Since social distancing measures have been put in place, I’ve been blown away by how businesses and individuals have used technology to bring people and communities together. Over the coming weeks I’m going to shine a light on the individuals, organisations, resources and platforms I’ve come across who are making life a little easier in these uncertain times. I’ll be covering everything from motherhood and parenting; ‘sharing’ apps and organisations; resources to keep your kids occupied at home while attempting to not only home-school but to also do your day job!
It was seeing the fantastic idea from Katie and Sarah the co-founders of Mush – a social networking app and website for mums – on Instagram, that gave me the idea of sharing some of the other current initiatives designed to keep mums connected and supported. The idea of virtual meet-ups for pregnant and new mums is such a simple but profound idea. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever felt as vulnerable as I did when I was pregnant or in the first months when our twins arrived in the world. Being able to speak to other pregnant or new mums would have been amazing during that time – hence why I just love the fact that Mush are holding these daily virtual meet-ups on zoom.
Below are a few more ideas and tips for mums (and dads!) to stay connected and use as resources – not only for ideas on home-schooling while remote working – but also to protect your mental health and your well-being. We all need support – now more than ever.
It is by no means a definitive list, so please share suggestions below in comments!
- Family Lockdown Tips & Ideas: A wonderful group set up in the last week by two busy parents (one a teacher) with two children under the age of six. They, and the community – now at just under 1 million in number! – are posting ideas and suggestions for indoor and garden activities that you can do with your children. They cover everything from crafts, to challenges, to cooking, to indoor sports, games and more.
- Local nurseries and schools: It is worth checking out their Facebook pages, in particular the comments sections. This is a brilliant way of finding out about local family support groups, virtual meet-ups and resources available to families locally. The community tabs for nurseries and schools are often full of ideas you may not have thought of yet or answers to questions you are struggling with.
- Whatsapp groups: As parents we all know how invaluable a school Whatsapp group can be during term time. Whether it is helping with drop-offs and pick-ups, school trips and events or the many, many birthday parties our kids attend over a year – Whatsapp groups can be really useful. Just because the school gates may be closed doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still use those groups as a valuable support tool. It just takes one person to send that first message to get the group engaged!
- Gingerbread: A fantastic resource for single parents. The community tab links you with other single parents in your local area and provides a well-populated forum to reach out to for ideas and advice. It also contains loads of external links and details of organisations that might also be useful.
- YoungMinds: A fantastic mental health site for parents – with loads of resources, across many different areas, to help you support your children’s mental health. It also includes ten top tips about talking to your kids about the coronavirus, which gives advice on how to reassure your children but at the same time give them the tools and information to keep them safe.
- NHS UK: An incredible resource for a variety of mental health organisations – easy to navigate and find exactly the help you may need.
- Everymummatters.com: This is an organisation based mainly in the north of England providing expert mental health support for mums. If you know of any similar organisations it would be wonderful if you would share details below or on my channels.
- Community groups: I came across quite a few brilliant networks including: Asian Mums Network, the Peanut app and of course, Mumsnet. All of these groups are being so proactive and informative with their communities during this time of crisis and social distancing – so definitely check them out.
These groups also have details on faith-based groups. With churches, mosques, synagogues and religious meeting rooms closed during lockdown, many families miss the human and spiritual connection and support they gain through worship. These larger community sites are a great resource for finding about more about faith-based groups online in your local area.
While we’re in isolation, it’s more important than ever to stay connected. Let’s make the experience a little easier and share our collective knowledge. What have you found helpful while social distancing?