The strains are already beginning to show
For all of us these are strange times. We have all been thrown out of our comfortable ‘normal’. Humans like normal and the removal of it causes daily concern and questions in our brains. Communication with our children is always important and especially at times like these. Many athletes are privately processing their concerns which can be unhealthy. Be aware if your child is isolating in the house and spending more and more time alone. Please consider using these actions below if you aren’t already.
Daily check in’s - The simple question of “How are you today” goes a long way. Don't be satisfied by an answer of “Ok, I’m fine”. Ask again, really how are you…
Time to talk – create times in your day when you can be available without distraction (no phones!) to talk and listen. Let your child know you are ready to listen and talk.
Weekly walk and talk – get outside in the fresh air with your child and use the open space to initiate open conversation about how they are feeling.
Goal talk – It’s important to keep everyone focused on the longer-term goals. Short-term we are all in lockdown, but in the not too distant future all the things we miss about sport will be back (yippee!). We need to be ready. Keep them talking about their goals, what they are working on each week and take delight when they share their progress. Prompt questions include: “How are you getting on with your goals this week?”, “What goals are you going to focus on this week”, “What are you most looking forward to when sports start back up”
Addressing the losses – every athlete is experiencing some form of loss. Loss of a season, loss of competition, loss of connection with their coach and teammates. Talk through these losses and share feelings associated with this. Its ok to be disappointed, upset and it’s important that everyone processes these losses. Separately look for ways where possible to overcome some of these losses. These can include regular communication with teammates and coaches. There are lots of imaginative things we can share!
Positive rewards – generation Z are poor internal rewarders. They need external support. Catch them doing things well and praise them – it goes a long way. We are all guilty of catching people doing it wrong. Unfortunately, it doesen't bring the behaviour we want. Example reward statements include “I’m really proud of how hard you have worked this week”, “It’s been great to see you structuring yourself”, “I’m so pleased you are sharing how you feel with me”, “I love how you have found new ways to practice”, “Your positivity has really helped everyone this week”
We are in this together. Please let me now if you need any specific help in your house/situation and keep sharing ideas so we can all come through this in the best possible way.