“When the nasty bug has gone, will I be able to stay at Nanny and Grandad’s house??”

If I had a £1 for every time my 4 year old son has asked me this I would be a rich woman.  Still working full time and trying to be a teacher, cook, constant provider of snacks and cleaner for the stream of mess has presented challenges over the last few weeks.  The challenges that lockdown has posed to us as parents is huge.  However, it was only this week that I had fully appreciated the challenges that were being faced by the little people in the house.  My 8 year old daughter is bored, desperately missing her friends and the structure provided by school and her teacher in particular.  She was over the moon when her teacher called to check in on her.  There have been battles over homework where she had convincingly assured us that homework had been completed, only to have a quick look at her google classroom to find out that was not the case!!  The youngest member of the household, my 4 year old son has been hit hard by it this last week.  He has been in full time nursery since he was 6 months old.  He has grown up knowing the same nursery environment, children and of course the staff who have been there for him throughout.  He has so far loved lockdown.  He has loved the freedom and the endless TV!  However, this weekend something changed.  He has become really teary and emotional at the drop of a hat.  He is constantly telling me he loves me and I am certain it’s because he is missing key people in his life – his grandparents, friends and the girls in his nursery.

We have also tried to minimise the coronavirus conversations in our house because he is sensitive and has obviously picked up on my stress about things.  I am anxious about going out and whenever I have to make a trip to a supermarket, he tells me “No mummy, you can’t because of the nasty bug!”.  So I have had to modify my behaviour and change the way that we discuss things around the children.

My parents have played a very important part in my children’s upbringing.  They often stay over when I am away with work or for weekends. My daughter and I lived with them for two years when she was a baby so it has been really, really hard on them not being able to see their grandparents.  So, we have encouraged the children to regularly FaceTime as often as they can.  Their grandmother is on furlough so she has offered to sit on FaceTime with my daughter and help her to guide her through homework whilst we are working.  There isn’t a lot of meaningful conversation when you try and sit a 4 year old in front of a screen but I think it’s really important for him to know that people have not abandoned him.

So, we are doing lots of positive talking about ‘when this nasty bug is over…’.  I think the children are going to be looking forward to an extended stay with nanny and grandad and so will I!!!

Stay safe, stay at home if you can and together we can get through this!