Your family’s wellbeing
We know it’s such a worrying time for parents, and we’re doing our best to help you keep safe and well.
To help with the extra challenges families are facing because of Covid-19 we’ve introduced a number of free services.
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 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, challenging behaviour, or help you with structuring the day.
Visit our Listening Ear appointments page for upcoming timeslots.
We’ve also put together some tips and ideas for coping with the additional pressures you might be feeling below.
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 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.
- Resources to help manage yours and your children’s anxiety – a guide for parents and carers from SNAP.
- NHS tips for dealing with anxiety.
- Support for your wellbeing during the pandemic from Mind.
If you need urgent mental health support
Contact NHS 111, or the NHS website can help you find an urgent mental health helpline.
Looking after your child
Resources to help:
- If you are worried a child or young person may be struggling with their mental health or has anxiety about coronavirus from NSPCC.
- Guidance and top tips on talking to children about the coronavirus, including advice for young people while isolating from Young Minds.
- Government advice on looking after the mental health and wellbeing of children or young people during COVID-19. Includes how to look after your own mental health as a parent.
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:
For children with learning disabilities:
- Fun handwashing rap for children with learning disabilities.
- Easy-read leaflet about coronavirus.
- Free illustrated books: Jack plans ahead for coronavirus, and When someone dies from coronavirus from
There is also a cartoon workbook about Coronavirus for children under seven or learning disabled children in different languages from MindHeart.
Support for behaviour that challenges
We know that for some parents, having children at home full-time can mean different challenges arise. Our online workshops about encouraging positive behaviour may help.
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.
- CBF 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.
BBC Newsround has helpful information for children about the coronavirus, including explainer videos you can search for. They also have a ‘happy news’ section to brighten the day.
Childline ‘calm zone’ has videos, activities, games, and calming activities to help children who are worried about anything.
Great Ormond Street Hospital ‘power of play’ hub – for connection/distraction during these times.
Calibre Audio Library is a UK charity that lends audio books and streams books online for anyone who struggles to access print, including children.
Living Paintings (UK) is a 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.
BBC CBeebies for special needs – resources and help for children with additional needs from the BBC, including sign language with Mr Tumble!
ITV Signed Stories advice and guidance for parents, carers and teachers of deaf children, and for the deaf parents of hearing children.
The Letterbox Library has a catalogue of disability-related books for disabled children and their siblings that promote understanding and explain ‘difference’ for all ages from babies to eleven years old.
Resources and ideas to stimulate and entertain primary school children with special educational needs at home from Twinkl.
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.
National Geographic Kids on You Tube has lots of interactive videos about animals and the natural world.
Games and activities (not screen based) for children with special educational needs – many of them indoors.
Many major museums and organisations in the UK and abroad are running virtual tours, for example the British Museum.
- 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.
- Coronavirus information hub for families and children with useful tips and advice regarding the coronavirus from the Children’s Commissioner for Wales.
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