Bouncing Back from Pandemic Meltdowns

Bouncing Back from Pandemic Meltdowns

We held an exciting Webinar  with Trova Health about managing our emotions as parents. 

If the last two years have taught us anything, it’s that the structure and stability in our daily lives can disappear at a moment’s notice. A difficult time for parents, adapting schedules and managing inevitable meltdowns as their child is sent home from day-care for the 4th week in a row. We all have a limit and grown-ups are certainly not exempt from tantrums at times like this. 

Luckily, Springtime, wherever you are, gives us an opportunity to start anew. As the flowers begin to bloom and we celebrate the Spring holidays, let’s think about where we are and how to hit the reset button.

What Causes Meltdowns?

Emotional “dysregulation” is quite common for kids, but we forget it happens with adults. We move into survival mode, counting down minutes until bedtime and think about solutions to chaos rather than finding moments of joy and peace. Meltdowns occur in all humans due to a dysregulation of the nervous system. If we are unaware of what is happening, we stay in paralysis or survival mode until we burn out, blow up or both! 

What Do Meltdowns Look Like?

During our webinar, we heard many great (sometimes funny) examples of pandemic meltdowns. It seems the pandemic was very successful in adding unpredictable layers of stress to existing chaos. Between family members testing positive for covid, to homeschooling, new jobs, remote working and the sheer uncertainty of the pandemic, it’s no wonder we cracked under the pressure. While dealing with some or maybe all the above, it’s common to find yourself raising your voice to your kids. A meltdown can look like shouting or arguing, but also bitterness, resentment and burnout are common traits.  Each parent is different. Identifying what you look like during a meltdown can be the first step to preventing them.

The Medicine

So how do we prevent meltdowns? The answer is simple: give yourself exactly what you are seeking. This is where we dive into what we really want…the deeper desire. If a parent says, “I want a break!” what does that break look like and what will it bring? Peace? Relief? Once we slow this down, what we see is that as parents, we don’t allow ourselves to feel what we want to feel until we have the THING (the goal, the “break.”) Ironically, as we slow down, tune into our own nervous system, feel what’s happening for us, we gift ourselves the exact thing we truly desire! We’ve given ourselves the break. 

For example: If you come home from a long day and see you kids sitting around in a messy room with no chores done, what do you do? Shout? The perfect meltdown. Play back this movie in slow motion and see how neutral this situation is. The kids are sitting on the couch. That’s it. You may experience other thoughts like: “My kids are lazy, and I do everything around here.” Notice how these thoughts make you feel: upset, disrespected, judgemental, etc and see where these thoughts and feelings lead to.

The Inner Work

Doing the “inner work” goes beyond self-care. It’s paying attention to yourself and honouring exactly what you desire and need. In the above scenario, the parent probably desires relaxation or connection. They’re probably hungry and thirsty too! So, let’s practise pressing pause, diving into the deeper desire and give ourselves what we need before reacting. What becomes empowering is noticing that peace and joy are no longer dependent on you finally getting that well deserved break. You don’t have to hold out all day to finally be rewarded. You can listen to the smaller signs and fulfil your needs as they arise, taking back your own power.

Hear Yourself Before Demanding to be Heard

Remember, you discover the desire by noticing your behaviour pattern. If you get upset and yell, your deeper desire is most likely to be heard. If your pattern is withdrawal, your deeper desire could be to ‘relax’ or ‘take a break’. When we honour our needs, the triggers are no longer present.

5 practical things you can do before, during and after a meltdown

Slow Down and Connect with Yourself

Slow down your internal world, paying attention to cues or markers that let you know you are outside of your window of tolerance. You might be too “high”- overwhelmed or too “low”- depleted/ burned out. For now, just focus on allowing and accepting the emotions. 

Honour the Need that Arises 

If you desire a break, take it. If you desire peace, feel it. If you desire joy, take a moment to dance in the kitchen or whatever brings you 30 seconds of joy.

Be OK with Taking a “time out” 

Practice a calming technique such as breathing or visualisation. This goes along with self-care and models for your children and spouse that you are tuned into your own needs and limits. You can call it a “break” or “taking 5” and use that time to sit outside or lay down in your room while kids entertain themselves.

Ask for Support 

This is tough to do if you’re living in a new place with less friends or family around. Some parents have found that asking for support via video calls can help. You can ask family or friends to help out with homework by jumping on a Zoom call. This can also work with reading bedtime stories or any other activities you can participate in remotely. If you’re really stuck for friends and family, check out the local community and see if you can build a support network through schools, kids groups or church. 

Connect with kids/ family

Schedule intentional time to do something novel. Our brains crave novelty and connection! Plan a scavenger hunt, play a new game, give your kids a phone and let them direct their own commercial or movie. You can try new food together or dress up in costumes and go to the park! Camping in the living room is always fun or even ask your kids or spouse to plan something they’d love to do…

Watch the Webinar

Emotional dysregulation is addressed with awareness and self-compassion. Slowing down and becoming present is key in these moments of distress. You can watch the webinar here 

What is one thing you can do in the next 24 hours to find your deeper desire?

About Peekabond

Anieke Lamers, our CEO created Peakabond at the onset of Covid-19. A mobile app to help global families connect with young children remotely. Inspiring families to create playful and engaging moments with young children.

Asynchronous video connection and inspirational science-based content suggestions. Allowing families and loved ones to share small moments and build memories together. Every play experience is designed with care and approved by child development experts. Always age appropriate. Always private and secure, never showing ads. Our intention is to build a movement that connects families across borders and over generations. To try storytelling activities at Peekabond go here. 

About Trova Health

Trova health is a digital health and wellness company created specifically for expats, providing mental health and remote care services worldwide. To find out more go here

5 Nature Selfie Tips Every Grandparent Should Master

Taking a Selfie in Nature to Share with Young Children

Hopefully, we all get the opportunity to experience the wonders of nature. Many of us, for the first time when we are small children. If we are lucky enough, there are trees to climb, puddles to jump in, sun and rain to feel on our skin, and rainbows to see in the sky. Watching children have their first experiences with nature can be a very special moment to take part in. That is why we want to share how to take a selfie in Nature and share that with your child at a distance. 

How Nature Benefits Young Children

Nature is diverse and beautiful, but also sometimes a bit gross or weird! Having access to nature and witnessing life and growth can be a very stimulating place for young people to be. Encouraging adventure and exploration, discovering new things, and seeing what life has to offer.

For many, nature is a place free from social judgments. Nature does not have an opinion on what you look like or how many friends you have or how smart you are at school. Nature is an even playing ground for all. Nature reminds us that there is so much more to life and the world is much much bigger than any of the problems we are experiencing. Even if your little one is too small to understand this concept, the sense of freedom that nature brings is there to be enjoyed.

5 Steps to Taking a Good Selfie in Nature

Ok so here we are, on a beautiful day out (or maybe it isn’t so beautiful because, hey, nature!) with our little ones and we want to capture some long-term memories. A selfie is a great, easy way to capture a quick photo and immortalize the moment.

If you feel like you need a recap on your selfie-taking skills, check out our article with all the instructions HERE.

  1. A Good Background

First things first – find a beautiful backdrop. Something to stand in front of for your picture. It doesn’t have to be the main feature of your adventure, just something you think would be nice as a background. Let your instincts guide you. Maybe you’re surrounded by wonderful scenery or maybe you spot something charming or funny that you’d like to remember. Don’t get too obsessed with it though, the more people you have in your selfie, the less you will be able to see the backdrop.

  1. Equipment Ready!

Once you’ve found a good spot, let everyone know you’d like to take a quick selfie. As they gather themselves for your photo, you can take the opportunity to open the camera app on your phone. Switch the view to the front-facing camera and decide if you want the flash on or off. Your smartphone will probably have settings automatically set up so there should be very little to prepare.

  1. Get your face and the view!

Once you’ve found a good spot, make sure your face is shown clearly, squeeze in really tight with the object you wish to show. Hold your phone out as far as you can with the front-facing camera on. Hold the phone at eye level to capture your face well (children love faces!). It helps if you are at the front of the photo so you can extend your arm as far as possible, giving you more space to get everyone in.

  1. Make some Adjustments

The good thing about a selfie is that everyone in the photo can see themselves. If the picture doesn’t look good at this stage – maybe it’s too dark or there is something obscuring the photo, now is the time to fix that. You can always send it as is and take the opportunity to have a conversation with your little one at a distance. Ask your little ones ‘Do you think that looks good?’  

  1. Take the Photo

Once you are ready, you can click the button to take the photo. Usually, it’s the big round one at the bottom of the screen. Make sure both your face and the object you are trying to show are in there with your best smile. Take a few! It’s nice to have some options. You can look at them there and then with your little ones or maybe save them for later. If you don’t like the photo, feel free to take another one.

Extra Tips

Here are some other ideas we love to make things even more fun:

 Include Nature

Wherever you are, maybe you can do something fun with your surroundings. Kids tend to pick all sorts of props when they are out in nature so it might be fun for you to do the same and to include these in the photo.

  • You can have sticks for bunny ears or stand in front of a nice tree to give you all angel wings.
  • If it’s dry, maybe grab a handful of leaves and try to take a photo while they float back down to the ground.

Ok, these selfies might be a little hit or miss, you could end up with a great action shot or an absolute mess, but it’s the memories that count!

 A Special Setup

As you don’t see these special people very often and you want to create a special photo that you take every time you’re together. Stand in a circle with your feet together and take a photo of everyone’s shoes. If it’s dry, lie down on the grass with your heads together and take a photo of your faces by stretching your arms out above you. Any assembly you can think of works, the trick is to make sure you take it in exactly the same way, every time you see them. This is a wonderful way to collect memories and watch how much everyone grows over time. 

Alternatively, if you will not see your little one for a long time, take a picture of your shoes or your face in the grass and ask your little one to take one too and send it back!

 Use the Timer!

Did you know that most smartphone cameras have a timer function? There should be a button or icon on your phone screen that looks like an oven timer. When you click this, it should ask you how many seconds you would like to wait before the photo is taken automatically. This is a great trick when needing to set up with props or action shots. You can set the smartphone up on a tree or a rock somewhere and have everyone get into the photo. I once used a can of beans to prop my phone to get a shot of me in the pool!

Click the button you would normally click to take the photo and the timer feature will get started. You should see the countdown on your phone screen. This saves you the bother of clicking the button yourself and you and the little ones can have more time to do whatever it is you want to do for the photo!

To Conclude - The Selfie is Your Friend

You do not need to fear or dislike the selfie. It might be strange or weird at first but that’s okay. If It can take some time to get your head around but remember, it’s a tool. Taking selfies is a great tool for capturing moments and creating memories that you can look back on forever. Don’t worry if you’re a little stiff at first, you’ll soon get the hang of it. It’s all about creating memories that your little ones will have the privilege of looking back on when they are big and all grown up.

Alex Meade is a freelance writer, living in Portugal. Originally from England, she likes to spend her days in the water, improving her surfing skills or learning to wing foil. When she’s not writing or surfing, she teaches yoga near the local beach. You can reach Alex by going to here

About Peekabond

Anieke Lamers, our CEO created Peakabond at the onset of Covid-19. A mobile app to help global families bond with young children remotely. Inspiring families to create playful and engaging moments with young children.

Asynchronous video connection and inspirational science-based content suggestions. Allowing families and loved ones to share small moments and build better bonds. Every play experience is designed with care and approved by child development experts. Always age appropriate. Always private and secure, never showing ads. Our intention is to build a movement that connects families across borders and over generations. To try storytelling activities at Peekabond go here. 

5 Selfie Tips for Grandparents

5 Selfie tips that will change your relationship with your grandchildren

Well, here we are, fully immersed in this ‘selfie’ era. Can you remember a time before selfies? It seems not so long after the smartphone was introduced, with its clever front-facing camera, the selfie was invented. Before this, our self-portraits had more of a ‘point and click’ approach to them. It’s funny to think of now. There was a time in which taking photos of yourself was considered strange, vain or conceited. While many of the younger generations have embraced the success of the selfie, there are a few among us still bewildered by the concept, and that’s ok. It can feel awkward at first, but we’re here to show you how to make it easy. 

How Selfies can Help you Bond with Your Child at a Distance

Within their first year, babies learn to gather information from faces to determine identity, personal characteristics, and emotions. These associations help to shape their relationships with the face in question. Subconsciously, their brain receives information from somebody’s face and thinks ‘that’s Grandad, that’s Grandad’s smile, that’s his nose, that’s the noise he makes when he laughs’. We also learn social cues at this age, building our social skills to understand how other people are feeling. 

Becoming familiar with your face helps build the bond between you and your little one. They’ll start to read your facial expressions and understand your emotions. Having a clear picture of you helps to build memories and associations. If you can’t be there in person, a photo of you is the next best thing to build lasting relationships.

How Do You Take a Selfie?

Ok, let’s be brave. You can do it!

  1. Open the camera app on your smartphone:  On most devices, you’ll see a little symbol, shaped like a camera with two arrows inside. This button switches your camera to face you, rather than facing away from you. Check out the image below, the button you’re looking for is circled but it might be in a different place on your phone. Now you should be able to see your lovely face on screen!

2. Angle your phone: Don’t worry, the front facing camera takes a bit of getting used to. To start with, you might not see the most flattering angle of your face! Its ok, you can readjust the phone position to find a better view. Hold the phone out at arm’s length directly in front of you. Keep your face in the middle of the screen with your eyes at eye level. Now you can try tilting your head to the side or tilting the phone to get a nice picture. It’s best to hold the phone quite far from your face unless you’re looking for a close-up!

3. Take the photo: Make a big smile and click the same button you would do if you were taking a normal photo. It’s usually a big round button at the bottom of the screen. On some phones, you can even use the volume button on the side to take a photo more easily. 

4. Retake the photo: If you’re not happy with your first attempt, take another. You don’t have to love the photo but it’s important to feel accurately represented. The more photos you take, the more comfortable you’ll feel with the concept. Most selfie-takers will tell you that sometimes it can take 50 attempts before settling on the right photo! So don’t worry if you take a lot of pictures. You can easily delete them from your camera roll after by selecting the button that looks like a trash bin. 

5. Send the photo: It’s got to go somewhere right! Make sure you send it to your loved one. If you take the photo using the camera app on your phone, it should save to your camera roll. Then you can click on the app you are using to communicate with your loved ones. This can be any social media app, maybe Facebook messenger or WhatsApp. Select the person you would like to send the photo to – you probably already have a conversation on the go with them. Every app is slightly different but generally, there should be an icon that looks like a picture/landscape. This indicates your stored pictures. Selecting this option should show you your camera roll where you have saved your selfie. Select this picture and hit send.

Some Do’s and Don’ts!

 
Lighting

The best way to take a good, quick selfie is to find some good lighting. Lighting makes so much difference to a photo. Stand somewhere there is natural light, shining from the side – not directly above your head. 

Flash vs No Flash

Usually,  the flash function on your camera will wash out your face and make your eyes go red like a demon. Not always though. Click the little lightning bolt option on your phone screen to experiment having the flash on or off. 

No Photoshop

In this crazy world of selfies we now live in, there are apps you can use to edit your appearance. Take it from us, you don’t need to do that. Your beautiful face does not need editing and your little ones will love you, just as you are. Teach them confidence and self-care by proudly presenting your realistic photo. 

The Benefits of Sharing your Selfie with your Loved One

Studies show that babies and young children LOVE faces. It’s one of the first things they start to connect with when they are born. Maybe you’ve experienced this yourself, making silly faces to babies to get them to laugh. This isn’t just entertainment, this is a learning exercise for the little one. Faces are integral to the first few stages of their development. As they grow, their language skills develop. Focus is drawn towards the mouth as they begin learning words and relating these words to meaning. 

To Conclude

It might be scary at first, it might feel weird or just too difficult, but we promise, you’ll get the hang of it. You’ll be sending selfies without a second thought and your little one will be delighted. 

About Alex Meade

Alex Meade is a freelance writer, living in Portugal. Originally from England, she likes to spend her days in the water, improving her surfing skills or learning to wing foil. When she’s not writing or surfing, she teaches yoga near the local beach. You can find more about alex here

About Peekabond

Anieke Lamers, our CEO created Peakabond at the onset of Covid-19. A mobile app to help global families bond with young children remotely. Inspiring families to create playful and engaging moments with young children.

Asynchronous video connection and inspirational science-based content suggestions. Allowing families and loved ones to share small moments and build better bonds. Every play experience is designed with care and approved by child development experts. Always age appropriate. Always private and secure, never showing ads. Our intention is to build a movement that connects families across borders and over generations. To try storytelling activities at Peekabond go here.