Help during this stressful time
Tuesday 24th March 2020
We all find ourselves in a position where we are taking on new roles and thinking about how best to support our children, ourselves and each other through this uncertain time. We have put together some ideas and suggestions for approaching days at home and managing worries and anxiety.
Talking with your children
Talking to our children about anxieties and worries is important – watching Newsround or a clip such as this: https://www.brainpop.com/health/diseasesinjuriesandconditions/coronavirus/
together and exploring afterwards can be a great way to dismiss myths and focus on the facts – follow these tips to guide your children:
· Don’t bottle up worries – talk to a trusted adult
· If you’re worried about elderly neighbours, find different ways to keep in touch
· Get your information from trusted sources
· Don’t worry about what you can’t control, but do what you can to help, for example washing your hands regularly or offering support to others
· Do things that you enjoy to keep yourself busy.
If you would like further advice on this, these websites give some really useful advice: https://youngminds.org.uk/blog/talking-to-your-child-about-coronavirus/ https://www.childline.org.uk/info-advice/your-feelings/anxiety-stress-panic/worries-about-the-world/#coronavirus. Sometimes children are more forthcoming when they are playing a game, making something or sharing a story.
Structuring your days
All children find routines reassuring so try to create a flexible structure to each day. It is best if it takes into account their need to learn, to exercise, to have fun, and connect safely with others (online platforms and apps such as skype, zoom and houseparty can be great for this). Different children will need different coping strategies so try to help them find ideas that work for them.
Family mindfulness activities can be a great way to come together, get away from technology and focus on the here and now – why not have a go at some of the below:
-Make jars of happiness and gratefulness – fill a box or jar with slips of paper saying all the things you can be thankful about
- A lovely activity to do at home with your child is to create a box of calm or self-soothe box, which is filled with meaningful items and things that appeal to all the senses. They can be decorated in any way your child would like. For ideas, you can watch this short clip from Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyfgodSSdV4
-Run a comb or pencil down your backs – draw a picture and see if you can guess what it is!
-Simple and short breathing and meditation exercises – breathe deeply and slowly in through the nose and out through the mouth; body scans; mindful eating – really notice what you are eating!
-The Headspace and Calm are popular apps for adults and many do have links for children too: children’s section: https://www.headspace.com/meditation/kids https://kidsapp.stopbreathethink.com/parent;https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWOHcGF1Tmc
-Anxiety hacks from Dr Pooky Knightsmith covering topics such as using music to flip your mood, using positive affirmations, creating 5 minute mindful moments in your day and calming breathing exercises for children: https://www.pookyknightsmith.com/post/anxiety-resources-worth-sharing-exciting-news
- Colouring/painting/sewing/ Zentangles doodling – ideas and resources on Pinterest/anything creative
- Big Life Journal – a great resource for building emotionally resilient children. If you sign up to their list they will send you a free printable activity every Friday https://biglifejournal-uk.co.uk/pages/freebies
- Acts of kindness: this is a great time for children to think about how they can make a difference by phoning a neighbour or relative, drawing a picture or writing a letter/email or helping to deliver shopping or donating to a foodbank.
- Listen to music!
-Free ebooks and audiobooks available through Hampshire libraries app https://www.hants.gov.uk/librariesandarchives/library/whatyoucanborrow/ebooksaudiobooks
-Audible have also announced free audiobooks for children during school closures https://stories.audible.com/start-listen
-Change 4 Life - A website with healthy dinner ideas and some sporting activities https://www.nhs.uk/change4life https://www.nhs.uk/change4life/activities
-The Body Coach - Joe Wicks will be posting daily PE lesson style workout routines – perfect to keep your children active! Everyday at 9am. There’s workouts for kids and adults on this Youtube channel! https://m.youtube.com/user/thebodycoach1
-BBC Supermovers - A website jam-packed with fun videos which link to your child’s learning and getting them moving. Suitable for KS1 and KS2 – this will support their physical health and keep them learning! https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach/supermovers Yoga for kids - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X655B4ISakg
Looking After Ourselves
Don’t forget about looking after yourself!
-A coping calendar – 30 actions to look after ourselves and others during this global crisis https://www.actionforhappiness.org/media/863032/coping_calendar.jpg
-NHS Every Mind Matters has lots of ideas and resources for looking after your mental wellbeing while staying at home. Click here for advice on healthy habits, relaxation techniques and staying on top of difficult feelings: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-staying-at-home-tips/
and https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mindfulness/https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mindfulness/ https://www.annafreud.org/on-my-mind/self-care/
At times, all of us can feel under strain and need a little extra support. In these challenging circumstances affecting our daily lives, you may wish to talk things through and seek guidance or support – the following organisations provide free, confidential helplines for parents and families:
· Family Lives offers a confidential and free helpline service for families in England and Wales (previously known as Parentline). Please call us on 0808 800 2222 for emotional support, information, advice and guidance on any aspect of parenting and family life. Our helpline service is open 9am – 9pm, Monday to Friday and 10am – 3pm Saturday and Sunday. https://www.familylives.org.uk/how-we-can-help/confidential-helpline/
· Shout (in partnership with Place2Be) Text CONNECT to 85258 for anyone in the UK, available free, 24 hours a day. More info: giveusashout.org · https://www.mind.org.uk/ 0300 123 3393 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Text:86463. Information line is open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays) and provides an information and signposting service · https://www.barnardos.org.uk/what-we-do/helping-families · https://documents.hants.gov.uk/childrens-services/SFP-SupportingFamiliesleaflet.pdf
· Family Support Services or Family Support Hubs in Hampshrie are available for families to self-refer if you feel you and your family need Early Help services. For enquiries phone 0300 555 1384. · Samaritans – Free, confidential listening service. Call 116 123 or email email@example.com
Meon Valley Food Bank
Many families make use of food banks to support them. If you or your neighbours are struggling with food shortages when finances are even more of a worry than normal, please consider making contact. Our local food bank is the Meon Valley Food Bank and serves the Meon Valley area of Hampshire, including Bishops Waltham, Wickham, Droxford, West Meon and other villages in the area. They are open every Tuesday from 10am to 3pm, based in the Bishops Waltham Youth Hall, Malt Lane, opposite Budgens.
To access and obtain food vouchers, contact one of the following organisations: · Bishops Waltham Citizens Advice · Home Start Meon Valley · Bishops Waltham Surgery · Wickham Surgery · Winchester Council Housing Benefits Department · Vivid Homes
We wish you and your families all the very best. Take care and stay safe,