The wellbeing of children and their families is of paramount importance. Below are some tips and resources as well as links to places that can offer additional support as you navigate through this difficult time.
Helping children and young people cope with stress
There are some key points you can consider about how to support your child or young person, including:
Listen and acknowledge: Children and young people may respond to stress in different ways. Signs may be emotional (for example, they may be upset, distressed, anxious, angry or agitated), behavioural (for example, they may become more clingy or more withdrawn, or they may wet the bed), or physical (for example, they may experience stomach aches). Look out for any changes in their behaviour. Children and young people may feel less anxious if they are able to express and communicate their feelings in a safe and supportive environment. Children and young people who communicate differently to their peers may rely on you to interpret their feelings. Listen to them, acknowledge their concern and give them extra love and attention if they need it.
MindEd is a free online educational resource on children and young people’s mental health for all adults, which can support parents and carers through these exceptional circumstances.
Be aware of your own reactions: Remember that children and young people often take their emotional cues from the important adults in their lives, so how you respond to the situation is very important. It is important to manage your own emotions and remain calm, listen to and acknowledge children and young people’s concerns, speak kindly to them, and answer any questions they have honestly.
Connect regularly: If it is necessary for you and your children to be in different locations to normal (for example, due to staying at home in different locations or hospitalisation) make sure you still have regular and frequent contact via the phone or video calls with them. Try to help your child understand what arrangements are being made for them and why in simple terms. Support safe ways for children and young people to maintain social interaction with their friends, for example via phone or video calls.
Create a new routine: Life is changing for all of us for a while. Routine gives children and young people an increased feeling of safety in the context of uncertainty, so think about how to develop a new routine, especially if they are not at school. You could use the suggested daily timetable to help you do this. Why not make a visual timetable with your child using simple pictures and words so they know what is happening each day?
Limit exposure to media and talk more about what they have seen and heard: Like adults, children and young people may become more distressed if they see repeated coverage about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the media. A complete news blackout is also rarely helpful as they are likely to find out from other sources, such as online or through friends. Try to avoid turning the television off or closing web pages when children or young people come into the room. This can peak their interest to find out what is happening and their imagination can take over. Instead, consider limiting the amount of exposure you and your family have to media coverage
Government guidance on supporting children and young people's health and well being
This webpage links to a range of resources and advice to support parents and carers during this challenging time.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is affecting everyone’s daily lives. Regardless of their age, this may be a difficult time for children and young people. Some may react right away, while others may show signs of difficulty later on. How a child or young person reacts can vary according to their age, how they understand information and communicate, their previous experiences, and how they typically cope with stress. Negative reactions may include worrying thoughts about their health or that of family and friends, fear, avoidance, problems sleeping, or physical symptoms such as stomach-ache. During this time, it’s important that we all take care of our own and family’s mental health. Public Health England have produced some guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak.
Resources for children
The Children's Commissioner
There have been big changes in our lives because of coronavirus, so the children's commissioner has created a children’s guide to coronavirus to help explain the situation.
The guide aims to answer children’s questions about coronavirus, tell children how to stay safe and protect other people and how to help them make the best of their time at home
MindHeart Co: Story Book for Under 7’s on COVID-19
This short free to download online book, is designed to support and reassure children, under the age of 7, about COVID-19. This book is an invitation for families to discuss the full range of emotions arising from the pandemic. The story book is available in a wide range of languages.
Resources for parents and carers
Supporting your child and taking care of yourself
Every Mind Matters : NHS Mental Health Support
As well as thinking about the children or young people in your care, it is important to take care of your own mental health and wellbeing. Children and young people react, in part, to what they see from the adults around them. When parents and carers deal with a situation calmly and confidently, they can provide the best support for their children and young people.
Place2Be: Improving children's mental health
A comprehensive guide to helping parents answer questions from their children and to support family wellbeing
Mental Health Foundation: Looking after your own mental health
The Mental Health Foundation’s website provides easy to read top tips and practical suggestions about how adults can manage their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is particularly useful for those working from home, self-isolating or shielding.
If you are in need of further support for the mental health of yourself or a family member, the following contact details may be useful:
Samaritans provide confidential, non-judgemental emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.
You can call the Samaritans on: 116 123 (freephone, landlines and mobile)
As Headteacher of Morpeth All Saints Church of England First School, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you to our vibrant, caring and happy school. At Morpeth All Saints we strive to enable all children within our care to achieve their very best, fully utilising their God given gifts and talents.Read More of the school welcome page