Well here we are …

Covid Silver Linings

 

In this peculiar

time, this once in a century historic event, the “Covid-19 Global Pandemic of 2020”, we have had to close playgroup face to face sessions, for the first time since playgroup began. Our fifteenth birthday came and went unnoticed, drowned in bleach solutions, sanitising procedures and fears for the coming months.

There is plenty of fodder available to fuel anxieties, however, this is not a post about those kinds of things – plenty of other people have already written about this, and I don’t want to be yet another voice focussing on the big and scary. This is not intended to minimise or invalidate the very real challenges being faced at the moment, and we hope that if you are in need of help, you will let us know so we can keep supporting each other through the next few months.

But in amongst the frustration, anxiety, and empty spaces of what we are missing, there are real blessings, silver linings that we might miss if all we can think about is what’s hard about now. We are living a whole new way of life for a little while, and with it comes the opportunity to experience a wide range of new things and different ways of being.

So here we are, cooped up at home with our children, ON as a parent 24/7. No trips to the park, no playdates or playgroup sessions, no distractions to avoid meltdowns. In the short term that looks like a really bad idea, doesn’t it?? But what if this is an opportunity for our little ones to bring out different parts of their personalities, explore new ways of interacting with family, and develop new skills? Maybe your little ones are learning how to get along with their siblings, without other friends to play with. Maybe they’re learning how to be more centred in their own bodies and activities, as they play beside a parent who also needs to complete work at home. Maybe they’re a sensitive little person, used to living with a level of anxiety, and are discovering who they are when they don’t have the little daily stresses and emotional upheavals that accompany a high speed, busy daily life. Less distractions might mean bigger meltdowns (quite possibly for both children and parents!) but it’s also an opportunity for all of us to learn some new strategies to deploy when we hit the proverbial brick wall. This includes letting our little ones lean into their big feelings and feel them thoroughly until they regain emotional balance and are able to resume their self-directed activities.

This is probably going to make a few of us feel like throwing some toddler tantrums of our own…

So go be a toddler for a while. Roll on the grass in the backyard. Set up an obstacle course through the lounge room and jump over couches and crawl under tables. Colour in with the brightest colours you can find. Hop on one leg just because it feels funny to do it. Do the weekly playgroup craft and enjoy the creative process, no matter whether you nail it or fail it (and please do share how it went in the Facebook groups!) Take a magnifying glass out to the garden and watch the ants at work. Lean into playing with (or without) your toddler, just because it’s there to do, and notice how it soothes prickly and irritated feelings, and relieves tension and stress.

And in the meantime, playgroup itself is finding new ways to play, finding its own way of being within the current constraints, and stay connected. This brand new blog is one surprising silver lining – a vague idea sitting on the back burner for three years that has suddenly leapt into existence. More silver linings that are on the way, are the new YouTube channel so that everyone can continue to do music and story time at home, and Playgroup After Bedtime, Zoom catchup sessions for parents.

Stay tuned for updates regarding playgroup next term! You can help us stay connected by “liking” us on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, joining the Facebook Tuesday and Friday Playgroup groups, and adding us to your email contacts so that you receive the email updates. And remember, no matter how isolated you’re feeling, support is only a phone call, email, or text message away. Take care, adapt as you can, and try to enjoy the journey … Nel xx

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