Dads in Lockdown
Things can get really real when you are stuck in the confines of your home for an extended period with your wife and children. But as the most important man in your children’s lives you need to get it right during this tense time.
How you think, talk, behave, act during this time will have a huge impact on your family. Here are a few tips to help make this time of lockdown work as a father.
1. Get your mindset right.
This has been my greatest challenge during this time. It’s a time of unknown and unprecedented disruption. It’s a fearful time for all of us. What’s going to happen to the economy? What does our future hold? When and how will this all end? Big issues. Very real stuff. Easy to get overwhelmed and caught up with fear. But here’s the key – focus on what you can control, not what you cannot. The more time, focus and mental energy we spend on the things we cannot control – the uncertainty, unknowns, fears and “what ifs”, the less strength and resources we will have to spend on the things that really matter that are within our power to do something about.
2. Set the tone.
Be the voice of calm and assurance in your home. The anchor in the storm. Be loving, consistent, caring and calm. Introduce some fun into the mix too. This is a challenge – you have fears and anxieties, you may be on the edge yourself. But remember if you are fearful, angry, sullen, anxious, this will rub off on your family and create a negative and sometimes even toxic atmosphere. One author put it very clearly when he said, “every man is the architect of his own home”. You have the power to create the atmosphere. Use that power well.
3. Engage emotionally.
Be present. Don’t withdraw emotionally. As men we like to withdraw to our caves when we are distressed. It sounds strange to say, “be present” when you have no choice but to be present but it’s possible to “be there but not there”. You are physically present but make sure you are also emotionally and spiritually present. Listen, with your ears as well as your eyes. Engage with your family – hear their hearts, spend quality time connecting with them, play fun games, have great conversations, discuss their feelings, share yours.
4. Nurture your relationship.
Often the person closest to us bears the brunt of our internal struggles. Be conscious of not taking out your frustrations and fears on her. You don’t want to spend lockdown in a cold war with your partner. It may get tough. There aren’t the usual escapes. Tempers may flare. Communicate. Be gracious. Be aware of your responses to her. Also make sure you get stuck in and do your fair share of help around the house, be it home schooling the kids or household chores.
5. Look after yourself.
You are important man. Your family needs you and to be the best you can for them you need to take care of yourself. Here are some keys:
- Be kind to yourself – these are tough, uncertain times. Cut yourself some slack, be gracious to yourself. Be aware of the very real fears and anxieties and stresses that this time is bringing and process them.
- Don’t escape into bad habits. It’s very easy to drink too much, eat too much, get lost in endless hours watching useless “stuff” on Facebook and Youtube. Control these escapes and distractions and keep them to acceptable limits.
- Get some alone time. Carve out some time and space (even if the toilet is the only private space you have now) to connect with yourself. Read, pray, meditate, reflect, get in touch with your heart.
- Be productive. Find things to do that will give you a sense of accomplishment. We need that as men. Clean up that in email inbox, finish long overdue household chores, write, compose, anything that will give you a sense of achievement, however small. Every day do something that will give you this.
- Grow yourself. There are so many ways to do this from the confines of your home. Do an online course, read a non-fiction book, take a yoga class, learn a new skill. Use this opportunity to grow yourself as a person.
- Exercise. Once again there are so many things you can do at home without any equipment to get and keep fit. Commit to doing some form of exercise every day during lockdown. You’ll be so glad you did. The physical, mental and emotional benefits are huge.
- Connect with other men. Make a short list of the good men in your life and give each of them a call. Even if you haven’t connected for a while, now is a great time. You’ll find great strength and encouragement for yourself and them in simply sharing a conversation.
70% OFF DURING LOCKDOWN
Take advantage if this time. Get ‘The Ultimate Dad’ Online Course for only R195 during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Use coupon LOCKDOWN70 at checkout.GET DISCOUNT
The Ultimate Dad Course is an online course that you can do in your own time. It will equip you with all the motivation, information and tools you need to raise happy, healthy children, setting them up for success in life.
Offer valid until the end of April 2020.