Rochelle Humes' six-year-old daughter Valentina left an adorable note offering her mum support while her husband Marvin is in the I'm A Celebrity Jungle and an expert shares her tips for parents looking to help kids cope with any kind of change at home.
Most families have one parent who spends time away from the home due to work or elderly relative caring commitments and that means the day-to-day parenting and the mental load can fall on the shoulders of the mum or dad who remains at home to look after the kids.
Megan Fox opened up on the reality of co-parenting admitting she finds it "hard" being away from her kids, and parents like This Morning host Rochelle who holds the fort while Marvin is temporarily working away, you might find your parenting style is put to the test.
Rochelle, who is mum of three to daughters Alaia, 10, Valentina "Valle", six, and son Blake, three, has shared an adorable note from her middle child Valle, (it's beautifully written and you can tell she's understanding her phonics, but we have tweaked the spellings to make it easier to read). It says, "Mummy I will give you a treat because it is hard for you because you are alone so I thought it will help you mummy, love you so much."
Valle continued inside the handmade paper card, "I will make my bed. I will not say 'mummy' all the time. I will help Blake with his homework and play with him and you can relax, it is fine. I will look after Blake. I love you."
She said, "Don’t underestimate how receptive children can be, particularly if they notice changes in dynamics or behaviours at home. Children naturally like a routine therefore any change to their routine can impact them and lead them to question ‘What is the impact of this change on me’. If the reason for the change at home is not clearly explained, they might feel anxious and then create their own narrative of why this change has happened."
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And if you're wondering what you should do to best prepare your children for change, Jade advises, "Remember that children have very little control over their daily routine and changes at home. Therefore, change can feel unsettling to them as they don’t have access to a calendar to know what is going to happen next and when, therefore, it’s important to be mindful and openly communicate changes that are going to occur or disrupt their routine, this will help children to feel more in control and therefore less anxious.
"As humans, we often don’t enjoy the idea of change or uncertainty, therefore, this could make children feel very unsettled so try and approach the idea of change as something fun, to encourage them that change, or difference in routine is not always a bad thing."
If you find yourself in a position where one of you is working away from home, there are some simple steps you can take to ensure the time away isn't too disruptive for your children; here's how to openly communicate what, when and why with your children...
Describe what - Take time to really describe what is going to change (for example one parent is going away for work).
Explain when -Try to explain in an age-appropriate way when this change is going to occur and for how long. [i.e. 'in three sleeps time we will drop daddy at the airport].
Explain why - Children are smart so be open with them, again, this will help your child to feel more in control of the situation rather than feeling uncertain about the unknown which can lead them to feel anxious or stressed.
Reassure them - It is also important to communicate with children that although change might occur at home this does not change that they are still loved and cared for.
Off the back of Valle volunteering to help mum Rochelle more around the home, from making her bed to looking after her younger brother Blake, she has melted fans' hearts.
One fan wrote, "I will look after Blake. What a star." Another fan added, "Daddy is away, so she wants to help you and make life easier, what a sweetie"
And a third fan said, "Omg Rochelle!! That is ridiculously adorable."
Expert psychologist Jade has shared some tips on getting your child to help without making them worry or feel the need to do everything. She advises, "Keep to regular routines as much as you can to prevent them from feeling disrupted.
"Allow children to assist with small household chores if they want to and praise them when they do. However, remain mindful that children feel secure when they perceive their parents to still be in control, rather than roles being reversed and them feeling like they have to take care of their own parents."
And while it's good to keep kids in the loop with changes at home, Jade has a warning to parents about the dangers of "oversharing" when letting your children know you're stressed. She explains, "It can often be useful to let children know that everybody has feelings, however, remain mindful when it comes to oversharing or asking for their opinion or advice and instead find alternative outlets for your stress such as sharing with friends, family, or mental health professionals."
Each parent copes differently with looking after kids on their own but it's still vital that they prioritise some 'me time' among the chaos and Jade has the perfect solutions;
Keep to family’s daily routine as much as possible - seek out some additional support if possible whether that is through grandparents, family members, friends or school.
Plan ahead- for example prepare meals in advanced to make your life easier during times when your partner is away and try to plan fun activities to keep your children entertained.
Finally, make sure you get out the house - it can be easy to get overwhelmed when you are taking on full parenting responsibility at home so make sure to break up your week or day by venturing out the house either with your children or for some much needed ‘me time’. It can be something as simple as going for a walk.
In other family news, "I appreciate your opinion, but you've got to calm down" Beyoncé's gentle parenting technique has gone viral and the internet is loving it and how best to deal with family conflicts according to a relationship expert - and #2 is vital (even if it’s easier said than done).