Supporting Wellbeing

Take care of yourself

It’s really important right now to take care of your own physical and mental health. Children are very perceptive, and they react to what they sense from the adults around them.

Here are some things you can do to help keep yourself healthy:

Connect with others

Maintain relationships with people you care about through phone, video calls, email or even write letters.

Exercise

Take some time every day to move. You could go for a walk, run or bike ride. You’ll also find lots of fitness videos online for everything from yoga to dance. Find something you enjoy and that makes you feel good.

Eat healthy meals

Try to keep a well-balanced diet and drink plenty of water.

Get some sleep

Being anxious or worried can have a big impact on your sleep. If you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep, try to develop a calming bedtime routine – for example, do 10 minutes of yoga or listen to calming music. There are also apps you can download that provide guided meditation to help you get to sleep more quickly.

Turn off the news

It’s important to keep up to date, but the 24-hour news cycle can make you more anxious. Limit your exposure to the news to only a small amount of time, just enough to know what the latest government guidance is.

Do things you enjoy

Now that we’re all spending more time at home, we can finally take up that hobby we’ve always meant to learn. Try baking, gardening, drawing, reading or some home improvement. These are also great activities we can share with our children.

Set goals

It’s easy to lose track of the days in our current situation, so it can be helpful to set daily and weekly goals to give us a sense of control and purpose. Examples might be setting a goal of walking for half an hour at least 3 times this week or reading a new book.

Connect with the outdoors

Depending on where you live, it may not be possible to spend time outside. If you don’t have a garden or terrace, you can still open a window to let some fresh air and sunlight in. Put a comfortable chair by the window so you can look outside and get some air as you read a book.

Talk to someone

During this difficult time, sharing with family and friends how you’re feeling and what you’re doing to cope can be helpful for both you and them. There are also helplines you can call for support – we’ve included a list at the end of this pack.

How to talk to your child about what’s happening

No matter how calmly you manage the current environment, children are likely to be anxious, so it’s important to talk to them about what’s happening.

Older children will have the same anxieties about their own health and that of their family and friends as younger children. But they’re also likely to feel socially isolated, and worried about the result of school closures on their education and what life will be like after the pandemic is over.

In addition to the steps above:

Reassure them

School will share any updates, including about GCSEs and A-levels, with you and them as soon as we have it – you could also check that they understand the information you’ve received so far, in case there are any points of confusion or worry that the school could help to clarify.

Encourage them to maintain social ties

Relationships are especially important for older children, so give them room to keep in touch with their friends.

Equip them with accurate information

For example:

Mythbusters from the World Health Organization.
Data visualisation pack from Information is Beautiful (regularly updated).
Share tools to help them manage anxiety

YoungMinds: practical steps to take if you're anxious about coronavirus.
Mind: how to take care of your wellbeing when staying home.
If your child struggles with higher levels of anxiety

Some children are naturally more anxious, such as those with existing phobias or obsessive-compulsive disorders. The current situation can make those anxieties worse.

Get them to do activities such as counting, ordering and sorting tasks which can help them calm down.
Encourage them to use relaxation techniques such as controlled breathing.
Look out for obsessive or compulsive behaviours and try to get ahead of them early by challenging unhelpful thoughts and assumptions.

Helplines and websites for children and young people

If your child would like to speak with someone confidentially, there are helplines and websites specifically for them:

Organisation Contact information
YoungMinds
Free, confidential support for parents as well as young people

This charity has opened a dedicated parents’ helpline for confidential, expert advice. You can reach them at 0808 802 5544.
Shout
Free, confidential support via text, available 24/7

Text SHOUT to 85258 in the UK to text with a trained crisis volunteer who’ll provide active listening and collaborative problem-solving.

Kooth
Free, confidential support via text, available 24/7

Go to https://www.kooth.com/ or download the app to chat to friendly counsellors, read articles by other young people, get support from the Kooth community, and write a daily journal.

The Mix
Free confidential telephone helpline and online service that aims to find young people the best help, whatever the problem

Call 0808 808 4994 for free (11am to 11pm daily), access the online community or email The Mix.

ChildLine
Confidential telephone counselling service for any child with a problem

Call 0800 1111 any time for free, have an online chat with a counsellor (9am to midnight daily) or check out the message boards.

Healios
App for 10-18yr old mental health; It is to support young people isolated.

Website: Healios Think Ninja

 

Child Bereavement UK

Bereavement help for children during Covid 19.

Supporting children with bereavement during Covid 19. Further Info Sheets and Supporting Students Info.

 

How to make home learning work for your family

We’re realistic about what pupils will be able to do during this period, and we want you to be too.

You're not expected to become teachers and your children aren't expected to learn as they do in school. Simply providing them with some structure at home will help them to adapt.

The following tips are designed to help you create a positive learning environment at home. See what works best for your household:

Involve your children in setting the timetable where possible. It’s a great opportunity for them to manage their own time better and it’ll give them ownership.
Create and stick to a routine if you can. This is what children are used to. For example, eat breakfast at around the same time and make sure they're dressed before starting the ‘school’ day – avoid staying in pyjamas!
Check in with your children and try to keep to the timetable, but be flexible. If a task/activity is going well or they want more time, let it extend where possible.
If you have more than 1 child at home, consider combining their timetables. For example, they might exercise and do maths together – see what works for your household.
Designate a working space if possible, and at the end of the day have a clear cut-off to signal school time is over.
Stick the timetable up on the wall so everyone knows what they should be doing when, and tick activities off throughout the day.
Take stock at the end of each week. What's working and what isn't? What are the ‘best bits’ of the day/week? Ask your children, involve them too.
Distinguish between weekdays and weekends, to separate school life and home life
Give them chores to do so they feel more responsible about the daily routine at home
Ask them to help you cook, bake, garden etc
Accept that they'll probably watch more TV/spend time on their phone – that's ok but you might want to set/agree some screen time limits
Please don’t worry about your children getting behind with learning. Everyone is in the same boat, and when things get back to normal we’ll make sure we get everyone back on track.

Where to turn to for help

It’s okay to not be okay.

We all need someone to talk to sometimes. If you feel overwhelmed or at risk of abuse, there are people you can call on for support:

Organisation Contact information

Mental Health Foundation
Provides information and support for anyone with mental health problems or learning disabilities.

Website: http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk

Mind
A mental health charity.

Phone: 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm)

Website: http://www.mind.org.uk

 

PAPYRUS
Youth suicide prevention society.

Phone: 0800 068 4141 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 10pm; 2pm to 10pm on weekends and bank holidays)

Website: http://www.papyrus-uk.org

 

Samaritans
Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.

Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)

Website: http://www.samaritans.org.uk

 

SANE
Emotional support, information and guidance for people affected by mental illness, their families and carers.

Website: http://www.sane.org.uk/support

YoungMinds
Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)

Website: http://www.samaritans.org.uk

 

Stronger Families
Programme to help and support families across Leeds and Bradford: Employability & Skills Building, Health & Well-being and Financial Inclusion Support.

Manager: Cath Ormerod
Telephone: 01274 513 300
Email: StrongerFamiliesBradford@barnardos.org.uk

 

YoungMinds
A charity dedicated to children’s mental health.
Phone: Parents' helpline 0808 802 5544 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4pm)

Website: http://www.youngminds.org.uk

 

Cruse Bereavement Care
Support for grief and bereavement.

Phone: 0808 808 1677 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5pm)

Website: http://www.cruse.org.uk

 

NSPCC
Child protection charity.

Phone: 0808 800 5000 for adults concerned about a child (24-hour helpline)

0800 1111 for children (ChildLine’s 24-hour helpline)

Website: http://www.nspcc.org.uk

 

Refuge
Advice on dealing with domestic violence.

Phone: 0808 2000 247 (24-hour helpline)

Website: http://www.refuge.org.uk

 

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