Child Behavioural Expert Lauren the Nanny Shares her Tips for Parents Returning to Life After Lockdown
With the lockdown roadmap in full flow and restrictions set to ease in the UK, what should be a cause for celebration seems to be filling many mums across the country with fear and anxiety. From baby sensory classes over Zoom to meeting grandparents over Facetime, many new mums worry about the impact the lack of social interaction may have had on their little ones.
We spoke to child behavioural expert Lauren, also known as Lauren the Nanny, for some top tips how to tackle a return to normality, in a time when our experiences have been anything but!
‘Having a daughter who’s spent pretty much most of her life in lockdown, this subject is very close to my heart. I’ve put together a few pointers that I’ve put into practise both as a mum and in my work as a nanny, to help make this transition a little bit easier.’
Prepare for Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety is very common in a child’s development and normally starts somewhere between 8 - 14 months. Due to lockdown this may start earlier and continue later, as well as affecting other members of the household. It’s common for new babies to get used to the same parent comforting them and start to display a preference. Once that person isn’t around, they could start to show separation anxiety which can be an upsetting experience for parents and siblings alike. To help ease these feelings, I’d recommend having a set routine to be carried out by each parent as well as doing as many video calls with other family members as possible. This helps them to get used to other faces which they can start to recognise as we're able to interact more.
Encourage Language Acquisition
With baby and toddler classes limited to online or not operating at all, our little ones haven’t been able to socialise with other children or caregivers. We can re-enforce language at home by talking through everything we do as adults to our children. It might seem silly, but speaking through everything we do encourages learning new vocabulary as well as how to use it in the right context. There comes a point where speaking to our babies in ‘baby babble’ isn’t constructive, so the sooner you can start speaking in full sentences the better.
Focus on the Positives
I know it’s hard not to focus on everything we’ve missed out on; lost parental leave, pressures of home school, missed time with loved ones, but there are so many positives to focus on:
- We've spent more time with our children than ever.
- Our children have had the luxury of having both parents at home. This is so important for new parents as quality time with both can be so rare within the first year.
- We’ve been forced to slow down and enjoy small moments.
- We’ve got more creative. Whether that's through cooking or play, being allowed the time to experiment will have been so beneficial for so many families.
Embrace with PPE with a Smile
As alien to us as it might seem, PPE is very much a part of our everyday lives now, and from my experience, babies don’t seem to be as phased by it as we think. Children are so malleable and I’ve found that babies and children can see your smile behind your mask! It’s almost like they can read your eyes and react positively so don’t feel like your children can’t read you - they most definitely can!
Let's be honest, if they're yet to go back the transition into nursery and school is going to be a tough one. Patience is key here and it's important to remember that these children have only had you and have adjusted to that. Most settings should have a policy in place to help you resettle your child, if you're not sure don’t be afraid to ask! It's so important to do what makes you and your little one feel comfortable and secure.
When meeting new family members or friends for the first time, take it slow and go at the child’s pace, there may be tears and this is to be expected. Don't feel embarrassed or like you need to justify this, they will let you know when they feel safe and comfortable.
All in all please don’t see this year as a negative one. Whether you're a first time mum or a third time mum, our children have gained so much just by being with us, as well as being part of history in the making!
Find Lauren on Instagram: @laurenthenanny