As the world we live in continues to be challenging, we need to find effective ways to keep our kids safe and manage the natural tensions that parents experience as we learn new ways of coping with family relationships. We need to recognise and take control of our anxieties as parents and find a safe and healthy balance between holding our kids too tight and understanding how we can live a ‘new normal’ life without fear.
This is where the concept of the anchor can be really useful: The anchor won’t get rid of the storm, but it will keep you safe until it passes.
You are your child’s emotional anchor: solid, reliable, constant, and dependable. What does this mean? It means that they need to feel securely linked to you. An anchor keeps your family ‘boat’ in place. The boat can only drift so far in any direction around its centre: you are your child’s secure base. They may fight against it, but the anchor is constant and reliable. An anchor is firmly rooted and keeps you safe in stormy waters. Being your kids’ anchor means allowing for some give and take, but with an understanding that some parts of daily life have to be accepted for safety’s sake.
How to be an anchor
Introduce a Routine
Morning routines minimise anxiety, stress, and wasted emotional energy for the whole family.
Try giving your kids a choice of positive activities and let them know there is no access to any devices until dressed, breakfast has been eaten and other basic chores are out of the way. Having a morning routine helps bring order to the day and giving a few (pre-selected) choices will empower your kids to speak up for what they want.
Physical activity every day is an absolute essential for the whole family. Even if you cannot get outside for a walk, try kids YouTube yoga, HIIT, and other classes online.
Pick your battles
Make it a priority to be simply present and "in the moment" with your child at some point every day. This means spending some time when you are not pushing for work to be done or chores to be completed. Just be the anchor that connects you with your kid.
Kids will pick up on your anxieties, so be self-aware if you're feeling stressed out. They will read your posture, your breathing, and your body language. Likewise, if the news is running in the background with lots of "scary" facts - this can cause concern to kids. Make your own mental image of your boat and its anchor. By focusing on your boat bobbing safely in calm waters, your own mental and emotional state can support you better. Practice this visualisation daily to embed it into your own emotional resilience toolkit.
We hope you found this post useful.