Children’s well-being is connected to your well-being
Helping children and young people cope with the changes means providing accurate information, discussing facts without causing undue alarm, and re-establishing routines.
You are an important role model. Staying calm and enabling time and space to be together with children will help them adjust to this “new normal”.
Children and young people look to adults for guidance on how to react to stressful events. Reassure them that everyone is working together, from the Prime Minster down, to help people stay healthy and to limit the spread of this virus.
Ficino School is helping children continue their learning online. Keep children and young people engaged in activities at home and, wherever possible, in their usual routines. This will support their wellbeing, connection with others and their learning.
Making yourself available
· Children may need extra attention from you and may want to talk about their concerns, fears, and questions.
· Making time for them will let them know they have someone who will listen to them.
· Tell them you love them and give them plenty of affection.
You know your children best. Let their questions be your guide as to how much information to provide. However, don’t avoid giving them the information that health experts identify as critical to ensuring your children’s health.
They may not talk about their concerns readily, so they need your patience. They may ask the same questions often as they try to make sense of things. Children will be reassured by your consistent responses.
When sharing information, try to provide facts without stress. Remind them adults are working to address this concern, and give children actions they can take to protect themselves.
Structure your days – one day at a time
Routines are reassuring and promote health and physical wellbeing.
Encourage children to keep up with activities at home. Invite them to try different learning activities. These might be sent from school, be things they enjoy, or activities you decide together to do at home.
Make the most of the reality of spending more time together as a family – establish new goals together, think about learning something new together and/or helping others who may be in need (while ensuring physical distancing boundaries and lockdown expectations).
Before you go to bed, write a list of five things you are going to do the next day — it will give you a way to keep moving forward and a sense of achievement at the end of each day.
Coping with Isolation
If the thought of isolation is a big challenge for you, be proactive in staying connected. Here are some ways:
· Online communities: Find online communities locally or globally. There are groups on WeChat, Facebook and WhatsApp that are just for parents and educators going through this.
· Colleague and Friend “Happy Hours”: Reconnecting with our friends and colleagues helps to boost our moods and will decrease our stress.
· Play games together or each make a meal around some sort of theme and eat it together.
Venting: When there are lots of changes in our lives we often end up complaining. Complaining can be ok; it helps us express our emotions, helps our bonding, decreases our stress, and develops our perspective.
Be aware for others though – before you call a friend ask yourself this: What do I hope to get out of this conversation? A solution? Understanding? Advice? Make sure you tell your friend what you need when you speak with them.
Show compassion, this builds everyone’s sense of hope
Monitor television viewing and social media
It can be helpful to limit your TV viewing or access to the Internet or social media. Try to avoid watching or listening to upsetting information when children are present.
Talk about how many stories may be based on rumours and inaccurate information, and ways they can access factual information.
Helplines and information
Contact the dedicated COVID-19 number 0800 358 5453 for health advice and information if you have confirmed, probable or suspected COVID-19.
Helplines for children and young people
· Youthline 0800 376633 or text 234
· What’s up 0800 9428787
· Parent Help Line 0800 568856
Helplines and resources for everyone
· Need to talk 1737 or text 1737 for counselling or support
· Lifeline 0800 543354 or free text 4357 for counselling and support
· Anxiety line 0800 111757 or free text 4202