Month: June 2015
Supporting Kids in FIFO Families
Families that live in a Fly In Fly Out lifestyle can find it difficult to manage a consistent routine and feel connected to the family member when they are absent. This can cause stress or anxiety among the adults and/or children in the family. Therefore the following are some ideas of ways to maintain a routine and ensure that all members of the family can have a presence despite being away at work.
Routine ideas to build in consistency despite rosters:
- Keep a consistent morning, afternoon and bed time routine every day. Have a picture schedule of all the things that need to be done so both parents and children can follow step by step.
- Include the absent dad/mum in the routine when they are away; such as record them reading a story that can be played at night.
- Utilise technology to make video calls or send short videos to each other; such as skype, facetime, whatsapp etc.
- Have a calendar visible with the dates that the parent will be home/away so the kids can track the progress of the FIFO schedule and feel prepared.
- Have a goodbye and welcome home activity that is done each time the parent leaves/comes back.
Calming ideas to reduce anxiety in children affected by disruption:
- Create opportunities to practice feeling calm throughout your daily routine such as; listen to relaxation music before going to bed.
- Exercise and movement is the main factor that reduces stress and calms children/adults. Ensure kids get a chance to play and exercise everyday to reduce the feelings on anxiety and/or uncertainty.
- Create a quiet calm place, such as small tent or canopy, where the kids can escape to when feeling stressed.
Connection ideas to foster strong relationships:
- Write a letter to mum/dad to tell him about your day (great way to practice handwriting!).
- Make a photo/scrap book together of all the things that have been doing while mum/dad are away to show when they get back. Collect items such as tickets, empty packets, leafs etc of where you have been to put in the book.
- Utilise technology to make stories of what has happened whilst mum/dad is away such as Pictello, StripDesigner, Creative Book Builder, Kid in Story Book Maker etc.
- Use a special ‘messenger toy’ such as a doll, which the child can talk to which will magically pass on all the things the child would like to say to their absent parent.
Check out some picture cards that can be printed out and put on the fridge as ideas to use at home, found on my website in the downloads section.
Want to learn more or get support for your family? Contact us to get an appointment with one of our therapists. We have no waitlist!