We are currently facing an unusual and difficult time. We are isolated from friends and family, some of whom we may feel need our support now more than ever. We are working from home, home schooling or continuing to work with the added worries that social distancing creates. Many of us will be experiencing a huge range of emotions daily (and sometimes all a once!). This is a completely normal human reaction when facing such a huge wrench to our usual routines and lifestyles. Our children will be feeling the same.
At school we frequently talk to children about issues that might be affecting them or that they might have heard about and become concerned about. Children talk to their teachers readily because they do not feel as emotionally connected to them as they are to their families and so are less concerned by their reaction. Research into child mental health has shown that often children will work to shield their families from their worries just as we do as parents to our children. Talking about our concerns or at least acknowledging that they exist, is important and supports young brains in making healthy connections. During this period of self-isolation / social distancing we thought you might appreciate some ideas to support your child with what will be a very difficult situation to understand for them on many levels. Hopefully you will find the ideas below helpful in supporting your children to understand and process this situation and helpful to you as well. Remember that looking after your own mental health and wellbeing is essential!
Activities for Children
Cosmic Kids Yoga: sign up to get 2 weeks free!
Childhood101: lots of great ideas for things to do during our time at home. Check out the Neighbourhood Scavenger Hunt and the Lego mosaics!
Big Life Journal: 5 fun mindfulness activities
Mindful Colouring: A free downloadable colouring book
Kids Yoga Stories: A PDF booklet of mindfulness exercises and yoga poses to try
Information for children about Coronavirus
These links are to sites which provide child-friendly information about Covid-19.
Newsround: a website for the popular children's news programme, which provides child friendly advice and information about Coronavirus. Perfect for Key Stage 2!
First News: Information about Coronavirus for young people from the children's newspaper.
Nosycrow book: a picture book to explain the Coronavirus pandemic, illustrated by Axel Sheffler (The Gruffalo)
Everybody Worries: A picture book for children worried about Coronavirus.
Dave the Dog is Worried About Coronavirus: A book for children about coronavirus that aims to give information without fear, written by nurses.
Childline: Information about Coronavirus for children and advice about what to do if you are feeling anxious.
These sites provide support and advice to parents and carers during the pandemic, to support your mental health.
Mental Health Foundation: support to help you manage your own wellbeing
Headspace: Free meditations for New York resident affected by Coronavirus, but relevant to all of us.
Developing Child: Advice about how to care for your own and your child's mental health and wellbeing
Emotion Coaching e-learning: A free course to introduce the process of Emotion Coaching from EHCAP, with whom we took part in the Somerset Emotion Coaching Project.
Use these links to support your children's mental health and wellbeing.
Thinkuknow: Support for helping children navigate the online world safely.
Anna Freud: self-care ideas for young people.
Emerging Minds: Links and ideas to help support children worried about Covid-19.
Relax Kids: Free resources to support children's mental health and wellbeing, including mindful audio downloads and activities.
Advice to help you support your child's learning while enforced closure of schools is in place.
Somerset Parent Carer Forum: Provides information and support for parents and carers of children with Special Educational Needs / Disability. The Covid19 page has links to other organisations and suggestions on how to talk to children about the current situation and managing anxiety.
Department for Education: Guidance and links to websites providing a range of resources and advice.
I Can Communicate: This website has some useful activities to support speech and language for younger children. Follow ‘A message to our supporters on Coronavirus’ link to find activities to help develop speaking and listening.
Emotional Literacy Support: The ELSA website has some useful free resources on managing feelings, times of anxiety and frustration.
Here is a link to a weekly SEND newsletter supplies by the County Council - weekly letter
Contact details for outside services who may be able to support you during this time.
Educational Psychology Service Helpline for Parents
Whilst COVID-19 continues to present us all with challenges, the Educational Psychology Service are operating a helpline for parents to contact our service. If you become aware of a family experiencing issues including any of the following, then please invite them to contact us on EPSHelpline@somerset.go.uk to arrange a free 30 min consultation. Concerns from families may include:
- Anxiety around COVID-19 and the impact it is having on their children and family
- Supporting parents/carers to support their child’s emotional needs
- Concerns about family relationships
- Concerns about friendships, learning, daily structure and activities