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ANXIETIES THAT MOTHERS ARE FACED WITH DURING THE COVID 19 PANDEMIC

Many mothers are experiencing a great deal of anxiety during this very uncertain time of the Corona virus pandemic.  We are anxious about being infected by the virus ourselves, anxious for our children, our families, our work and our future. As we continue with our daily lives as mothers it is important to remember that we are not alone!

 

Mothers are generally the carers/nurturers in the family when children or husbands are sick. However, what happens when the mom tests positive for Covid 19?

 

As a mom, I am sure your anxiety just increases as you worry about what to do in order to keep your family safe, whilst at the same time wondering how they will cope if you had to self- isolate for 10 days, or even worse, go to hospital.


 

It is therefore important to do some emergency planning. Below is a list of things to consider:


If you live with a partner, husband or any adult relative; it is important to talk about what should happen in the event that you are infected with the virus. Plan for things such as, who will see to your children especially if you have minor children?  Who will do the cooking and the grocery shopping? Who will do the laundry and what safety precautions will you take when washing the sick person’s clothing? etc…

For many it is not possible to identify a separate room/ a second bathroom that you can use should you test positive. It is then important to have a strategy on how you will deal with keeping the rest of the family safe. Wearing a surgical mask inside your house becomes important; as well as applying social distancing from the rest of the family and cleaning/ disinfecting bathrooms etc. after use. Also make special arrangements if you live with someone who is high risk (elderly, people with diabetes etc.)

If you are a single parent, identify a person who will be able to look after your children especially if you have to go to the hospital and make sure to discuss this with the person beforehand.

 

Make sure to stock up for self-isolation

 

When self- isolating, you will not be able to leave your home for at least 10 days. It is therefore important to stock up on items you will need if you have to self- isolate. The following is a list of things to consider stocking up on:

Chronic medicines

Paracetamol

Vitamin C

Throat spray

Toiletries

Non- perishable foods (look at items that you could easily prepare should you not feel well). Keeping a few extra frozen meals in the freezer is also a good idea.

Have your doctor’s contact number saved in your emergency list in case your symptoms do not improve after 7 days.   


Now, remember to have grace with yourself mom. You are not a bad mom. You are doing the best you can  

HELPING CHILDREN COPE DURING A PANDEMIC

Children respond to stress in various ways. Some may be clingier, anxious, withdraw, get angry or agitated, or wet the bed at night etc. The most important thing for us as parents is to respond to our
child/dren in a supportive way. We can do this by listening to their concerns and providing them with extra love and attention.

It’s is so important to try and spend extra time with them during this difficult time. Remember to listen to what they have to say, what are they worrying about? What are some of their fears? Speak kindly
to them, focus all your attention on them, reassure them and look for opportunities to play with themmand help them to relax.

Keep to regular routines and schedules as much as possible, or help create new ones in a new environment, including school/learning as well as time for safely playing and relaxing. This structure will provide them with a sense of security in a time when things feel uncertain.
 
When talking to your children, try to provide facts about what is happening, and try to give them clear information about what they can do to stay safe. Do this in an age appropriate manner so that your
child will understand. 

Here are some activities that parents can use with their children:

Worry doll or soldier
Choose a doll (for girls) and a soldier (for boys) or any toy of preference. At bedtime your child can tell their doll/toy what is worrying them and they will work on the problem while your child sleeps. This
can help your child set aside her/his worries and get some proper rest.

Colouring in/activity sheets
Download some free online activity sheets that explain what coronavirus is. While you are colouring in and completing the worksheet, use the time to explain and talk about the coronavirus and encourage your child to talk about anything that they are worried about. If you don’t have access to the internet, draw your own pictures. It will work just as well.

Free online stories and videos
There are various online books and videos that explain the coronavirus in a child friendly manner. Do some research and find one that you feel will be appropriate for your child/ren to understand. Choose a time when you know that you won’t be interrupted. Make your child’s favourite drink and snacks and sit down with them to read or watch the story with them. Afterwards, use the time to answer any
questions they may have or concerns.

PRACTICAL WAYS OF DEALING WITH YOUR ANXIETY DURING A PANDEMIC

Living through a worldwide pandemic is a frightening thing. During this time when nothing is certain and everything is changing, we watch the news with dread, expecting to hear what bad thing is going to happen next.
 
For many people, it is the uncertainty about the coronavirus that is the worst part. Not knowing how it will affect you and your loved ones, not knowing what will happen next or when it will all end. But there are some things we can do to reduce our anxiety in these uncertain times.

Limit news and social media time
It’s important to stay up to date with the news, especially when needing to keep up to date with the latest safety precautions etc. However, too much news and fake news can cause unnecessary panic and anxiety. Try stick to reliable media sources and limit how often you watch the news.

Stay connected with family and friends
As human beings we are designed to be connected to other people. With social distancing needing to be practised in order to slow the spread of coronavirus, it also creates isolation and loneliness which can further lead to anxiety and depression. It is important to try and stay connected to friends and family as much as you can – whether it’s by WhatsApp, video call, phone calls, emails etc. Keep in touch and support each other.
 
Focus on the things you can control
When you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by things you cannot control, try to shift your focus to things that you can control. You may not have control over how quickly the virus is spreading worldwide, but you can control the precautions you take to decrease your chances of contracting the virus. For example:
  • Washing or sanitizing your hands regularly.
  • Wearing a mask at all times when you leave the house.
  • Practise social distancing.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Sanitise your shoes and hands when you enter your house.
  • Sanitise your groceries before bringing them into the house.
Take care of yourself
During this difficult time, it is still important that you take care of yourself and invest in 
your own health by eating healthy, exercising, getting enough sleep, find an activity that you enjoy and lastly, be kind to yourself.

CELEBRATING MOTHER’S DAY DURING LOCKDOWN  

South Africans celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday 10 May. A day when families usually get together to celebrate and show how much we appreciate our moms and everything they do for us. But with lockdown still in place, this will be a Mother’s Day like no other before. It is normal to find yourself feeling sad or disappointed about not being able to do the things you normally do to celebrate with your mom. However, there are still some ways that you can show your mom just how special she is on this Mother’s Day.


If your mother is living with you, here are a few examples of what you can do:

  • Homemade presents always show a person how much effort and thought you have put into their gift and what better time than now to do so. Whether it is something you have sewn, knitted, painted etc - get creative and give her something personal from your heart.
  • Make your mom her favourite meal for a special Mothers Day breakfast or lunch and even do the dishes afterwards J
  • Let your mom have the day off and relax while you do all of her chores for the day.
  • Spoil your mom with some of her favourite treats, chocolates, biscuits, teas etc that are still being sold during lockdown.

If your mother is not living with you, here are a few examples of what you can do:

  • Phone, video call or message your mom to tell her how much she means to you.
  • Let your children draw cards and write special messages that you can take photos of and then watsapp them to your mom.
  • With level 4 regulations allowing take away deliveries, you can order your mom’s favourite meal and have it delivered to her door.
  • Sign your mom up for an online learning course eg. An online cooking or sewing class etc.
  • Who doesn’t enjoy binge watching their favourite series? Why not treat your mom to a Netflix or Showmax voucher to keep them busy during lockdown?

CO-PARENTING DURING LOCKDOWN

Since our country has been in lockdown for over a month, many parents who are “co-holders” of parental rights and responsibilities as the Children’s Act describes them, may have encountered some challenges. Challenges such as the movement of children between homes, or as the Children’s Act 38 of 2005 states, the “care” and “contact” of children.

 

This issue is quite close to home for FAMSA PE, as the organization has been conducting mediation services for a number of years. For those who are not familiar with this term, “mediation” is a process conducted by a professional such as Social Worker, in an attempt to resolve disputes regarding the “care” and “contact” of a child/children. The Children’s Act makes it very clear that both parents are considered as “co-holders” of full parental rights and responsibilities. It means that both parents have equal rights and responsibilities to be executed. With that said, subsequent to the President’s announcement regarding a national lockdown, this immediately placed co-parents in a challenging situation. A decision to prohibit all movement of children between homes during the lockdown was legally enforced in the South African Constitution, under the Disaster Management Act. Co-parents were left to decide whom the child will live with during the 21 days, which ultimately meant that the primary caregiver would receive a preference, unless decided otherwise by the co-parents.

 

However, on the 7th of April 2020, Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu announced an Amendement to the Disaster Management Act in respect of co-holders of parental rights and responsibilities. The movement of children between homes was allowed on certain conditions: that there’s a valid parenting plan in place, of which the other “party/parent” should also have in their possession; or a court order. This is awesome news for co-parents who have fought immensely hard to work together in the best interest of their child/children.

 

However, despite the amendment there are those who do tremendously well co-parenting without any paper work to show for it, and these co-parents cannot unfortunately move their children between homes during this lockdown. The ones who work consistently n placing their own desires one side “for the sake of the child”, keep communication clear and try to resolve conflicts appropriately without harm to the child/children. Although the lockdown will be lifted soon, it still means co-parents need to practice social distancing for quite some time. As a social worker, a major concern would be for these co-parents. Hopefully this does not place too much strain on co-parenting relationships.

 

To all the co-parents who place their child’s best interests at the heart of their co-parenting relationship, continue to do so. Have long conversations and video chats with your child/children via social networks or telephone. Hang in there, it will be over soon.

10 FUN ACTIVITIES TO DO DURING LOCKDOWN (USING THINGS YOU ALREADY HAVE AT HOME)

As families face the challenge of being confined to their homes during these uncertain times, parents are faced with the ongoing challenge of trying to keep their children entertained. Here are a few activities to keep your children busy using common items you already have at home:

 

 

1

Scavenger hunt

Whether inside or outside, you can customise this game to items that you have lying around the house or things in the garden. Write a list of items for your kids to find then set the clock! The race is on!

 

2

Family bucket list

Get a jar and small pieces of paper. Everyone in the family can write down a fun activity or game on each piece, fold it up and put it in the jar. Everyday someone gets a turn to take an idea from the jar.

 

3

Gardening activity

Whether you think you have green fingers or not, now’s the time to start that veggie garden and teach children how things grow and give them the opportunity to get dirty while doing it J Using what you already have in your kitchen. Here are a few easy things you can grow:

  • Cut the tops off of carrots and place in a saucer of water. Other veggies such as lettuce, onions and celery can also be regrown in this manner.
  • Beans, dried peas and chickpeas can be placed in a wet serviette. Keep moist and as soon as they germinate you can plant them in the soil.
  • Place an old sweet potato in half a cup of water to allow the roots to establish. Then plant in soil.
  • Next time you peel a butternut, squash, pumpkin, peppers or chillies keep some of the seeds. Let them dry out for a few days before planting.

 

Before you know it, you have a little veggie garden growing!

 

4

Board games

Dig out the old board games, card games or puzzles you may have lying around the house. The ones you always tell yourself you will get to when you have more time J Well now is the perfect time to play and spend some quality time with your family!

 

5

Art activity

What art materials do you have lying around in the house? Koki’s, paint, crayons, scissors, paper, cardboard, glue, glitter, toilet roll tubes, empty cereal boxes, empty milk cartons. Get creative! There’s no rules, just have fun with your kids.

For those that might need some inspiration, try Google some free activity pages to print or get some step by step activities. If you don’t have paint lying around, don’t let that stop you either. You can make your own by mixing half a cup each of flour, water and salt; dividing it up; and then adding food colouring.

6

Home made play dough

Make the best play dough creations that kids will love! All you need is:

2 cups plain flour

1 cup salt

1 tbs oil

1 cup cold water

2 drops liquid food colouring

 

Method:

  1. Combine plain flour and salt.
  2. Add water, food colouring and oil. Mix until ingredients are combined
  3. Knead well.
  4. If consistency is too wet, add a little plain flour.

 

7

Building forts

For those cold rainy days, what better reason to get out all the blankets, sheets and pillows and build a fort with your children. Then after your hard work, make some snacks and hot chocolate and get comfortable.

8

Playing dress up

Let the children raid your cupboard, get dressed up, and plan a theatrical performance for the family to watch.

 

9

Baking and cooking

Life under lockdown provides a great opportunity to practice those cooking skills in the kitchen and whip up a tasty meal for the family. For children, weighing ingredients and following a recipe can also help develop their numeracy skills as well as their fine motor skills. This can be a fun family activity and we all deserve a nice treat during these uncertain times.

 

10

Pavement chalk painting.

Using 3 simple ingredients of flour, paint and food colouring. Make some chalk paint, get the kids outside and get creative by painting your favourite game on the driveway, eg. Hopscotch, noughts and crosses, snakes and ladders etc.

 

SUPPORTING VICTIMS OF GENDER BASED VIOLENCE DURING COVID-19

Police Minister, Mr Bheki Cele confirmed that seven days into lockdown the South African Police Service had received 87 000 gender-based violence complaints.

 

WHAT IS GENDER BASED VIOLENCE?

Gender Based Violence is a term used to denote harm inflicted upon individuals and groups that is connected to normative understanding of their gender.

 

WHAT ARE DIFFERENT FORMS OF VIOLENCE?

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Sexual
  • Psychological
  • Verbal
  • Economical
  • Harrassment
  • Damage to property
  • Intimidation

HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR PARENTS, FROM A DISTANCE (DURING LOCKDOWN)

Check in them - daily


One of the most important things we can do for our parents is to check in on them every day. Whether it be by telephone, watsapp, video call etc. This will ensure that they feel connected and cared for.

Ways in which we can do this:

  • Draw up a roster between family members so that someone is responsible everyday for making contact.
  • Send photos and videos of the family so that your parents can feel included and updated with your life.

Find practical ways you can help them


Things like paying their bills online, sending them airtime, arranging for their groceries or medication to be delivered to their house (some shops and chemists provide delivery services eg. Checkers and Pick n Pay).


Have an emergency plan in place


The most important step for you and your loved ones is to have a plan in place in the event that one of you contract the virus. Do you have the contact details of your parents’ neighbour? Do your parents have any pets that need caring for if they fall ill? Who will check in with your parents if you fall ill and need to go to hospital? These are all important questions that you need to discuss with your loved ones in the case of an emergency. Also, it is important to have emergency numbers at hand in order to save time. You can refer to FAMSA PE’s Facebook page for a list of emergency numbers.


Give them a sense of purpose


Self-isolation can be boring, especially for the older generation who may not have access to the latest technology. It is important to keep their minds active too. Try and encourage your parents to be involved in a hobby. Things like knitting, sewing, painting, reading, writing, puzzles, learning a new language, scrapbooking, gardening, cooking, baking etc. Take interest in their progress. Ask them to send you photos or videos of their projects. By taking an interest in them they will feel a sense of achievement and, more importantly, they will feel loved and cared for.

CREATING A DAILY SCHEDULE FOR YOUR FAMILY DURING LOCKDOWN

It is important to keep things as normal as possible during this very difficult time. It is especially important to keep to a routine for our children. By doing this we create a sense of security for them.


Below is an example of a daily routine showing how a day can be structured. Every family is different, therefore you can edit and make changes so that it fits your family.


Remember to make the most of this precious time with your children and to pray that this lockdown not only allows us as a country to fight the pandemic that we are faced with but to also bring families closer together.


 

May God bless each family and our Country, as well as the world at large.


Time

Schedule

Examples of activities

By 8:00

 

Wake up

Pillow fight or snuggle time& make the bed

8.30

BREAKFAST

Get dressed and have breakfast

9:00 – 10:30

Chore time

Kids can help sort colours for laundry, dusting, drying dishes/ picking up toys etc.

11:00-12:00

The main activity of the day

Arts and crafts, gardening, make musical instruments, dancing, baking etc. (you may be creative during this time)

12:00

LUNCH

 

12:30- 14:00

Quiet time/ afternoon nap

Parents can have quiet time during this time. Prioritise something that you enjoy (reading a book, start the family album etc) For older children who don’t nap, they can play quietly or read a book etc.

14:00- 15:00

Free play/outdoor play

Ride bike, take a family walk around the house, kick a ball etc.

15:00

AFTERNOON SNACK

 

15:30- 16:30

Could be extended for older children

Academic time

Build a puzzle, do activitysheets, coloring in, play educational games, build Lego/ blocks etc

16:30- 17:30

Screen time

 

Tablets allowed/ TV etc

17:30

DINNER

 

18:30

Bath

 

 

19:00

Free time

 

 

20:00

Evening Prayer & Bedtime

 

Pray especially for Covid 19



 

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