Your family's wellbeing

We know it's a worrying time for parents right now, and we hope you are all keeping safe and well. We're put together some tips and ideas for coping with the additional pressures you might be feeling.

Looking after yourself

It's natural to feel anxious in this unprecedented situation: we wouldn't be human if we didn't!

If you are feeling really anxious, take a moment to check in with yourself: stop, take a deep breath in and exhale fully, making a sighing sound as you breath out. Repeat three times. You can also roll your shoulders and stretch your limbs out and give them a shake, to help bring yourself back into your body.

Another way to help anxiety is to bring your hand to your heart and just rest it there while you slowly breath. Give yourself some love! This wonderful practice has been shown to calm the nervous system.

Charity Snap has a great guide for parents and carers with lots of help and resources to help manage yours and your children's anxiety

You could also visit the NHS website's tips on dealing with anxiety.  

MIND have created a webpage to support your wellbeing during the outbreak - vital for us all.

Looking after your child

The NSPCC has created a new webpage with information and advice for parents or carers who are worried a child or young person may be struggling with their mental health or has anxiety about coronavirus.

Young Minds has produced some guidance and top tips on talking to children about the coronavirus, including advice for young people to look after their mental health while isolating.

Public Health England have published advice for parents and carers on looking after the mental health and wellbeing of children or young people during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The guidance includes information about how to look after your own mental health as a parent as well as helping children and young people cope with stress.

You can also read the government's guidance for parent carers on looking after their child's mental health during the outbreak.

Helping your child understand the coronavirus pandemic

Your child might be finding it difficult to understand what's going at the moment. Here are some resources to help.

Makaton and sign language resources:

Check out this Makaton video about handwashing from Mencap.

Free resources from Makaton charity about coronavirus.

For children with learning disabilities:

Check out this handwashing rap for children with learning disabilities.

Easy read online has produced a reassuring, easy read leaflet about the coronavirus

Beyond books also has two free illustrated books to help children with a learning disability understand: Jack plans ahead for coronavirus, and When someone dies from coronavirus.

Support for behaviour that challenges

We know that for some parents, having the kids at home full-time can mean different challenges arise.

If your child has a severe learning disability and is finding it difficult to adjust to life away from school, you might find it useful to look at advice from the Challenging Behaviour Foundation (CBF). 

The CBF provides information and support to families caring for individuals with severe learning disabilities, who may display behaviour described as challenging. By severe learning disabilities, they mean very limited or no verbal communication, as well as a great difficulty in learning new skills or completing everyday tasks.

The CBF has produced special guidance for families during the Covid-19 pandemic, including a letter for families to give to emergency services who may not know how to support their loved one, and information about the role of learning disability nurses during the pandemic.

There is also a cartoon workbook about Coronavirus for children under seven in lots of languages from MindHeart.

Makaton and sign language resources

Check out this Makaton video about handwashing from Mencap.

Free resources from Makaton charity about coronavirus.

For children with learning disabilities

Check out this handwashing rap for children with learning disabilities.

Easy read online has produced a reassuring, easy read leaflet about the coronavirus

Beyond books also has two free illustrated books to help children with a learning disability understand: Jack plans ahead for coronavirus, and When someone dies from coronavirus.

Other resources

BBC Newsround has helpful information for children about the coronavirus, including explainer videos. They also have a 'happy news' section to brighten the day

Childline has a 'calm zone', with videos, activities, games, and calming activities to help children who are worried about anything

Many major museums and organisations in the UK and abroad are running virtual tours, for example the British Museum.

Calibre Audio Library
UK charity that lends audio books and streams books online for anyone who struggles to access print, including children.

Living Paintings (UK)
Free postal library supporting blind and partially sighted adults, children and young people. They make tactile versions of pictures that come to life when fingers feel them.

Dekko Comics
12 issues of Dekko Comics have been uploaded online as a free resource to help with home-learning during the Covid-19 isolation.

BBC CBeebies for special needs
Resources and help for children with additional needs from the BBC, including Mr Tumble!

CBBs sign language with Mr Tumble.

ITV Signed Stories
Signed Stories help improve the literacy of deaf children from infancy upwards. The website also provides useful advice and guidance for parents, carers and teachers of deaf children, and for the deaf parents of hearing children.

The Letterbox Library
Catalogue of disability-related books for disabled children and their siblings, and for use in school or other settings, that promote understanding and explain 'difference' for all ages from babies to eleven years old.

Twinkl has lots of wonderful resources and ideas to stimulate and entertain children of primary school age. And the Twinkl SEND resources are well worth checking out for fun stuff to do at home.

Singing Hands on YouTube has videos of songs signed in Makaton.

Storyline Online, streams videos featuring celebrated actors reading children's books alongside creative illustrations.

If your children are into animals and the natural world, National Geographic Kids on You Tube has lots of fantastic, interactive videos.

Khan Academy Kids is an educational app for children aged two to seven. Animated characters guide children through educational materials. It's an American app but lots of relevant activities.

GOSH Play Team have put together this resource about the power of play - as a form of connection/distraction during these times.

And here is an article with tips for games and activities to do with children with special educational needs, that are not screen based - many of them indoors.

In Wales

Meic is the helpline service for children and young people up to the age of 25. They can answer children's questions about coronavirus on 0808 8023456, or by Live Chat.

The Children's Commissioner for Wales has also established a coronavirus information hub for families and children to with useful tips and advice regarding the coronavirus.

Support from Contact

To help with the extra challenges that families have to face because of the Covid-19 pandemic, we've introduced a number of new free services to give you a helping hand.

Virtual family workshops

Our popular free workshops programme is now online.

Topics include: Money matters, Encouraging Positive Behaviour, Wellbeing for you, and Managing your child's sleep.

Visit our family workshops page for upcoming dates.

Listening Ear service

Our 'Listening Ear' service which provides free 1-1 support for parents via a telephone appointment with one our family support advisers, at a time that suits you.

We can help with emotional support, strategies for reducing your child's anxiety and challenging behaviour or help you with structuring the day.

Visit EventBrite for upcoming timeslots.

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