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When the School Gates Close This Afternoon….

The coming weeks and months ahead are certainly going to be a test for all of us. In these uncertain times there will be a growing need for resilience from the population as a whole.

At Cultiv8 Academy we typically support people in high-performance environments, helping them to develop the skills necessary for peak performance. Yet, in the current circumstances it would seem that our Cultiv8 Core Characteristics might have a wider reaching audience and become increasingly useful for us all as we start to navigate a period of extreme uncertainty.

When the school gates close this afternoon and the majority of children begin an extended period of time at home, there will be an air of anxiety amongst parents and children alike. This is a situation none of us would have chosen but it’s now how we react and respond, both individually and collectively, that is going to define the outcome.

Clearly, there are numerous challenges that lay ahead for us all; life is going to look very different in every family in the UK and indeed most parts of the world. But together we can make a difference.

As we begin to adapt to a new life with greater restrictions and less social contact, we should begin to explore ideas and options for alternative COMMUNICATION methods. Of course, we are in a totally new technological era which affords us the privileges of Face Time and Skype, enabling us to remain CLOSE & CONNECTED even from a distance – this is hugely beneficial and much needed as we enter this period of social distancing and isolation, but it is also valuable to consider alternative methods. Encourage your children to write letters over the coming weeks; to grandparents who they might now not be able to see, school friends, training partners, teammates etc…..encourage them to express their feelings and enquire how others are COPING. Letter-writing has many valuable benefits for both the sender and the receiver. Don’t underestimate the ‘focus’ time and fine motor skills required to compose the letter, the ‘empathy’ to ask how somebody else is coping, the benefits of fresh air and exercise as they walk to the post box, and the joy on the recipients face as the letter is delivered.

For those of us who find ourselves at home looking after the children, whilst trying to juggle the ‘day job’ and do the chores, there will certainly be times of stress and anxiety, confusion, and irritability, but it is important to ‘cut yourself some slack’ and adjust your goals and expectations accordingly. Self-CARE may become increasingly difficult in the circumstances but it is important to remember this can take many forms. It is vital we give ourselves and our children the opportunity to ‘refresh’ themselves. This might simply be a cup of tea in the fresh air, a warm bath, 10 minutes reading a book, half an hour journaling, or 15 minutes yoga; it doesn’t need to take a lot of time but we all need to hit the re-set button, children and adults alike.

It is likely that parents and children will need to become more CREATIVE within their environments to manage their increasing time together within the home. However, boredom is one of the key times for children when creativity can be sparked. Whilst no-one is advocating the coming weeks are going to be easy it is possible that the situation forced upon us may yield some valuable opportunities to develop CHARACTER strengths and mental skills in ourselves and each other.

Whilst we are still very much in the early days of this crisis and there is still much to navigate, what we do know is that out mindset is a CHOICE and as humans we have the ability to be flexible in the way in which we think and behave. In doing this, we can help ourselves to feel more in CONTROL and optimistic about the future.

It seems like this is going to be a long road but if we support ourselves and each other, we really can make a difference. Stay Safe.

Dr Laura Crabtree


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