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  • Writer's pictureJunior Oliveira

Keeping things POSITIVE: 6 simple ways to give your family a positivity boost in 2021

Updated: Jan 14, 2021

​Hello everyone, we know that for many people 2020 was one of the toughest years in recent memory, and a lot happened between sad facts, personal losses of loved ones and other several disrupting changes. Finally, 2020 has gone, but now, as we are in 2021, let us all be positive and cheery with joyful mindset and aspirations for the future. This may sound like some kind of blind optimism for most, and I understand that while vaccines offer hope, this isn't over – but at least we can see some kind of light at the end of the tunnel.

Thinking about the last year from a parenting perspective, we have to admit that we had our moments of irritation and frustration during the lockdown (and due to other several restrictions imposed by government), but now, as parents, we should try to focus on positive feelings; thus, no matter how early you have to get up to run against the clock to get everything done in the morning, there is no other better way to wake up by smile on face. Human emotions are contagious, and the first 5 minutes of any interaction are an opportunity to set the tone. Bearing in mind that the smile of each one in your family is priceless, I am sure if it happens every day, it has a cumulative effect on family quality of life and mental health.

I found some interesting tips on boosting family mental health and wellbeing, I would like to share with you.

1. Be kind to ourselves However much parents and carers try to be superheroes, it’s a difficult persona to maintain! Every superhero needs some down time and private space - especially if your child hasn’t returned to school or nursery - and it’s very difficult to entertain and educate children while also trying to work. Children will get bored and parents and carers aren’t expected to suddenly know and teach the whole curriculum. There just isn’t enough time. (By Andrea Danese, Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at King’s College London - BBC Bitesize) 2. Eat, play, love Fun up family meals. We know that eating together can boost achievement in children, lower the chance for eating disorders in girls, and lower depression rates in both girls and boys. But that doesn't mean meals have to be serious, formal affairs. Simple, humorous rituals are what children remember as adults. Try a monthly “backward day,” serving breakfast for dinner and vice versa, or watch Saturday-morning cartoons together over breakfast. “Silly things that don't cost a dime will bring you closer together,” says Michele Borba, EdD, author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions (Explore Health). 3. Communication Communication is essential – during both the good and the tough times. children often find it hard to put their feelings into words and just knowing that their parents are listening can be enough. Talk about yourself – not just about your problems but about your daily life. If they feel included in the things you do they are more likely to see the value of including you in the things they do (Families Lives UK) 4. Spend quality time with your partner It can be difficult to find time for you and your partner once you have children, but it is important to make time for each other. After all, children learn about relationships from their parents. Make sure you communicate with them frequently about all the day to day matters, as well as just things you enjoy talking about. Try to organise time that you can spend with each other, at the moment we can't go out for a meal (due to the lockdown), so just relaxing in front of the TV together (Families Lives UK) 5 - Be realistic and kind to yourself Things will rarely go according to plan, particularly now that all our routines are different. Don’t be self-critical. Setting and achieving goals are building blocks to good mental wellbeing. They boost how we feel about ourselves. So feel proud of what you achieve, however small. If we can ‘pat ourselves on the back’, we feel good about ourselves, happier, and less likely to feel down. Let your children hear that you are proud of your own achievements and theirs. This will help them learn to self-praise too (BBC Bitesize).

6. Create routine and agree your own rules Our wellbeing is often nurtured by having a daily routine, a structure to our lives. If the day feels endless and without a plan, anxiety can easily be triggered. Staying focused, knowing what happens next and feeling proud of achieving our goals makes us feel good. But it is not easy. At present, juggling the multiple roles of parenting, homeschooling and working can leave parents feeling that they are spread too thinly - and that we’re not doing a good job at any of our roles. This is hard. Try having achievable timetables with attainable goals. Each evening, if we map out the following day, it can help us to feel reassured because we know what we expect to happen. Ideally, each family member will have a sense of their own timetable, with children involved in planning their own (BBC Bitesize). I wish you to look forward to the upcoming year with confidence and courage, giving wings to your dreams! Live your life to the fullest extent, Happy 2021!

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