Expert tips on managing lockdown – part 2!
Here is the second instalment in our expert top tips from friends of East Green Childcare. If you missed the first, it’s here https://www.eastgreenchildcare.co.uk/expert-tips-on-managing-lockdown-part-1/ In this one we’ll cover children’s sleep, snacking and how to cope as a new mum or with a new baby in these strange times.
How to help children sleep during the pandemic
All this uncertainty is playing havoc with sleep for adults and children alike. Alison Humphrey-Walters is a sleep coach known as The Sleep Angel. I asked her for advice on forgetting Zoom and concentrating on zzzz.
‘My top tip for staying on top of sleep and reducing anxiety for young children = Fresh Air! Creating a daily habit of taking walks can be incredibly beneficial for the entire family but young children especially feel the benefits of exercise and fresh air the most.
Being outside and in nature is naturally stimulating and will increase feelings of wellbeing as well as ensure they’re tired at nap times or at bedtime depending on the age of the child.
Collect leaves, stones, sticks and safe berries to make pictures and collages to get another activity out of your walk.’
‘Mum, what’s for lunch?’
Anyone else bored of this question that usually comes at about 9.01am, just as my children start lessons?! I asked Alex Thurman of Feed the Brood for some help in snack sorting.
‘One of the biggest issues with home schooling is managing the endless feeding schedule, whatever the age range of your children.
You can improve moods and focus by offering healthy snacks at around 10am and 2pm. And I’m talking about the adults too – every little helps!
Avoid snacking on high fat, high salt & high sugar items by stocking up on a wide variety of quick but healthy options. When it’s approaching snack time, I take a moment to build a quick sharing plate for us all. It includes one thing from each of these three categories – a carb, a protein and a fruit or veg.
Carbs might be from a selection of options like bagels, thins, pittas, wraps, bread, crumpets, oatcakes, savoury crackers or flatbreads. It’s good to buy a mix of seeded, whole grain, cheesy or fruity varieties as a way of ticking off as many nutrients as possible.
Offer proteins like cheese, unsalted nuts or add nut butters to a slice of apple or onto something like an oatcake. What about boiled eggs or smoked fish if you have more adventurous eaters?
And don’t forget that you can offer plenty of fresh and unprocessed foods too. Raw veg sticks of cucumber, pepper, carrot, celery, tomatoes and fruit can all be chopped up and offered alongside some savoury items in no time. Fresh fruits can be expensive out of season, so I love to keep a pot of frozen berries defrosting in the fridge to keep the cost down.’
Help me cope!
Last but not least, we hear from Silke Thistlewood, founder of Raise Up Mums. If you’re a new mum in lockdown or have had a baby in the last year, this has been a very difficult time.
Do what works until it doesn’t and let go of mum guilt while you’re at it.
The main thing that made parenting and motherhood easier for me was letting go the notion of creating bad habits or ‘making a rod for my own back’.
Realising that I could take any parenting advice (be that from books, other mums, relatives or strangers on the street who seem to be very opinionated on all things baby) with a huge pinch of salt, and ignore large parts of it, was such a relief. I could simply do what worked best for baby and me, and what fitted around our already existing family structure despite what the ‘expert’ books claimed. Letting go of the guilt that we didn’t have a perfect nap and nighttime routine by three months and that I wasn’t creating a perfectly stimulating environment every minute of every day was liberating.
By all means, read parenting books and blogs and take on board advice from people who’ve been there and got the commemorative T-shirt, but be selective. Choose what feels right for you and stay aware that nothing is applicable to everyone. It can’t be. We’re all different and your baby certainly has no idea that it’s meant to be doing things a certain way.
You won’t get stuck cuddling your baby to sleep forever. You will, sometime soon, sleep more than two hours at a time and your child will eventually eat solid foods confidently. Things more often than not resolve themselves as you move from one phase to the next without any work on your part, like my three-year-old declaring that she no longer needs nappies at night, or you come up with a new game plan that fits your circumstances better. Remember, you don’t have to do this alone.
Enjoy when you’ve found something that makes your parenting experience easier. And adjust as and when it no longer works for everyone.’
I hope you found that useful and would love to hear your feedback. If there are any other topics that you’d like me to cover or if you’d like any more information on any of the above, let me know!
I’m always here to help with your childcare dilemmas so do give me a call if you need a chat – 01732 838417.