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Home is now the place to work, study & play

Now that schools in the UK have been partially closed to help slow the spread of Covid-19, children with their parents and carers now have little choice but to be at home all together and adjust to a new way of life.  Everything for everyone has changed, our daily routines, which we have followed for years have disappeared literally overnight.

Young people feel it too

The impact of Covid-19 is now being felt by everyone and just like adults, children and young people can feel worried and become anxious too.  It’s important for parents and carers to provide constant reassurance as our young people are being overloaded with information. The news reports detailing the number of new cases and how the disease is spreading; the vision of seeing people in their local supermarket wearing face masks; and the changing environment around them as businesses shut their doors. 

Be there to answer questions

As parents and carers it’s your role to help your children to process and understand everything they are seeing and hearing.  This can be done by keeping them informed with fact based information that explains what is happening around them, rather than them trying to interpret the changing world by themselves.

What to tell them?

  • Be honest when answering their questions, but avoid overloading them with information as it can be overwhelming. Share with them what they need to know and what you think is appropriate for their age.

What if you don’t know the answer to their question?

  • It’s ok not to have all the answers. Tell them what you know and what you are doing as a family to keep safe.  These messages can be reinforced by what you are doing as part of your daily routine.

How do I encourage my child to ask questions?

  • Create an opportunity for them to ask you questions about the coronavirus, but avoid prompting.  Listen to your child, give them time, when they are ready they will ask.  When they do, remember the aim is provide reassurance through bite size information not to frighten them.

Realise that you too, may at times feel worried

  • These are uncertain times we are experiencing, so as adults we will experience moments when we feel anxious and worried.  At such times, take a minute to yourself and process your thoughts.  It important not too share such times with your child at they are looking to you for reassurance and comfort. 

Avoid information overload

  • Although it is important to keep informed about Covid-19, try and limit the amount time your family is exposed to the news and social media platforms that are constantly streaming updates about the virus. The content will only increase stress, so it’s good to ensure you step away.

Provide constant reassurance

  • Children and young people are very resilient and may appear unaffected.  However, it is important to keep communicating, chat regularly about what is happening and let them know you are there.

Develop a routine

  • Everyone is having to adjust how they are living. Work together to develop a routine that meets and supports everyone’s needs.  By having a daily plan your child will know what you are going to be doing, which builds certainty, helping everyone to feel safe and secure.  The key to a successful routine is to stick to it!

The best thing anyone and everyone can do currently is to keep talking, keep your family connected and aware of how everyone is feeling.  By listening and talking to each other, you’ll help your home and family to stay calm and safe.

For further advice and guidance around looking after your families mental health, specific to the impact of the Coronavirus