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Covid-19; Supporting Your Child's Mental Health

Everyone is finding the lockdown tough, and the Covid-19 pandemic has certainly brought challenges with it. Not being able to go to work and earn a living is incredibly stressful for some families - not seeing friends and family, spending time with the same people day in and day out becomes a bit mundane and ultimately the uncertainty of what our future will look like is causing a huge amount of strain. Throw in homeschooling (something most parents have never attempted before) and potentially still working full time for those that can, and it is just a very difficult time.

BUT, what about our children?
They are dealing with similar issues - not being able to go to school (which may have initially been welcomed by some) and see their friends is no doubt starting to cause upset; being taught by their parents who are struggling themselves; and, for many children, Coronavirus has really given them something to worry about. What happens if my parents get the virus? What would happen to me? What happens if my friends get ill? Who can I talk to about this?

Keeping a positive mental attitude
As parents ourselves, we know times are very strange but trying to keep a positive mental attitude for yourselves and your children is key. If you and your child/children are struggling with homeschooling, try to stay calm. Schools are not insisting that every last piece of work is completed - more that parents just do what they can, and they know everyone’s day will look different. Some may choose to keep formal learning to the mornings only and do a more play-based learning in the afternoon. Some may choose to follow the structured school day; some may choose to do a shorter school day or even have days where there is no school work at all – whatever works best for you and your family.

One on one time
If your child seems to be struggling emotionally with the current situation, have a chat with them. Perhaps find a quiet spot at home, have a snuggle, and let them talk. Reassure them as best as you can with the information you have, but don’t overdo it and give them too much knowledge as that might have the opposite effect. Why not set up a Facetime or Zoom chat for them and their friends – we all do it, so why shouldn’t they? Some children find it useful to have more structure to their day so they know what they are doing and some children have found that writing things down is useful too. Find something that works for your child.

Enjoy being a parent
Sometimes you just have to let go of what you can’t control. There is nothing anyone can do about this situation, so if you aren’t trying to work or even if you are and you have a break or some spare time, why not just enjoy being a parent? Get down on the floor and play their games, be imaginative with them, get the board games out or invent your own fun – your children will thank you for it and having fun with Mummy and Daddy will take away their stresses, even if just for 10 minutes.

We are all in this together! If you are struggling for ideas of things to do with your children or looking for inspiring ways to help them learn, please visit our ‘Find Resources’ tab and search the directory of online learning and educational websites.