Looking after your family’s emotional wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak
Help children understand what’s going on
Look after your own and others’ emotional wellbeing
Lots of children are very sensitive to what is happening around them, and it’s important to look after your own emotional wellbeing. Our main emotional support webpage and this Mind webpage have practical, helpful tips.
Positive ways to learn at home
School closures and self-isolation means that many families are spending more time together at home, which can be positive and challenging. Your child’s school will share learning materials and there are lots of ways to spend your time together. These ideas below might help:
There are lots of online learning resources you can use with your child and there are plenty of ideas on our dedicated FaceBook page. These may help to get you started:
- Home-school schedule planner
- Go Noodle
- Cosmic Kids Yoga
- Scholastic learn at home resources
- Duolingo for fun language learning
- Khan Academy for education videos
- This huge list of online educational resources
- Twinkle with lots of printable free resources
Informal learning ideas
- Help your child to learn new skills by doing things together around the house and garden. E.g. growing plants and vegetables, cooking and baking, knitting and sewing, DIY and painting etc.
- Go on virtual visits to museums and art galleries, watch streamed theatre productions and use online resources like NASA’s archive.
- Find and follow your favourite museums, attractions, farms etc on social media. Many will be posting videos and interesting ‘behind the scenes’ footage.
- Read or listen to books together or follow authors on social media who are reading their books aloud.
- Take an online course together. There are many free ones online.
- Get creative together e.g. painting, sewing, crafting, or playing instruments.
- Put on a play or musical performance for an audience of family over Skype.
- Play board and card games, do jigsaws, sudoku, crosswords and puzzles.
- Watch your child’s favourite YouTube videos together.
- Dance and sing to your favourite music.
- Get out in the garden or fresh air as much as you can (staying safe and following social distancing guidance).
- Help your child to stay connected with their friends by phone if they have one or setting up Skype, FaceTime or WhatsApp calls with their classmates and friends.
- Schedule regular virtual visits with family, so you can stay part of each other's everyday lives.
- Your child could record and share short videos throughout the day and share projects with family and friends.
- Children could get together virtually with friends to play and record music - they could create their own music festival streaming live into each other’s living rooms.
- Let your child spend some time playing video games with their friends, as appropriate for their age and your family.
If your younger child is feeling especially anxious
If you notice that your child is feeling more anxious or worried than usual at the moment, these tips might help:
- Help your child to understand the importance of managing the information they consume, including on YouTube and other Social Media channels. You may have to help them put limits on time spent online.
- Help your child to focus on positive things if they are overly focussing on negatives - for example, talk about the number of people who have recovered from the virus.
- Learn and use calming tools and techniques together:
- There are many mindfulness meditations to try on YouTube for children, ie Cosmic Kids
- If you have bubbles, use them to show your child how to breathe in a gentle, calm way (taking a slow breath in and blowing a long breath out to try to blow a large bubble).
- Use a cuddly toy to help your child learn belly breathing. This animation shows you how.
- Try mindful colouring - there are lots of printables online.
Teenagers may find the isolation of school closure especially difficult as this is a time when they usually enjoy being with friends. There are things you can do that may help.
- Try to encourage daily contact, by video if possible, rather than simply messaging, with friends.
- Help them to accept that it will take time to adjust to the new situation.
- Try to understand they may not openly express their feelings, but show these through their behaviour. If they are willing, encourage them to talk about their feelings and help them to accept that feeling a wide range of emotions at this time is very normal.
- Help them to adapt to a new routine and doing their school work at home by encouraging structure, working in a calm space and plenty of breaks.
- Encourage them to look after the basics of their health, getting plenty of sleep, eating well and going outside once a day to exercise.
- There are some good tips here on supporting teenage mental wellbeing.
- If you become concerned about your teen’s mental health, Young Minds can help.
The charity family lives can help you if you are struggling and need support.
Recommendations of resources and tips to support parents during the current COVID-19 outbreak from Cheshire East Safeguarding Children in Education Team:
- CEOP is a well known and valuable child exploitation resource bank. Given current circumstances they are releasing a new activity pack every 2 weeks to support parents to deliver online safety activities with children at a time when they will be spending more time online at home.
- At present many parents will be juggling childcare with working from home. Top tips for parents working from home:
- The NSPCC has created an information and advice resource for parents/careers of young people with anxiety about Coronavirus.
- Professionals, parents and young people can be directed to the Young Addaction Pan Cheshire social media pages for daily updates, resources, tips and support