emotions.
- Practise gratitude. Take time to chat with your kids each day or before bed and encourage them to reflect on what they’re grateful for or what went well today. Doing this regularly has been proven to increase happiness and foster both physical and mental health.
- Make sure kids get enough sleep. Don’t let being at home disrupt sleep patterns. Primary school kids need 10-12 hours of sleep per day. Try to keep clear and consistent routines including no screen time one hour before bed, a ‘wind-down’ routine before bed such as quiet reading or story time before lights out.
If you feel you need more information or links to support for you and your family, you can find this in our new At Home section of The Fathering Project website.
If you or your children are struggling:
Kids can call Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800 or Youth Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 or you can contact your child’s GP.
If you are struggling, call Lifeline on 131 114, or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.