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Anxiety is everywhere today and parents, particularly those in the sandwich generation, are often more anxious than most. Where can you go for help?
Anxiety is at record levels during this coronavirus pandemic. People are anxious for a whole host of reasons, the principle one being keeping themselves and their families safe.
On childcare: some parents are anxious about how on Earth they are going to cope with working from home while looking after children – they want access to childcare; others are anxious because they have to send their children to childcare – they are worried about health risks of mixing with other people or about getting children to the childcare or about children adapting to new surroundings if they are not attending their normal school or nursery.
Parents of children with special needs are worried about the impact of being in lockdown on their children, for instance, an increase in challenging behaviour which they may have to deal with on their own.
They are worried about having to pay for childcare places even if they are not earning or working. Key workers are worried about nurseries closing, about them not covering the hours they need, about whether they can use informal care such as young, health grandparents, etc, as the guidance is not clear, about how they manage if they can’t. How long can they be on annual leave or unpaid leave if they have no childcare and they can’t work without it?
On caring generally: parents may be worried about their own parents. They may have caring responsibilities for vulnerable relatives. They may be worried about parents in care homes. They may have health issues themselves that make them or their children more vulnerable.
On work: they may be worried about putting themselves or their family at risk. They may be anxious that they are working in environments they consider unsafe.
They may be living with people who are vulnerable and having to go in and out to work. They will undoubtedly, given the latest news on a child dying from coronavirus, be worried about keeping their children safe.
On finances: people are worried about the immediate future. Will they be made redundant? Will their hours be cut? Can they live on reduced pay?
Even if they are able to work, will their job be able to survive the pandemic? If they are not, can they access the furlough scheme or the self employed scheme? If they can, do they have enough money to get to the date when the money starts to come in? If they can’t, how are they going to pay for anything? If they own a business, will it survive? How can they help their employees?
Then there are the parenting worries: how do you do homeschooling and work? How do you keep kids from being anxious? How do you help children who already have mental health problems to get through the days? And there are all manner of anxieties around pregnancy and giving birth at this time.
And that’s without all the pressure from social media to be enjoying all the extra family time and without thinking about those who are under threat of increased domestic violence or in a whole range of more complicated situations.
So what do you do? There is, of course, no end of tips and advice available. Some of it is good, some less so. The best thing is to consult the services that specialise in the areas you are worried about. So, for child and other family care, the childcare experts, such as Working Families who run a helpline. For finance, there is Money Advice Service. For pregnancy and birth Maternity Action can help. For specific health issues, contact the specific health sites such as Asthma UK and Diabetes UK. For general anxiety, Anxiety UK has a whole series of webinars on their site – from perinatal anxiety and parenting anxiety to feelings of claustrophobia – as well as blogs on, for instance, how to talk to children about coronavirus [which, of course, depends on the age of the child and other factors]. Everyone’s circumstance is different so you need to find what works best for you.
If you cannot find what you want, please do get in touch and we will try and help. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.