Organising with our mental health in mind. Interview: Andrea Sofroniou, founder of Posiquisitive
I love the Childcare and Education Expo, where I have had the honour to hold workshops twice!
This time, I was listening to an amazing panel and linked with Andrea Sofronio, founder of Posiquisitive. We connected over being small business owners and our passion for supporting children and their families. I interviewed her on how we can organise our rooms and routines with our mental health in mind.
How did Posiquisitive come about?
Throughout my career working with children, I have always strived in building children's confidence, self esteem and allowing them the opportunities to learn, explore and discover the world around them. This in hand, creates an inquiring mind along with a positive attitude and mindset. It was only fitting then, to combine the two, to formulate the business Posiquisitive. With regards to the business itself, I have worked with children in a range of capacities for many years, through teaching, fostering and supporting parents/carers along the way. More recently through teaching, I have had so many people reach out to me for advice, support, guidance and felt that I needed to make use of knowledge and experience to create a business that encompasses everything I love- by supporting those who may need encouragement, support and or real life suggestions to suit their individual situations, whether it be establishing routines, weaning, mental well-being, SEN support, support behaviour and self-regulation, creating a learning environment...
What things can we add to our day routines to support our children's mental health after lockdown?
Unfortunately, after lockdown many of our children became more dependant and used more devices and technology. This creates an ethos where 'real life' is somewhat alien and more difficult. With regards to routines, use the skills we learnt through lockdown and fit in time to be together. Whether it is a walk on the weekend or trip to the park- walking and talking is a great opportunity to find out more about your child, how they think, what they enjoyed or like doing in their day, friendship groups... and also allows you to share also. Bedtimes is a great way to fit in talking time, to reflect on the day and discuss tomorrow. Stories open up huge opportunities for discussions so start bedtime a bit earlier than usual. There are a few strategies that also help with anxiety and these can be discussed further for individual cases but I found that recording in a diary or on a calendar, very useful, liaising with the school teachers, support systems that are in place so that you are all working together with the same aim in mind. Encouraging your child to invite friends round or organising playdates helps to alleviate anxiety- creates a link from school to home.
We often overlook our own mental health, what can we add or indeed take out of our routines for our health as parents/caregivers?
As a full time, single mother, I understand how important it is for you to make time for you, in order to be a better parent and give your child the best f you. This is easier said than done as we also have 'parent guilt' but it is necessary for the good of your child. Firstly, take a look at your weekly routine... what do you have to do?- work, school runs... What can you do to give yourself time?- this could be as simple as doing online shopping instead of going into the store, making a weekly menu to make this quicker and easier- then you can prepare meals in advance possibly also. If you have more than one child, story time could be together or depending on age, spend time with each and then use an audio book to complete bedtime, so that you can manage it all. Establishing a routine for daily chores also- laundry, ironing... that way the pressure doesn't pile up.
Having a good network around you is very important. Make time to speak to friends, family- to offload without judgement. Try to meet up with friends/family or do things that you enjoy at least once a month- something to look forward to, can also be with the children. With your routine, fit some time for you, whether it is 10mins before bed to read a book, a bubble bath, a Netflix series... even going for a walk on your own with music or with a friend.
Positive thinking and attitude are life skills- what do you advise on making this become a habit?
This is easier said than done but I am a believer in positive energy and what you give out, will come back. Creating a positive workforce, mindset, attitude is all about perception and perspective. I tend to look at all of the things in my life that are most important, such as my children, family, friends and if things become too much, then I try to plan or book something to look forward to- doesn't need to cost money, could be arts and crafts with the children, a walk in a forest, museum... I have also found that it is important to eliminate as much negativity as possible, this includes people who affect your mental well-being.
Balancing work and life again is about adjusting our routines and habits, what are your three top tips to help parents and caregivers?
Planning is essential for balancing work and home- planning meals, planning time (for you, family time and work), planning school runs and clubs. Make time to spend as a family together, whether it is cooking together, story time, activities... (discuss these together and make it manageable and realistic) If they are part of your daily routine, it won't feel so strenuous or difficult to fit in.
Have something to look forward to, whether daily, weekly, monthly- doesn't need to be costly, playdates, walks, there are so many groups out there now where you can team up.
Prioritise what is important- make lists and tick them off, set realistic time frames, do not let work interfere with time set for your family. Make connections, links with people (family, friends, other parents) who can support you with childcare or who you can do things together with. It is easier when you are not alone.
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All posiquisitive children
And lastly, if you would like support to organise your rooms and routine with children in mind, I have in-person and online packages or just buy the book! https://www.amazon.co.uk/More-Organising-Become-Independent-Easier/dp/B09PW2D1WC