This week I shared in the facebook group an interview with Lindsay Jane Hunter, Theraputic Art and Drama Practitioner. We chatted about creativity, it's importance and how to achieve creativity with limited resources and effort. If you missed it, you can see it here.
Studies have shown that even a small amount of creativity each day can boost well-being and increase feelings of positivity (Conner et al. 2016). So I really encourage you to find a way to both be creative yourself and encourage your children to do so. I feel after 5 weeks of staying at home I am starting to feel the need for some new ideas and I am really happy to share with you a list from Lindsay which will hopefully provide you with some fun creativity ideas for you to try:
My main realisations from the interview were that; creativity isn't always messy, you can be creative with very little resources and saying "yes" more (when you are able to) will often lead to some really imaginative and fun activities. I really hope that you find this useful. If you have a go at any of these, please feel free to share them in the facebook group!
If you would like to receive weekly ideas and resources for enhancing the well-being of your family please join my mailing list here.
Keep well and stay safe
Hello! I hope that you and your loved ones are well.
In my home we are now just entering into our fifth week of being home with no school. Emotions are running high and both children are needing quite a lot of emotion coaching at the moment. I really love the work of Professor Marc Brackett and want to share with you a couple of his quotes that I really relate to at the moment:
"Hurt feelings don't vanish on their own. They don't heal themselves. If we don't express our emotions, they pile up like a debt that will eventually come due."
Sometimes it's tempting to say "Stop crying!" and "Calm down!" (these are phrases that I have definitely used more often than I would like!). It's much more healthy for us to address what is really going on. That takes a lot of time and patience, it isn't easy and it isn't pretty! There is often crying, shouting, accusing and also snot to sit with. I wouldn't say that I have this completely covered 100%, but on the occasions when it has worked, it has been because I've held back from talking and have listened and offered hugs. Stopping a child from expressing their emotion doesn't make it disappear. Another quote of Marc's that I love is:
"Labelling your emotions is key. If you can name it, you can tame it"
This is where the coaching comes in. When children are upset, it isn't enough for us to say "It's ok". Quite often children don't even know what "it" is. In fact a lot of adults find it hard to label their emotions.
In practical terms, this is where you reflect back the emotions that the child is feeling and also validate them. For example "You are feeling really disappointed that your brother doesn't want to sit on your bed for the story, he said he would and now he's changed his mind and that is really upsetting. It's hard when people change their mind, being disappointed doesn't feel nice, would you like a hug?" works better than "Stop fussing and go to sleep!". Experience of both strategies have taught me that although it's quicker to snap, it doesn't lead to a quick bedtime!
I am not a perfect parent. I do not communicate with my children like this all the time; those who know me well will attest to this! But I do believe that the emotional literacy of our children is key to their well-being.
I have realised that at times when we are being creative, we find it easier to talk. My children often share thoughts or worries when they are doing or making. With this in mind, I have interviewed theraputic arts and drama practioner, Lindsay Jane Hunter about creativity at home. I will be sharing the link to this on Tuesday evening in the facebook group Julia Hankins Well-Being at Home. It can be accessed at anytime, in it Lindsay talks about the benefits and practicalities of bringing creativity into your home, even if you don't feel creative. I loved chatting about this and I hope that you will find it useful.
Keep well and keep safe
This week, I am thinking about love languages and how they relate to our well-being. My reason for this is that I realised today that I haven't really been paying much attention to the love languages of my family recently. For me it's a really useful thing to consider when you are having a disconnection from someone. For example, me and my husband have different ways of showing our love and sometimes I find myself irritated that he hasn't spent much time connecting with me through conversation (something that is one of MY love languages) and completely over-looking the fact that he has mended something of mine without being asked or spent time creating something for us to use as a family (which is HIS language of love). We all show our feelings in different ways and sometimes when we feel our needs aren't being met, we can make the assumption that we aren't being loved or cared for.
This happened in my home today. My 8 year old shouted "No-one even cares about ME!" This is following an argument with her sibling, I had sat down and offered her a hug to talk about it and she threw herself across the room shouting that no-one cares for her. At some point I can imagine myself being irritated by her reaction and telling her that I was there trying to give her love and she didn't want it (escalating the situation even more) BUT something in me knew that this wouldn't help. I realised that I was trying to show love through physical touch (normally something that she loves) but this just wasn't what she needed or was craving for. It turned out that she had felt that she hadn't had much quality time together today - true as I was shattered as I didn't sleep well last night and to be completely honest had been busying myself with jobs and tasks rather than connecting with anyone!
Anyway to make a LOOOONG story short(ish) we chatted and cuddled and both realised that we needed to do something together.
It made me think that this week in my home I'd like to be aware of our love languages - when we are showing love to each other. I plan to draw attention to the ways that we all show love so that we can appreciate each other a little bit more. For example, when my 5 year old walks into the bathroom- while I'm on the toilet- to give me a dandelion that he has plucked from the garden, I'll try to notice that he is giving me a gift which is an act of love and I'll TRY to receive it well; as that is also an act of love!
I hope you have a fantastic week!
If you haven't yet joined the facebook group, please do as I share photos and videos in there that you may find helpful.
In my blog, I reflect honestly about my experiences of trying to enhance the well-being of my own children.