24 JULY 2021 | PARENTING | BY JUDE FOULSTON
As many of you know, these last few weeks in KZN, and South Africa, have been pretty rough with the level of unrest that has occurred. Looting of malls, burning of warehouses, road closures, gunshots that sounded like they were in our back yards, skies filled with smoke from burning buildings, and food and fuel scarcity with parents standing in queues for hours and hours in the hope of getting some basics.
Of course we tried our best to limit the exposure to our kids, but it was hard to do this and stress levels were high to say the least and so obviously the kids have picked up and a week later now that things have settled down, the trauma of it all is very real and still very raw.
In response to this, I was privileged to jump on a call with Naomi Holdt, an educational psychologist, speaker and author to chat about what we as parents can do to help our kids and ourselves through this trauma. (You can listen to that 30 minute podcast episode here.)
Here are some useful tips that Naomi shared in that conversation for how we can help our kids process the trauma that we have all experienced:
- Acknowledge where we are at and how we are all feeling - it's ok for our kids to know that we are also stressed, just make sure to let them know how you are dealing with your own stress so that they're not left with the weight of our adult problems).
- Talk, talk, talk.
- Create opportunities for discussions and for questions.
- Have dinner together as a family as often as possible and experience the magic of dinnertime conversations.
- Create as much opportunity for play as possible - children play to process their world.
- Get moving - it's essential to get our bodies back in homeostasis, get the whole family out, even if it's just a walk around the block.
- Make sure you’re all getting enough sleep.
- Focus on whatever connection opportunities you can find - our kids need safe spaces through this - whether that's a bath together, a hot drink together, playing a game, reading a book, going for a walk... Kids need to feel connected with us.