Caring for Kids During the Lockdown

What strange and uncharted territory we find ourselves in as parents during the Coronavirus pandemic! While we all grapple with the fears and anxieties of this difficult period in our world, those with children face a specific set of challenges! So, what can we do to help our children weather some of their own emotional challenges in the face of such an unusual and isolated time for them?

While there are some amazing resources available online to explain the Coronavirus to your kids ( ) – it helps to know what to do with them on the ground, day-to-day. I will be posting some of my favourite activity resources for younger kids over the coming days so keep an eye out. Meanwhile – consider the following:

First: develop some routine for your days. The days are going to start blending into one long blur. Having a routine establishes predictability and marks the time for children (and adults) helping them feel safe, secure and like they know what they are doing. Ideally, you can punctuate a lot of free time with a few predictable activities – for example – school work for older children, a few age appropriate chores, structured activities like arts and crafts for all age groups and then fun family events (have a Fancy Friday and all dress in your best evening-wear for dinner, a fun excuse to dust off that old cocktail dress and tux you never have a chance to wear anymore!).

Second: See what emerges in the moments of boredom. We are learning more and more in the science of child development, that a bit of boredom is good for children of all ages. For younger children, play play play! Imaginative, independent play releases energy and allows young children to process what they are experiencing day-to-day, including their worries and fears. For older children who are starting to leave the age of imaginative play, keeping busy is still crucial. Structured routine activities, as above, are part of this, but reading, audiobooks, board games, card games and the odd computer/playstation type game are also good ways to punctuate the day.

Third: Very importantly – keep physically active! Physical exercise is proven to improve mental health and plays an extremely important role in mitigating anxiety and stress on a neurochemical level – for all age groups. Outdoor active play is helpful in affording this. Ball games, riding bikes, bouncing on trampolines and playing catches/tag are good examples. If outdoor play is not an option, some of these types of games can be adapted indoors (think duster hockey, the floor is lava, obstacle courses with couch cushions). There are also a number of free online kids (and adults) exercise and yoga videos becoming available which are fun, healthy and could be great for the whole family to enjoy (and useful for parents to keep moving too!)

Fourth: Stay connected! Luckily we have phones and video calls. Call grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Let kids talk to their friends on video calls and chat – monitored as appropriate. For older children, arranging properly monitored group online gaming sessions can help them connect and keep them busy and even intellectually stimulated (if it is the right sort of game).

Finally: It is okay to dream about the lockdown free future! If children are missing people or activities, think and talk about them and make some plans for once lockdown is over (ensure children know that although we don’t necessarily know when this will be over – it will be over).

Finally, we as parents must remember that WE are our children’s greatest resource in times of change, stress or unpredictability. The best many of us can do for our children is to take care of ourselves. My husband and partner, Andrew has written a bit on this subject at .

If you need to, please reach out! Andrew and I may not be able to invite you to our rooms for face-to-face consultation, but we are both available to make an appointment to meet you online using Zoom or Whatsapp video call. Stay safe and look after yourselves!

How much therapy is enough therapy?

This is a good question to which there is no general answer. How many sessions of therapy you need to attend depends on the individual person and the nature of the problem involved. In general, I adopt an approach of client-led ending – I will wait to raise ending therapy when my client raises the issue him/herself. In my experience this can be after five or six sessions, but often up to a year or more of regular, weekly sessions (50+ consultations).

Research in the area reflects my experience of this. Studies reported by the American Psychological Association ( show that there is no optimal number of sessions – it all depends on the individual case.

I encourage an ongoing conversation about your progress in therapy. If it feels like you are stuck, if the approach is not working, or if you are finding for reasons you can’t quite pin down that you don’t want to come to your sessions, the best thing to do is to raise it with me so we can understand what it is about.

It is normal to feel stuck in therapy at times, and it is normal to feel afraid of change. Even a manifestly positive change can leave people feeling unconsciously vulnerable, and it is natural to resist. I understand this, and I find that a gentle approach to change brings better results that trying to push too fast too soon.

A good psychotherapy process should start with setting goals about what you would like to work on and how long it might take to get there. However, I have found that this plan is one that is refined and elaborated along the way.

The goal for therapy also needs to take into consideration the reality of your budget and was is realistically affordable on a monthly basis. Most of my clients have medical aid which often pays for 15 consultations a year. I do suggest that you don’t rely exclusively on your medical aid for coverage, but plan towards an ongoing budget for your therapy that feels affordable. When we start, we are never sure where we might end up, and it is helpful to settle into a therapy routine where you know that you have the time you need to work through what you need to.

Rates information 2018

Fees (per 50 minute consultation) are 100% of current medical aid rates, which is about R950 per 50 minute session (although the rate varies slightly from scheme to scheme). This rate applies to medical aid claims and EFT payments. A reduced rate of R800 is offered for payments made in CASH at the session. The practice can submit directly to medical aids; however, you remain responsible for your account should your scheme not pay. Payment should be made promptly in these instances. If you prefer to pay in cash, a monthly fee statement for you to submit to your medical aid for reimbursement can be provided.

Career assessments are billed as 4 x 50-minute sessions (about R3800), which includes: an initial intake session, standardized testing and scoring, a comprehensive report, and a feedback session. A reduced rate of R2700 is offered for payments made in CASH at the session.