#StandUpForEarlyYears: How my WhatsApp group got me through lockdown
Tuesday, June 16, 2020
Nursery manager Emma Davis tells how she got the support she needed in the coronavirus lockdown from her early years colleagues in a WhatsApp group
Like many, I found lockdown an incredibly challenging time. Juggling work, overseeing the home learning of my teenagers and the general anxiety around COVID-19 has meant there have been some fractious times.
With an ever-increasing feeling that I need to do more and be better, I’ve needed space to offload and seek reassurance. This was especially necessary on days when I felt I just wasn’t doing enough to support children and families, knocking my confidence and making me feel inadequate.
My support came in the form of a WhatsApp group, just three of us who are all involved in early years in one way or another. Although we met through Twitter, our group of three took our friendship away from the platform as the relationship became personal as well as professional.
Over the long months of lockdown, this WhatsApp group has been a source of support, advice and laughter. On the tough days as well as the good days, I’ve had a friend in my phone to connect with and share.
Not a day has gone by where we’ve not been in touch and this has certainly helped me through. Sometimes it’s voice notes which can often turn into mammoth conversations, other times it’s a quick check in at the beginning of the day.
It’s been hugely reassuring to have someone to go to who understands, whether it's fretting over risk assessments, feeling guilty about my setting being closed or concerns about coming into contact with the virus, they’ve been an outlet for my worries and stress.
I’ve found it really does help to talk about my anxieties - this alleviates my overthinking, enabling me to frame my worries and put them into perspective.
Our shared love of the early years means our group is a space for reflection and discussion which has helped keep my brain active. We share links to podcasts, blogs, interesting social media accounts and I’ve found this an alternative form of CPD.
It’s also a space for celebration as we’ve each had lockdown successes in our personal and professional lives. Championing each other is something which doesn’t always happen in the digital world, where some are quick to bring others down. We need people in our lives who have our back, who can help us pick up the pieces when things go wrong, but also help us acknowledge our strengths.
I know as I progress with new opportunities, these two will have my back. Whether it’s as a critical friend or to motivate me to achieve, they will be there cheering me on.
- Emma Davis is nursery manager and teacher at Busy Bees Ledbury.
- See more on Nursery World's #StandUpForEarlyYears campaign