Health and Wellbeing

Staying at home and the change of routine may make this a difficult time for some children and they may be feeling a range of emotions about it. They may get upset more often, or return to some behaviours they had previously grown out of. It’s understandable and other families will be experiencing this too.

Try to keep your child away from news broadcasts that might scare them, take time to reassure them and be open to talking about their feelings. It is normal for everyone to be feeling the strain in the current situation and for there to be some disagreements in the home. It will help your child’s wellbeing if they see those disagreements resolved in a healthy way. This will also help them learn how to resolve their own disagreements in the future.

Talking to Your Child About Covid-19

Your child may ask you about what’s happening. They may be upset that they cannot do things they usually would, like see family or playing with their friends, or some children may ask you directly about coronavirus (COVID-19) itself.

These are difficult things to talk to young children about and you may be worried about upsetting them. However, ignoring the subject could upset them more. Be open to talking to them about it.

Conversations will be different depending on the age of the child, but generally you should try to:

  • get down to your child’s level so they can see your face close to them;

  • let them know it is fine to be worried, do not dismiss their concerns or try to tell them how to feel about it.

  • avoid words they have not heard before as this might confuse them further;

  • listen to them carefully and answer the question they ask rather than giving them information they do not need.

  • be truthful, it’s okay to say you do not know the answer.

  • help them give a name to what they are feeling.

If you are talking about coronavirus (COVID-19) itself try to:

  • reassure them that:

    • you are there to keep them safe.

    • they are unlikely to get poorly and you will look after them if they do.

    • you would be looked after if you got poorly.

  • give simple reasons for why you are doing things such as washing your hands and staying at home.

  • show them how they can help, for example by washing their hands, to make them feel more in control.

  • use examples and comparisons they understand, for instance comparing it to a cold or staying off nursery if you are poorly.

  • get your information from reliable sources such GOV.UK or the NHS.

Talking about their feelings and concerns is healthy and will help your child’s development.

To help young children understand Covid-19 in an age-appropriate way, you can download a picture book called Staying Home to read with your child: https://www.booktrust.org.uk/news-and-features/features/2020/april/staying-home-by-sally-nicholls/

 

Lastly, if you are struggling please know that you are not on your own and help is available. You can read advice on supporting your child’s mental health and wellbeing at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing

 

Guidance is also available to help you look after your own mental health at

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-public-on-mental-health-and-wellbeing.

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