Welcome to Children’s Mental Health Week 2021!
Ha! Ha ha ha ha ha sorry excuse me while I burst into tears.
I mean, all the newspapers and magazines think that our children are going nuts. Are they? How can we even tell if our children’s mental health is suffering? What does it look like?
Some children come to their parents and say “I am sad and lonely without my friends.” But sometimes that’s not what it looks like. What it sometimes looks like is our quiet and thoughtful children fold in on themselves, retreating into an inner fantasy life, rejecting all offers of outside stimulus. Our sociable and sporty children on the other hand explode outwards, they are unco-operative, rude and hyper.
Are they behaving like that because of lockdown? Or is it because of me? Or am I just projecting my own feelings of claustrophobia and boredom on to them? Or is that just what they were always like I just didn’t used to spend 24hrs a day with them?
There have been voices recently, responding to the child mental health crisis, saying: “Get a grip. Stop telling children and teens their lives are fucked and start telling them they’ll be fine.”
And I’m sure they will be. And I’m also sure we, as parents, probably aren’t pounding round the house with our eyes on stalks screaming “Your lives are over!” We’re not that stupid. Worrying privately about what’s happening to our children doesn’t mean we can’t present a calm and reassuring facade.
But we’ve got five more weeks of this muddy, depressing, thankless bullshit and I am worried about my children’s state of mind. Particularly Sam. The activities he particularly liked, that I reckoned contributed to a calm and manageable mood are specifically the things that are banned: tearing about with his little mates, playing organised sport, showing off in front of a crowd, talking endlessly about Pokemon, Among Us and Geometry Dash with his peers in person.
And there is no way of replicating that at home. Even though Giles is keen and able to play football or cricket, it’s too miserable, wet and muddy. We are all of us so sick to our stomachs of the same boring walks in the same disgusting parks, that I have banned walks for three days. But what about the exercise! The running about and shouting! What the hell are we going to do?
I find the suggestions offered in all media I have read so far pathetic and unhelpful or mired in psychobabble gobbledegook. A nature walk? A nice family boardgame? Remind everyone how much harder Nelson Mandela had it? Eat my shorts. I need solutions and I need them right fucking now.
Hannah Abrahams is a child psychologist and is @childhoodminded on Instagram. She has this to say.
“Mood amongst children, just as it does with adults, fluctuates and changes throughout a single day, let alone a week. We are all living in a state of trauma and displaying feelings of loss but it’s not a permanent state, it can change.”
It can change. You can start again tomorrow, don’t forget that.
Depending on what sort of kid you’ve got, if they’re at the quieter end of the character chart (for want of a better word “introverted”) they might freeze completely, stop talking and responding, display repetitive self-soothing behaviour like pacing around and shy even further away from socialising. Louder, more sociable children might go the other way, become entirely uncooperative and, frankly, just behave like a total jerk.
“They might be getting really angry at parents and siblings,” says Hannah, “And destroy things because they feel they’re not being heard or validated.”
Validated. The word leapt out at me. How is Sam usually validated? Yes perhaps sport, spelling tests and banter did a very efficient job at ticking one of my son’s major emotional need boxes but is that the only way? Can I somehow else make him feel validated?
Of course, I don’t think this is what Hannah meant by “validated”. I think she meant that children need to be able to express their feelings and for those feelings to be “validated”. It’s straight out of the old How To Talk so Kids Will Listen and How To Listen So Kids Will Talk playbook. If you don’t know it, it goes like this:
Child: I hate my sibling so much I hope it dies
Parent: Oh my gosh you are really angry with your sibling
Child: Yeah I hate my sibling it is a fucking jerk
Parent: Your sibling must have done something to really annoy you
Child: Yeah. I am really angry
Parent: You sound really narked off. I wish that I could make it so that you and your sibling got on a bit better
Child: Yeah. what’s for dinner?
Child: I hate my sibling so much I hope it dies
Parent: What?! Don’t be ridiculous!! You were having fun earlier on! You love each other don’t say things like that, it’s not nice.
Getting the hang of this is important, because telling your children that they’re not actually feeling the feelings that they’re having or that you want them to stop having them because you, as a parent, find them inconvenient or frightening… that doesn’t end well.
Okay, so back to solutions for validating boisterous little boys. Here is the sum total of everything useful I have discovered over the last week. Sorry, some of it you will already be doing, some of it won’t work on your kids. But something, somewhere might spark a tiny glimmer of an idea. I implore you to add your own brilliant ideas in the handy comment box below.
1 Give them choice. We’re back to toddler territory, here. Whenever you can in whatever flash-of-inspiration way you can, offer them some kind of choice. Not like a blanket wish but a choice. Juice or water? Weetabix or toast?
2 Involve them in any pitiful daily plans so that they at least feel that they were consulted, even if their answer is: “don’t care”.
3 Turn as much as you can into a test or a competition. How fast can you get dressed? You managed a minute yesterday, can you do it in under that? Anyone with their clothes on backwards is disqualified. I actually cannot believe Sam is into this but he loves it (shows how desperate we are). Take anything they show even the tiniest glimmer of interest in and get them to memorise it and test them on it. Bad luck if it’s Pokemon, bonus for you if it’s World Capitals.
4 It’s too wet for football or cricket but it’s not too wet to play catch inside while reciting times tables (if you like) or it works for Sam when he’s expected to listen to some sort of educational video. He’s not terrific at sitting still and I was reading a thing a few years ago about how some children – most often but not exclusively boys – actually learn better if they are active while the information goes in. A friend of mine’s son goes to an all-boys school and in science lessons they don’t even have chairs, they don’t actually expect the boys to sit down at all, just jitter about poking things and bumping into each other while the teacher talks about manganese. The school gets very good results, I’m told.
5 We also have a very light foam football that Sam kicks around and cannot do much damage with. You have to put up with a foam ball sailing through the air past your nose while cooking etc but as far as I’m concerned it’s a small price to pay.
6 If remotely possible with space and other resources, it has been suggested to me that a mini trampoline and investing in a basketball hoop either inside (with the foam ball) or outside can give vital succour to results-driven-physical children.
7 A scavenger hunt with a prize. If they’re not too old for this, get something they want (in our case, the dreaded Pokemon cards) and then send them racing off round the house to find things (something red, something from Mum’s bedroom etc) and bring it back. Of course send them to the furthest flung corners of the house that you can. This will probably only work once but by gum they love it.
8 Silent disco. After dinner, Sam puts on headphones and listens to crazy techno music and dances around like he’s being electrocuted. It’s a release of energy for him and highly amusing for us, especially if we’re 1 cocktail in.
Jennifer Wills Lamacq, who is a Child and Educational Psychologist (Insta @kindie_psychology) sent me a brilliant email regarding children in lockdown, which I will reprint in full tomorrow with her permission, but she contributed this:
“Really active children who are suffering from enforced lockdown can benefit from sensory circuits or proprioceptive exercises at home. These take a bit of trial and error as what is calming for one child is overstimulating for another.
- stretching with resistance bands,
- hanging around from Pull-Up bars,
- rolling over and under yoga balls,
- planking on foam rollers
- heavy lifting and weight bearing”
Now on to your more reserved child. I find that I used to have my most constructive chats with Kitty when we were alone in the car, but obviously that’s not happening any more. In many ways, I think Kitty is surviving lockdown reasonably well, but it’s nice to check in from time to time, just to make sure that she’s ticking over okay. But in the general day-to-day roustabout it’s not that easy to engineer a conversation.
Hannah Abrahams makes the point that children between the ages of 9-13 and often beyond really don’t like a lot of eye contact, which is why talking to them in the car is such a classic win. A trick she passed on was to “accidentally” have some of their favourite children’s books from when they were little – or 4 or 5 – hanging about just, you know, just there. Hannah says tweenagery type children are really drawn to familiar things from earlier childhood, especially now. Through the books a conversation might start about then and now and generally what’s slopping around their tiny minds.
And slime, she says, if you want to know what they’re thinking, stand side-by-side with your child and make slime. Or a cake, whatever’s easiest.
Then you can deploy your killer parenting move of “feeling validation” as outlined above and it’s job done.
How about you? Please, if you have any practical tips that might inspire any one with any sort of child PLEASE leave a note in the handy box below.
Pillow fights. Looking for the most ridiculous online workout video (cat based workouts anyone?!) peanut balls to bounce on, soft balls to bounce and catch (drives me completely mad), random yoga moves (mine make them up I think unless there is genuinely a lizard asana) that we all have to try and hold for as long as possible. Weirdly chores (hoovering, cleaning glass) are quite popular when timed. If all else fails a good shouting match……
lizard asana, I like it
Ooh, thank you for this very timely blog post! I saw one of the articles over the weekend telling people to stop saying that children are having a hard time and, to be honest, found it really annoying- it’s not that we parents are telling our kids how terrible everything is, quite the reverse in fact- most people I know are being as upbeat as they can- but frankly lockdown is really shit for children and we need to recognise that. And at the risk of sounding earnest, there are lots of kids for whom it’s truly disastrous because of their home situation and just breezily saying they should be resilient doesn’t really cut it.
Anyway. My kids are 13 and 15 so old enough not to need constant supervision but also old enough that being at home with Mum and Dad is not top of the list (as my son put it, “this really isn’t how I saw my teenage years panning out- I was kinda hoping for a bit more parties and girlfriends and a bit less going for a walk with my mum” and fair enough, to be honest).
In terms of tips- I’ve been trying to make the time passing seem less of an amorphous blob by putting on a film night, murder mystery night, escape room game night etc etc, complete with posters trailing the events in advance. My kids have made an admirable effort to join in and not act like it’s shit (it is shit though). We’ve also taught them to play poker- five card draw- which has been brilliant and a good opportunity for chats without making it seem weird and intense.
I have completely given up worrying about screentime and, in fact, if they do anything on a screen other than playing mindless games or watching mindless Youtube videos (such as watch an actual film) I react as if they’ve read War and Peace. In Russian.
Lizzie I love this. You sound honestly like you’re nailing it (as far as is possible)
Hannah Abrahams says
Lizzie, it sounds like you have offered so many mini escapes from the monotony and just being able to say to your children yes it really should all be about parties and relationships and it will be. Whilst I absolutely agree for some children this is terrifyingly awful (and tragically I am bearing witness to just some of this) I do think that if we are able to sit with the loss and also celebrate the resilience, the humour and the successes than as parents we are truly being good enough.
sheila birch says
Lizzie also has a great sense of humour.., that gets you through almost anything
Aw, thank you!
Emma L says
My secure, well adjusted children are all in their own ways displaying signs they are sick to the back teeth of this situation, each other and me and their dad. Poor buggers stuck all together in winter so outdoor trips are limited. Baths are a marvellous distraction and often keeps them busy for a whole afternoon whilst I work. Activity transition signals have become a massive deal again, eg in 5 minutes we are going upstairs to get ready for bed, in 10 minutes tea will be ready so you will be expected to come and sit down and stop watching youtube/playing with the switch/finsbury rules brawling with each other etc etc. We have walkie talkies and nerf guns and this can burn off an enormous amount of energy as they run about the house performing “ops” or if it’s light and the weather is ok, up and down our street, causing such an enormous racket, but elderly neighbours can suck it up, I’ve suffered enough, we’re all in this together aren’t we boomers???
I love the idea of ops up and down your street. your kids sound great. I won’t tell sam or he’ll be so jealous (kitty won’t do “ops”)
Emma L says
It is helpful that all 3 of my children (9,7,5) are all rather boisterous, so love this sort of rough house, physical play. And yes ops up and down the street is marvellous, as it gives me a small amount of time to gather myself and be (mostly) upbeat and positive whilst also quietly wondering to myself how they *really* are.
A teatime tidy up session that lasts exactly as long as the Benny Hill theme tune (played loud) always went down a storm. Haven’t done that recently.
this is a great idea
It’s a bloody long tune though! Surprisingly
Mine are still toddlers, they’re not in child care and we’re about to move house. I’m desperate to move to have a change of scene, have some new jobs to do in the house and new walks to get covered in mud on. I woke up pretty furious today because I started thinking about all the stuff my youngest had missed out on compared to all the experiences my older son had by his age. My kids generally seem to be ok, my little one doesn’t care about anything other than being exactly like his big brother and my oldest sometimes tells me that he misses his friends or is feeling sad because he misses nanny and grandad but can usually be distracted by some chocolate or a board game. I’m just sick of all the having to PLAY. I swear if I died my kids would be banging on my coffin shouting ‘MUMMY can you play with Meeeeeeee?!’
I have three boys. Three. Christ. They’re 11, 9 and 5 and the youngest loves lockdown because he’s autistic and introverted. As I write this, he is jumping between dining chairs, screaming the ‘floor is lava’.
The eldest is in school thanks to his EHCP and much begging.
But my middle one is like Sam and he’s struggling.
We get things to look forward to, to help him through the week. Small things: a takeaway, a Warhammer game, a family movie (currently working through 80s classics). We’ve promised tickets for next Friday’s Mischief Movie Night In to celebrate the end of the term. The treats have to actually BE MOTIVATING and break the boredom up, but he’s easily pleased and it is helping.
Thank you Esther for these great ideas (some brilliant ones above too). I have extremely energetic boys so will be putting much of this into practice today! My 6 year old’s PE teacher uploaded a brilliant video this morning of kids’ boxercise, accompanied by the Rocky theme tune – went down an absolute storm, to the extent that he said he wants to do it every day, and also inspired my 10 year old to join in too. Best of all, it was a proper workout, with both of them absolutely knackered afterwards. I can actually foresee a chilled out afternoon ahead (and that NEVER happens…). Good luck everyone!
We are a big fan of boxercise for in my house, my energetic 8 year old loves it, and seems to consume a lot of his energy. We bought a junior punch bag and boxing gloves set from Smyths toy superstore – best Xmas gift ever. Lots of time spent hammering the s**t out of it and i am partial to a quick session myself when the back to back work calls get too much!
Yep I have found boxercise works very well into pillow cases too!! For adults and children alike. Supremely cathartic
My kids are in school because I’m a key worker (it’s bullshit because I’m not a doctor but I am on the list so there we are). However, it’s a bit miserable for them because their friends aren’t there and they believe said pals are living the life of Riley at home. I’m so sick of the Heath and the mud and the boringness… but I guess we’re lucky to have them??? I had everyone at home during lockdown #1 and have such a strong sense of guilt that I’m getting a pass this time.
Elena no one is getting away with it. If you’re having a shit time you’re having a shit time, if you’ve bought or begged your way out of the shit, you’ve got the guilt.
If it’s any help, I FORGIVE YOU
Thank you Esther! I read the article in the S Times yesterday and am still trying to calm down (made the mistake of reading through the patronising boomer comments too, what a tonic ww2 apparently was for all involved). No solutions to offer. Just glad someone openly saying how shit it all is for children. I too have a Pokemon/among us/football/cricket obsessed son who is an only child so not much by way of validation available, we need to up our listening game. Scavenger hunt sounds like a total winner.
My children hate each other so it’s a bit like Sam is our only child and Kitty is the ghost who lives in our attic who eats all our snacks
1. we baked a sourdough bread, made the starter etc and my active 11 year old boy loved it! 2. biking somewhere together 3. sleeping in another room/constellation, like all together in one room 3. playing with a balloon (sad but oh well) 4. taking a long bath, it passes the time 5. I bought a hair curler for my daughter and we played hairdresser 6. I bought Lego Flowers and we made a whole bouquet together 7. kicking a ball around, even if it’s for 15 minutes 8. short (!) board games 9. watch The Queen’s Gambit (bit mature but that’s why my 10 and 11 year olds loved it) and 10. I go out for a walk by myself and my mood improves, better for al involved.
We have three teens (15, 14 and 12) and they hide in their rooms all day on their phones refusing to come out unless there is food on the table that is hot and ready to eat. If they come down and its more than 5 minutes till the food will be on the table they scuttle back up stairs again until it is on the actual table. I tell them I think this is a massive effort to keep going up and down but they just ignore us. It’s like living with lodgers or ghosts even. I miss them! I enforce a board game on a Sunday night and we have done movie nights but they sit there looking at the clock asking when they can go up to their rooms again. I often wonder what they are doing in them, making a bomb factory, growing weed? They’re just chatting to their friends I know but it does still worry me.
Lorna Clarke-Underwood says
I have a very active 8 yr old who needs to get that physical release to calm her mind! This usually involves cartwheels and handstands all over the house which is horrible noisy! But today I’ve added running into our maths learning.. multiplication dominos (from the internet) and a stop watch.. she has run from the dining room to the living room to complete the multiplication questions. Timing her attempt each time. Her older(more reserved and frankly nerdy) sister times her and records it in a spreadsheet! Everyone happy.
Gabrielle Stopp says
Thank you so much for making me laugh, finally, at what has been bothering me for weeks. I have an 8 year old boy who is desperately missing his school buddies and football teammates. Kicking a football around a muddy park with yours truly *really* isn’t doing it for him (though my ball skills are improving), and I have observed a worrying change in his behaviour. ALL of what you have written above is helpful. I have zero amazing parenting tips to share – just, thank you.
Mine are 2 and 5. The 5 year old is struggling so we have done a few things to break it up.
He planned and hosted a party for pre Valentine’s complete with pass the parcel and manic musical statues. Husband came dressed in a tuxedo and won all of the points forever.
We have bought a disco ball thingy and most evenings just switch off the lights, play the songs of our childhood and let them bounce like lunatics on the bed
Treasure hunts and indoor tents have also worked for five minutes which sometimes is all I need to scream into a pillow and open the wine.
Fuck it’s bloody horrible. But we endure. I’m off to download benny hill – if it can get my house tidy I will be eternally grateful.
We go on a quick bike ride every morning, which sounds earnest as hell, but it’s the only way I can guarantee ever getting out of the house. Otherwise we don’t manage to get out at all because her lunchbreak and my lunchbreak don’t really match and it’s 4pm and dark before you can blink.
Somehow a bike ride is more bearable than a walk because you can go so fast and it’s less monotonous, and going early-ish in the morning means the streets are quiet. Also if NOTHING else goes right that day, at least I can tell myself that we went on a smug sounding early morning bike ride.
And something to mark the end of the school day is good – just to try and break it up before we knee-slide into supper and bedtime. A dance to a favourite song/a piece of cake or whatever.
Thank you for writing this. I just ugly cried, really loudly, in the kitchen about them. Me. All of us. So much so my husband had to ring off his Zoom call. And yes, I have much to be grateful for etc etc…
The catalyst was eldest (91/2) miserably crying and refusing the park (uhgennnn!!) but the 6 year old desperately needing walkies. Meanwhile mother in law is all coated up and looking at me like wtaf smack her and go. Oh. And I have a deadline on Thursday, so…
Your maths + movement idea was brilliant. Did some 2x and 5x tables with the younger one counting out loud while we rebounded the football off the wall to each other.
Anyway. Practical tips:
1) follow Five Minute Mum on Insta. She’s genius for fun, easy learning games for the 7 and unders
2) If your kids still play, set up an interesting ‘invitation to play’. Fancy name for getting all the barbies and their house and their dresses and their car etc etc out and setting up nicely on a blanket on the landing. Makes it much more inviting to play with than a box of jumbled stuff.
3) Audio books to transition. After ipad time, I set up some easy activity (colouring, playdough etc) and the girls listen to the book, fiddle with the activity and eat snacks before their final Teams lesson. Can I reccommend the How To Train Your Dragon series. brilliant.
4) I often accompany the 9 year old during her bedtime reading time (we snuggle in our big bed, with our books) or while be both brush our teeth. We’ve had some very frank, interesting birds n bees type questions while brushing 🙂
5) get them dusting/ wiping to work off energy. massive CHOONS helps
I echo whoever above said pillow fights – perfect for burning off energy, but need to be timed right and be warned that once you’ve done one they’ll have to be a regular fixture… We had a lovely spontaneous one on Saturday night which ended with us all laughing and me feeling like parent of the year. Cue Sunday and me stressed to the eyeballs wondering how I was going to manage today’s presentation and homeschool and both kids nagging incessantly for a repeat. Let’s just say one of my best throw pillows ended up up in a gravy-filled plate still hanging around from dinner and my attitude was not going to see me on any parent of the year shortlists…
My top recommendation for anyone worrying about kids in lockdown (ie just about any parent!) is to head over to The Playful Den on Insta – she has some top play ideas and has done some wonderfully reassuring insta lives about the challenges facing each age group.
My second to top recommendation is to buy a Speed Track (https://www.speed-track.co.uk/). Ours is permanently stuck to the front room window and the kids have spent ages playing with it (well much longer than on anything else).
Some great tips from both you and commentators Esther so thanks!
I have a 5 year old and 3 month old (who doesn’t sleep during the day…). Indoor basketball hoop is brill as I can play one handed while feeding the baby. The thought of 5 more weeks is torturous though.
Thank you this actually useful advice. A rare find.
Nicky Coulbeck says
Nerf battles were helping my two (17 and 13, yes even the 17 yr old Cos he can’t do much else at the minute and A level stress Is kicking in) Until that is the 13 yr yelled ” In The Pods ” and shot my husband at point blank range whilst he was in cycling lycra. His response was to yell, NO THAT IS BULLSHIT! Before crumpling to the floor. It really killed the mood tbh. So now we stay in our own rooms and meet up for food and The Mandalorian. Much more civilised.
This has made me laugh so much! Brightened my morning! Thank you!
Nicky Coulbeck says
Haha!! The worst thing was I was laughing so much I had to leave the room!! 🤣🤣 I’m a terrible wife!! X
Nicky Coulbeck says
On a more serious note, I run a mental health team and have worked in mental health for over 25 years. I make sure my kids are heard. They are pretty open and honest actually. I find the distance creates conversation. We don’t HAVE to be together all the time. That’s not normal.
It’s ok for them to feel shitty. And it’s important to acknowledge that its ok to feel like that and that we as parents don’t need to fix it, we just need to listen and empathise. That’s where resilience is formed.
I have a kid very close to Sam’s age (I was pregnant about the same time as you back in RR days!). He was diagnosed with ADHD last year so active +++ the only extra thing I could think of (not on your list) was weighted toys. He has a 3kg toy that he lugs around and it has worked brilliantly.
Love the idea of silent disco, stealing that!!
Anne Bond says
Wow – a) so glad that my kids are apparently adults now and I don’t have to deal with much of this (apart from the ‘I’m so bored’ phone calls) and b) Congratulations to all of you with children – I work in a school, and the range of parental experiences ranges from ‘Can’t be arsed – just let them have the iPad’ to ‘Can we have some more worksheets? When’s the next eBook being released?’ to ‘Help, can’t get them to do anything’. You all have my absolute admiration – whatever you do , it’s bloody marvellous.
Firstly I don’t have children but living in the Netherlands it appears there is a difference approach. My god-daughter is in the UK and her mum is having such a hard time. She is 11 and all the lessons are on-line, as in emailed to her and then my friend has to print out everything, sit with her whilst she filled out all the lessons then scan and upload. Jesus. Awful. Here the children have to attend a zoom meeting, with the teacher attending. They have a lesson on line with all their friends with the teacher in charge. If a child doesn’t attend the parent is sent an email to ask why. So basically the parent doesn’t have to hover or attend, which leaves the parent to get on with other stuff. Seems like a much better system to me. I feel so sorry for parents that are dealing with this lockdown. It must be just bloody awful.
It IS bloody awful! Although even if you have Netherlands-style Zoom lessons( as my son does), if you have a child who is 7 or under they still need loads of supervision. Kitty, who is 10, gets on with her stuff on her own, which is a godsend, but it’s still crap
One thing I did was join a FB group called Your Kids Next Read and break the unrelenting hold that Wimpy Kid/Tom Gates had in our house. It is so hard to see beyond the marketing clout of the big name series authors, esp. as so much book journalism is just clever PR too. So I went right to the source – mums and kids’ librarians, mostly, and read through their unbiased advice, and made a list of possible books, then went through them with my son to get him to help me choose and he now has a new series (Warrior Cats) and two more new books to read and isn’t just sitting around re-reading his old books for the millionth time.
Apart from that I am also loving This Jungian Life podcast for cooking dinner/walks when I can escape alone. It’s three American psychotherapists talking and they are so lovely and boundaried and respectful in their conversation that I feel like I’ve had an hour of therapy just listening to them.
Zoe this is EXACTLY our problem. Sam just re-reads DogMan, Wimpy Kid & old Beanos endlessly. Getting him into a new book is impossible – but I don’t have a Facebook account!
I think it’s ok for a while… I read What Katy Did about 100 times at that age and loved it, but my older son is 10 so I needed to stage an intervention. It’s genuinely hard to find books though beyond the big names. The other thing I have dug out this week is a disco light from a party. Lights off and they actually get some exercise too – it was just a cheap light off amazon. I’m so grateful now I didn’t chuck out everything during my Kondo phase.
This is such a tonic after reading the Sunday T piece (yeah, thanks for telling me my kids aren’t dead or in a coma…. and it’s not the blitz … who knew?). I thought this lockdown would be easier somehow – having done it before but also with the vaccine as the silver lining – but somehow it isn’t. I’ve stopped drinking for this one to make sure whatever I’m feeling I’m not feeling it on top of a hangover. I get the need for perspective and positive thinking but gawd… Maybe nerf guns but I’m not sure it won’t end in disaster and more battles. We definitely need more music though. Might try the Benny Hill theme tune.
Thank you for this. It’s some of the only advice I’ve read this week that isn’t patronising or pointless and has given me the kick I need to get up and get going again today. In the spirit of passing on something on… throwing a ball back and forth works with building expanded noun phrases, or finding synonyms, as well as times tables – add another word each time you throw. And the scavenger hunt can be to collect carefully hidden slips of paper which, when arranged correctly, will form, say, the 9 times tables!