This school break will likely be the quietest one yet for Queenslanders as we stay home amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s going to be a tough one for us parents who are juggling our kids’ education, entertainment, emotions, exercise, mental health, and often our own work, responsibilities, hobbies, or maybe even co-parenting. So, it’s more important than ever to be kind and stay connected.
Usually, finding ways to feel connected or be kind in our communities would take place in the day-to-day. Even if it’s just a wave to another parent, watching the kids play sport, or visiting the park and seeing other families out and about. The little smiles, waves, or acts of kindness that take place in our every-day are small boosts to our social wellbeing. So, now that we’re staying home to keep ourselves and our fellow Queenslanders safe, what are the new ways we keep connected and kind?
First, take some time to look for animals outside your window each day. Observe the birds flying overhead, the possums you hear outside your window at night, and even the ants busy at work. Animals are a nice reminder to live in the moment, and that there is still beauty all around us.
Our kids might also want to keep in touch with school mates over the phone or the internet. Making a schedule will help our kids to know that they can look forward to their next chat, and feel some consistency throughout their days at home.
And as parents we’ve got to make time to chat with our own mates too! Try to schedule as much time checking in with your own networks as your kids are. Our moods can impact our kids so it’s important we take time for us!
Most importantly, it’s time like these we must keep a look out for our neighbours. Giving your neighbours a wave each day, keeping an eye on how they’re going, leaving a note in their mailbox to let them know we care, or even popping a sign up in our front windows to send our community a message of strength, will help spread kindness.
For those of us who don’t have a lot of mates at this point in our life, or who don’t know many people all that well yet, simple and small connections are key. Hop online and leave some words of encouragement, send a friendly email to a teacher or our #healthcareheroes to cheer them on, or make a quick call. It’s also a great time to join online community groups. Sometimes the best way to feel less alone is to find ways to share kindness throughout our community. To put our focus outward to get us out of a slump and bring some energy and purpose to our days.
Really taking time to listen to our kids is another way to feel connected. Hearing what they have to say about current affairs, what their hopes are for the future, and how they want to keep themselves healthy and happy during this time will remind our kids that we care about their views, are inspired by them, and that they still have a voice during all these big life changes.
And we have to remember – it’s normal to feel a bit tense if you’ve been at home for a long time. When the whole family is cramped up in a small space, things can escalate easily. So, it’s more important than ever to reach out when we need support, and check-in other parents and families to make sure they’re okay. There are also hotlines to call, like Parentline, with people on the other end who are happy to chat about how us parents are going. There’s DV Connect at 1800 811 811, a 24 hour hotline for anyone affected by domestic and family violence. There’s also the Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349 for vulnerable Queenslanders during the corona virus pandemic. You can call 13 HEALTH (43 25 84) if you’re feeling unwell. There’s Lifeline, Headspace, Kidshelpline, MensLine, and so many more services waiting to lend a hand and talk things through.
Parenting is different each day. There will times this month when we feel great, and when we don’t. There will be times when we won’t have the energy to make the day special, and that’s okay too. Its times like these that we can focus on not just being kind to our QLD community, but being kind to ourselves too. Chip away at tiny tasks if you can. Rest if you need to. And remember, the difficult time us parents are having keeping our kids at home, entertained, and calm, will save lives. So, even if some days we find ourselves in a slump, we should treat ourselves like heroes. Because Queensland parents – we are heroes. Let’s be proud of the hard work we’re doing to keep our fellow Queenslanders safe.