Juggling the different priorities of work and family life, especially during the pandemic, can cause heightened levels of stress.
This can start to impact on the wellbeing of staff members who have parental responsibilities.
Help for this half-term
Children may have differing responses to the current pandemic, and their level of understanding will vary depending on age, location and how much exposure they have had to sources of information such as the media and social media. It is important to be aware of changes in behaviour, which may indicate levels of stress or anxiety.
Children benefit from the support of routine, so it is important to maintain familiar routines in daily life as much as possible, or create new routines. They will also benefit from a sense of control around the current situation, so explaining to them what can be done, such as maintaining good hand hygiene, can help them feel more secure.
During times of stress and crisis, it is common for children to seek more attachment and be more demanding on parents. Discuss coronavirus with your children honestly and use age appropriate language. Your children will observe how you react and learn from that so try to remain calm and show them that things are going to be ok.
Help children find positive ways to express feelings such as fear and sadness. Every child has their own way to express emotions. Sometimes engaging in a creative activity, such as playing, and drawing can facilitate this process. Children feel relieved if they can express and communicate their feelings in a safe and supportive environment.
Cues-ed's Looking After Ourselves page have useful resources for children to go through.
This page goes hand-in-hand with the guidance for parents.
Children with special educational needs
Children and others with special educational needs, may benefit from additional support to help them understand what is going on. Carol Gray has produced a helpful social story, and another social story is available here.
Emerging Minds, based in Australia, have also created some useful documents for talking to your children about natural disasters and COVID-19. There is a helpful information here, and print outs with some key information about talking to your children about the virus, as well as how to help them cope with their anxiety around it.
Swansea Bay University Health Board have created a resource for parents of children with additional needs during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Cardiff and Vale University Health Board have created a booklet to support children with learning disability/ASD during COVID-19.
Louise Acker and colleagues at East London NHS Foundation Trust have created a video resource for supporting neurodiverse children in challenging times such as during self-isolation.
The HospiChill app has been developed by psychologists in Scotland. It has lots of relaxation activities/animations which have been very useful and popular with children and young people with a range of abilities.
Supporting Young People
Researchers in mental health have teamed up with Aardman Animations to launch a new campaign aimed at supporting the wellbeing of 17- to 24-year-olds. The What’s Up With Everyone? campaign features a series of short animations touching on five broad issues which affect young people – perfectionism, loneliness, social media, competitiveness and independence.
This campaign was co-produced with and for young people, aiming to increase mental health literacy.
Kooth.com is an online mental wellbeing community where children and young people can access free, safe and anonymous support.
Guidance and resources
- PHE guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak
- PHE factsheet and video for children on coronavirus
- World Health Organisation handout about how to help your children cope during the pandemic
- Unicef advice about how to support your children
- Dr Ranj, from Cbeebies, discusses how to talk to your children about coronavirus in this helpful video
- Dr Jon Goldin from the Royal College of Psychiatrists offers advice for supporting young people with anxiety problems during the COVID-19 crisis
- The CDC has developed some workbooks for helping children cope with a disaster, which can be found here and here
- Psychologists from the British Psychological Society have produced guidance for key workers and their children on navigating the emotional effects of the Covid-19 pandemic: When your parent is a key worker. They have also developed advice about Talking to children about coronavirus
- Here is a short book to support and reassure children who are under the age of 7: Covibook. Also available in Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, French, Hebrew, Indonesian, Turkish, German, Arabic, Russian, Romanian, Persian, Dutch, Chinese, Japanese, Croatian, Danish, Serbian, Greek, and Hungarian: Covibook in other languages
- Apart of Me: an app for young people to feel safe and hear stories of people who have had similar experiences following a bereavement.
- Corona Kids support children and young people who have a close family member in prison.
- Overcoming has information about child and adolescent mental health and ways to help your child. The books within the Overcoming series use methods based on clinical practice and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
- Good Thinking's 'Five ways to wellbeing for children and young people' guide is targeted at 11-16 olds and give tips and tricks that they can adopt in their everyday life to improve their mental health and wellbeing.
- Useful information on how to manage home schooling and working: Home schooling and Working
- Empowering Parents Empowering Communities (EPEC) fantastic YouTube series, 'Being a Parent' covers different topics relating to the challenges of parenthood.
- Families Under Pressure: a collection of short animated videos with various evidence-backed tips and tricks designed for families.
- Cityparents has expert-led resources that support parents and professionals in their work and home lives.