When you fall down, rise up! “Let us join hands and build a truly South African nation.” – Nelson Mandela
“Let us join hands and build a truly South African nation.” – Nelson Mandela
The last few weeks has been extremely challenging, in the middle of a pandemic the deadly unrest in South Africa has been very testing for not only adults but also for our little humans. When priority overrides peace, as parents what do we do ? There has been a twirl of emotions at varying degrees that many of us have gone through along with our children. The protest rapidly escalated into looting and severe violence that has shaken our country in the past week.
As a small business owner and a parent, I have sat with my little girl holding her hand praying that we could come through this. It has been. extremely devastating to see our little children hearing the ”big bangs” and asking “ what sound is this, its scary mommy”. With all the uncertainty around it’s been even more overwhelming for our children, as parents we didn’t know exactly what was going to happen and when this unrest would end.
When we don’t have answers for our kids big questions, what really works is framing an honest response within a story of safety and resilience which can soothe their anxiety while honouring their questions and validating their feelings.
It is during these trying times that we realize how important it is to focus on our little people’s emotional development. As Suzanna Tucker rightly stated “Emotional regulation is not a skill set. We are born with…. But with connection it is never too late to learn”. Skills take practice and its never too early to start practicing it with our young ones, infact when they are younger they are more flexible in their emotional growth Children know how to express their emotions, but they don’t yet know how to regulate them. When we can help them pause and manage their feelings, we shift focus from stopping or changing behavior to teaching skills that soothe responses and wire their brain for higher-level life skills. And it starts with us parents, first pausing to notice our stress response to whatever is happening and then choosing strategies to regulate. When we model these skills, our children feel our presence and this is where learning and healing occur, for both of us.
Mentor Mom very recently introduced a play based tool that would help little children deal with their big feelings- especially through these trying times. The wooden emotion boards are unique because they not only allow a young children to become aware of the emotion he/ she is experiencing but also gives the freedom to choose his or her own coping technique and rank their emotions in varying degrees. Our gorgeous wooden emotion boards were launched just in time to be able to use during these trying times.
The emotion boards help to create a calm space for little humans. The boards furthermore comes with a guide which helps parents to understand the why and how of the various coping strategies. Teaching young children to understand why we feel the way we feel and how we can cope with these feelings is a skill that will enable them to deal with their emotions and not be crippled with feelings of inadequacy or an inability to move from situations and setbacks.
Through all the turmoil, I have seen fingers of hope reach out through destruction. The brave and amazing people have given so generously- given their time, their assistance and sharing information to help each other. May our rainbow nation emerge even stronger than before. Together, slowly but surely, we can build ourselves, our loved ones and our community up.
South Africa we can do this!
Love & light