Supporting children and young people’s wellbeing
In these times it’s hard to know how to help your child understand or make sense of what’s happening. These tips may help you manage any concerns that you may have as well as the children in your care.
- Try and keep yourself calm by practicing some relaxation techniques like yoga or breathing exercises
- Encourage an open environment where children can share their concerns or worries.
- Make sure you get and share information from reputable sources only like the NHS or GOV.UK.
- Eat well and get the children involved with cooking. The BBC Good Food website has some great recipes.
- Be active with your children: take the home learning outside, build an obstacle course or read a book. Or go for a short walk with the advice of the government guidelines
- Sleep is really important: keep to regular bedtime schedules. Practice some breathing or relaxation exercises with them available on the NHS website.
- Children react in different ways so it’s important that we understand this in order to help them.
Try the Five Ways to Wellbeing with your children
The Five Ways to Wellbeing have been proven to help maintain and improve mental health and can be adapted for children at this time too.
Try and include children in the daily calls and check-ins to family and friends. They could make a card to send by email or a video message. This will help them feel connected with people that they used to see everyday and know that they are helping someone by making them smile
It may be hard for children to volunteer but there are still ways that they can give their time. They could write a poem of hope that could be shared on social media, or create artwork to place in windows as that people passing by can see.
There are lots of new things that children can learn during this time. Could they learn a new skill, such as tying their shoelaces, are start to learn a new language? Or keep an account of how many new books they have read (or listened to)?
We have put together links to websites that can help children learn at home:
Its very easy, even for children, to get wrapped up in the news and events which can make you worried and anxious. One way to manage this is to stop looking at/listening to the news and simply look at what is directly around you.
Being outside can help with this as you focus of the sights and smells of the outside space but you can do this inside too. You can make it into an eye-spy game for younger children perhaps or a ‘count how many red things you can see’ game.
Older children could keep a gratitude journal or keep a diary of the wildlife they can see from their window - anything to take their minds off the current situation.
Being physically active is essential for health and wellbeing and whilst its tough staying at home we can still make it fun.
Get outside in the fresh air when you can, go for a walk, run or cycle (or dance or hop?), but remember to obey the social distancing rules at all times and only go with members of your household - do not meet up with friends or family.
If you can't get outside then you can make up games to play inside or do a home workout together – check out Active Leicester on Facebook or the Change for Life website for some good ideas.
All of these things can help children make sense of what’s happening.
ChatHealth will continue during the school closures and gives you a way of speaking to your school nurse, with any worries that you may have about your child – whatever that may be. It is a totally confidential text messaging service (we would only talk to others about your call, if we felt there was a safeguarding issue).
Get in touch by text:
If you live in Leicester
If you live in Leicestershire/Rutland
The service runs 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays. You should get a response within 24 hours. Outside of these hours, you'll receive a message back to inform you that your text will be responded to once the line reopens.
Useful web links
The following websites are aimed at children of different ages with resources such as workbooks to go through with children. It covers things like why they may be feeling worried or angry, and how to acknowledge and manage these emotions.
- Health for under 5s (pre-school children)
- Health for children (aged between 2 and 5)
- Health for teenagers
- ChildLine provides a confidential counselling service through telephone or online support.
Get government guidance
For more information visit GOV.UK - supporting children's mental health.
With children having to stay at home to protect against the coronavirus they are spending more and more time online. This is how they are learning, playing and staying connected with friends and family. It’s even more important to know how to stay safe and responsible online.
The Children’s Commissioner UK has produced some really good advice on how to keep our children safe online, now and for the future.
The Children’s Commissioner digital 5 a day guide is a really good guide to help you and your child get the most out of being online.