This Weeks Podcast: Parenting During Lockdown

So proud to tell you that we are back with another great episode of our podcast series.

Today, we are going to focus on parenting during lockdown. In this episode, our host Caroline Harroe, the CEO of Harmless, and our special guest Rani will be discussing personal experiences of parenting during lockdown. 

We’re really proud of the conversations that we are having.‪

Why not listen today?

Creative Games for Little Ones in Lockdown

Lock down can be tough with working from home and looking after the little ones! Especially when they’re at that age where you take your eye off them for 2 seconds and they’ve trying to eat the suncream! If you’re running out of ideas of how to entertain the little ones and keep their brains active here are some creative ideas that don’t break the bank!

Making Pom Poms

Pom-poms add a fun pop of colour and texture to knitting projects and other fun crafts. They’re easy to make and you don’t need any special tools or supplies and can be a great creative project for the kids!

What You’ll Need

  • Cardboard
  • Circular items to trace (small glass, lids, etc.)
  • Pen
  • Scissors
  • Yarn

Instructions

Make Cardboard Pom-Pom Templates
Use the lids and other round items to trace circles onto the cardboard. Trace a larger circle with a smaller circle inside. The larger circle determines the diameter of your finished pom-pom. By making a few sizes of templates, you can make several sizes of pom-poms.

Cut Out the Circles
Cut out around the larger circles. (Don’t use your good sewing scissors for this!) Next, cut a slit to get to the center circle and cut away the center. You may want to widen the slit a tiny amount, to make it easier to pass yarn through.

Start Wrapping Yarn Around the Template
Begin wrapping yarn around the cardboard ring. Hold the end of the yarn in place while you wrap over the end, which secures it. Work your way around the entire ring, filling in all the gaps. Tip You can work the wrapping near the slit in the ring, but make sure it doesn’t get so close that it might slip off the ends of the cardboard.

Wrap the Yarn Until the Ring Is Full
Wrap the cardboard ring until it is full and then wrap it some more. To create a full and round pom-pom, you should wrap the yarn so the ring is very plump and the center circle is nearly filled in. If you want a loose and floppy pom-pom, you can stop wrapping sooner.

Cut Around the Edge of the Ring
Trim the wrapping yarn, then start snipping through the wrapped yarn all along the edge of the ring. Be sure to cut through every strand of yarn. Sharp scissors with a small point make this part easier. As you cut the yarn, be careful not to let the cut pieces push to one side or come out through the opening.

Tie the Cut Yarn Pieces Together
When all the edges are snipped, cut a length of yarn and tie it around the middle of the pom-pom, close to the cardboard ring. Tie the yarn once, then wrap the ends around to the other side and tie a double knot. Pull the yarn as tight as you can, without breaking the yarn. Leave the ends long. Remove the cardboard template.

Shape the Pom-Pom
At this point, your pom-pom probably looks a little odd and misshapen. To fix this, trim the yarn to even out the shape. It’s a bit like giving the pom-pom a haircut! Hold onto the long yarn ties and work all around the pom-pom. Keep turning it as you trim so it doesn’t end up lopsided.

Fluff the Pom-Pom and Finish Trimming
When the pom-pom looks like it’s almost done, gently roll it in your hands. This fluffs the pom-pom and reveals any areas that may need a little more trimming. Trim and repeat as needed.
Use the long yarn ties to attach your pom-pom to your project. (Sourced from Mollie Johanson)

Cardboard Boxes

There are so many things you can make a cardboard box into! All you need is a cardboard box and some paint / pens or crayons and let your imagination do the rest! Here are some of our favourite ideas!   

Some other ideas are:

  • Bake a Cake
  • Hide and Seek
  • Make your own playdough at home (Check this link to see how https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAIAm6BF0fs)
  • Icecubes with tiny toys in
  • Watching and feeding the birds in the garden
  • Drawing, painting, making potato prints or art with pasta
  • Going for a walk and seeing what insect you can find
  • Growing flowers and vegetables in the garden
  • Making a den with old sheets and cushions
  • Making puppets from socks
  • Making a playlist together of your favourite songs
  • Meditation (here is one specially for the little ones – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWOHcGF1Tmc)
  • Crepe paper obstacle course
  • Hammabeads
  • Painting Pebbles
  • Painting a rainbow for the NHS

Aja,

Specialist Trainer

Lockdown Family Mural

I studied Art Therapy in my undergraduate degree and I am now a therapist. It seem’s so natural for me to use art as therapy with my children. It’s natural for them to turn to creativity as a form of self soothing too. I’ve walked into their rooms so many times during lockdown to find them drawing and painting. This makes me so happy. We’re missing travelling so much at the moment, we decided to paint a mural of all out favourite holiday destinations. It has been a wonderful distraction and escape into a colourful adventure of our own making.

Rani,
Specialist Therapist

‘Less of the Mad’

Our new podcast series will take a refreshing look at mental health by gently exploring the topics with a range of professionals and more importantly, those with lived experience.

Sharing experiences is a powerful agent to challenge stigma, change attitudes and to increase awareness of mental health.

So proud to tell you that the next episode of our podcast will be released this week looking at the challenges of parenting during lockdown.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to listen to our series of podcasts just yet, you can catch up on our first episode discussing perinatal mental health issues and our second episode exploring one individuals experiences of psychosis.

Catch it here: https://anchor.fm/ash-ruan-botes

Tree House: Its been a dream of yours since you were a kid.

As a kid, there’s nothing more magical than a tree house. There is nothing more terrifying as a parent, however, than the prospect of building one. 

Together Father and Son have followed up on their dreams by using this time in lockdown to build their very own three-story tree house in their back garden.

AJ now has found a sanctuary where he can feel peaceful and has been working very hard to help his dad on this project.

Having your children help you to make your tree house will build memories that can last forever. It will also build skills in your children as well as teaching them something new.

Your whole family will enjoy spending time together making it as well as the many hours of play that it will offer for years to come.

What projects have you and your families been working on together during Lockdown?

Creativity and parenting

Collective creativity has been flourishing locally.

The outside fencing of the primary school has been transformed into a lovely sea of colour.

We have been making pom poms and rainbows at home to add to the collection (when on our daily exercise walk!).  

Symbolising hope and connectedness which is much needed at the moment. Beautiful in its simplicity.

Rachel,

Suicide Bereavement Support Officer

Welcome to Parenting in Lockdown week

This week’s theme is Parenting During Lockdown. Many of us are at home with babies, toddlers, children and/or teenagers. We might have to balance work commitments and caring responsibilities and/or supporting our children’s education. Some of us may be shielding or vulnerable. Some of us are key workers who are facing the need to go to work and leave children at home with partners or childcare hubs.

Whatever our circumstances, this period may be tough on our mental health and our relationships. Whilst there may be challenges with parenting in lockdown around routines, missing social contact, staying in and behaviour. There are also exciting opportunities to get to know our children better, to learn new things together and to be together as a family.  

You deserve kindness

On the theme of kindness we sometimes forget that the most important person to be kind to is ourselves. I love this poem by Ms Moem because it suggests that the kinder we are to ourselves, the more empathy we gain for others and in turn, the more kindness we have to share.

Helen,

Suicide Bereavement Support Officer

You Deserve Kindness | Poem

You deserve kindness. I mean it. It’s true.
Yes, you deserve kindness, from me, and from you.
Be kind to yourself when you see your reflection.
There’s only one you, and no such thing as perfection.

Beware the inner critic who lives in your mind
and break free from its prison that holds you confined.
It might tell you you’re ugly, or stupid, or worse
but frankly, its outlook is simply perverse.

So be kind to yourself, and to others around;
Lift yourself up instead of putting yourself down.
You’re magnificent as you are, if you don’t know it yet
and you do deserve kindness. Please don’t ever forget.

You Deserve Kindness is a short poem by Ms Moem. ©

Children and young people’s stress

The Children’s Commissioner for England conducted a survey, exploring the stressors that children and young people experience. They asked just under 2,000 8-17-year-olds about stress, and here is how they responded:

  • 66% said that they felt most stress towards homework and exams. Coincidentally, this research was conducted at the same time as the coronavirus outbreak, and schools were beginning to close. This therefore, could have heightened the stress that children felt towards these things, due to the uncertainty surrounding their education and exams.
  • 39% said that they felt most stress towards worrying about what other people think of them.
  • 25% said that they felt most stress about bullying.
  • 21% said that they feel stressed about money and their parents’ jobs. With many jobs being affected by COVID-19, these issues may now be even more prominent for children. Additionally, as many people are now working from home, these jobs are being brought into children’s homes, potentially increasing their exposure to job-related stress.
  • Many children also mentioned that not being listened to, is a main cause of stress. Since this research has been conducted, there are many discussions about schools re-opening as part of the lift of lockdown, so it is important for children’s thoughts and opinions about this to be heard, as well as those of teachers, parents, and politicians.

This research has highlighted just a few issues that children and young people are dealing with at the moment. If you would like to read the whole article, it can be found via this link: https://www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/2020/05/20/children-and-stress-whats-worrying-them-most/

And finally, here are some services which may help with some of the stressors mentioned:

  • Samaritans: 24/7 listening support for anyone of all ages. Call 116 123, or email jo@samaritans.org
  • Childline: Childline counsellors can be spoken to about anything on the phone or online, between 9am-midnight. This service is for anyone under the age of 19. https://www.childline.org.uk
  • Exam Stress information from Young Minds:

https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/feelings-and-symptoms/exam-stress/

https://youngminds.org.uk/blog/exam-self-care/

And if stress levels are getting to be too much, resulting in feeling suicidal, please know that the Tomorrow Project is here for you. 0115 880 0282 / crisis@tomorrowproject.org.uk

Laura