“Nothing prepared me for the impact lockdown would have on my daughter” Alex Brown talks to ParentFolk
Worried what impact lockdown 3.0 is having on your child? There’s no doubt that 10 months of the pandemic has taken its toll on us all, and our kids are no exception. Mother, and Founder of Believer Achiever, Alex Brown, shares her thoughts on getting kids to open up, and how launching her business in the pandemic helped her own daughter too.
How are children being impacted by this lockdown?
Children are being impacted again by the sudden “pause” in life, from their education to their social and emotional wellbeing. Children will be feeling sensitive to the current situation and feelings can become heightened during periods of uncertainty. As school, for many, is a safe haven, so this transitional period of being back to home schooling is particularly challenging. We have all been experiencing this collective trauma, an adverse experience that is completely out of our hands, so parents and children are operating in survival mode.
Why is important to talk with kids about how they are feeling?
When we are in survival mode, genuine connection with ourselves and others brings us to a calmer more regulated place. It’s important for children to know they are not alone in how they are feeling and that it’s ok to have good and not so good days. Children also respond to feeing understood so talking allows them to explore their feelings and process difficult emotions.
How can we best support our kids right now?
Children need to be reassured that it’s ok to feel the way they are. Taking time out of our day to reflect and explore their emotions can give them this reassurance and engaging on a daily basis helps them to regulate overwhelming feelings.
As some children can become introverted when their feelings are heightened, giving them space to talk in a situation they feel in control of, can help them to open up.
The PepTalk® Pillow, a conversation starter on a pillowcase, is an easy way to have a daily check-in. Whether you have 2 or 20 mins, it creates quality time to talk, listen and problem solve together. Helping your child explore feelings around their day, how they see themselves, their memories and their dreams.
Why did you launch Believer Achiever?
My 9 year old daughter suffered with anxiety before Covid but nothing prepared me for the impact the pandemic would have on her mental health. I knew she needed something positive to focus on so we decided we would start a business together, Believer Achiever, with a mission to help tackle childhood anxiety and build self-confidence.
The inspiration for our first product, the PepTalk® Pillow came before Covid. I was working full time and struggling to find the headspace outside of work to give my daughter the emotional support she needed. To solve this problem we had the idea of putting a conversation starter on a pillowcase. A nightly reminder to talk, with prompts to shape a fun and meaningful conversation at bedtime.
The first lockdown became the catalyst for taking it from an idea, into production.
How is helping children around the UK?
We’ve heard from so many parents who have found the PepTalk® Pillow to be a game changer during the pandemic, one parent told me “I was struggling to get my son to open up but I knew he was dealing with lots of anxiety and negativity so the best thing about the pillow for me is that he is leading the conversations each night and reminding me to use it before lights out. He looks forward to our chats and the questions prompt all sorts of discussions we wouldn’t usually have. I love that they often lead to funny stories and anecdotes from his day that he wouldn’t usually share.”
The PepTalk Pillow has also supported children through challenging circumstances such as a little girl grieving after losing her beloved grandma and siblings whose parents were going through a separation. It is also been used in child therapy. Rachel Bloggs MA UKCP, Child and Adolescent Psychologist uses it in her practice “The PepTalk Pillow encourages children to tap into their thoughts and feelings. I’ve found it enhances self-esteem, resilience and is a really great tool to help with emotional regulation. My favourite section is ‘Your Dreams’, it’s so lovely to see the children I work with look inwards and see themselves in a positive way, as well as being able to have conversations about difficult feelings.”