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Surviving Family Life through COVID 19

Posted: 10-04-2020

These are unprecedented times for all of us, and each of us will be facing different challenges with family and work life.  Challenges of working from home, home schooling, being furloughed or laid off, managing finances, being locked down or isolated with family members, being pregnant, being ill or on the critical list (whether you or friends/family members), being an NHS or key worker, managing a business or having a business fold under the pressure are only the tip of the iceberg.

As a nation it has to be said we are doing very well at being British, and many will ‘Keep Calm and Carry on’ until ‘We Meet Again’.  However, in these challenging times some will find it harder to cope than others depending on their individual challenges and their ability to cope. Some adults and children simply cope better than others, and of course there are those who are already managing anxiety and depression amongst other health concerns.  Some adults and some children struggle to keep a positive mind set in normal circumstances and therefore these additional pressures have a greater impact.

As normal routines are disrupted, families and couples are forced to spend more time with each other than usual. This is a huge adjustment, therefore, keeping a sense of normality and stability is crucial. What may have once been a productive, healthy atmosphere in the household may now be very different environment to live in.

Government Advice

On the 23rd March 2020, the Government advised that people should practice social distancing, and should stay at home to minimise the risk of spreading the Coronavirus.

This is not the case for children under 18, who are permitted to move between separated parents’ houses. For more information about this please see our post Home Life During Lockdown And Arrangements For Your Children

Strategies for Coping at Home

Routine is crucial for children but also for adults.  It doesn’t matter as much what the routine is but only that there is one.  Creating a chart of activities for the following week, or even the following day will help everyone know what they are doing and when. Ensuring that children know what they should be doing when parents are working from home or doing other things, and what part of the house everyone will occupy should help.

Whilst education is important do not put too much pressure on yourselves, the other parent or the children with home-schooling.  Some children will be more focussed than others on school work.  For some it will be a distraction from worrying and a routine they embrace; for others it will be a chore for the parent and the child and simply lead to upset in the home.  Listen to your children and how they feel as their emotional welfare and mental health is much more important than school work and all children will face different challenges just as adults do.

It may be useful to separate work time, leisure time and time spent together. If you are working from home, working in a different room to your partner if possible, may help keep you motivated and focused on your work. Spend a little more money on reliable internet, as this will be crucial if working from home with children also using devices or streaming TV.  Responsibility for the children could be divided between each adult in the home, based on a timetable that fits all adults and any work schedules.

The limitation of social activities means that you may feel less connected to your friends and other family members. Using video call apps such as Skype, Zoom, FaceTime or WhatsApp video will maintain these social and familial relationships, and give you a much needed reprise from the pressures of being housebound. However, be careful when talking about children or sensitive matters that the children are not in earshot.  Children have supersonic hearing that can travel through walls!

Take time for yourself and read a book or take a long bath.  Pamper yourself where you can if there is another adult in the home to care for the children whilst you spend some time alone.  Be careful of social media and use it wisely, not to air grievances about friend or family members.  Have patience with others and remember that all individuals have their own challenges and no one is perfect.

As gyms are closed and fitness classes are cancelled, an individual or family walk, yoga session, work out or sports in the garden may be a great way to release steam and get your body moving. If you have a garden maybe invest in a trampoline for kids and adults to have some fun together and exercise.

Domestic Abuse

Sadly, in some households there will be abusive relationships of differing levels impacting on adults and children.  The pressure of COVID 19 will increase these levels of abuse and that is already very evident.  Should you be in this situation it is important that you get some clear and sensible advice before you do anything.  You can call Sousa Law for free advice on 02380 713060 or email ksohal@sousalaw.co.uk to schedule a preferred time to talk to a solicitor for free advice.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has given guidance that domestic abuse victims are allowed to leave their homes to seek refuge during the lockdown measures.

If you are a victim of domestic abuse and feel trapped at home with your abuser, or would just like to talk or obtain some advice and help, please contact Sousa Law or reach out and follow the links below:

www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk

www.refuge.org.uk/refuge-responds-to-covid-19

www.womensaid.org.uk/covid-19-coronavirus-safety-advice-for-survivors

Relationship Support

If you need additional support during this time, Relate are offering Live Chat, Webcam and Telephone counselling sessions. Details of which can be found on their website: www.relate.org.uk/relationship-help/talk-someone

Alternatively you may wish to speak with a Family Consultant who can help with coping strategies and in particular offer advice and guidance on relationships with each other but most importantly children and parenting. We can recommend Better Life Coaching www.betterlifecoaching.co.uk

Other Useful links

https://www.mind.org.uk/

https://www.samaritans.org/

Contact Us

We are committed to offering a helping hand during these difficult times. For further information or advice, please call our office on 02380 713060 email ksohal@sousalaw.co.uk to book a free initial appointment with a solicitor.

by Alice Palermo and Catherine Sousa

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Family Lawyer Southampton, Family Solicitor Southampton, Divorce Lawyer Southampton, Divorce Solicitor Southampton