A helpful guide to focusing on the wellbeing of the whole family during school closures.
- Staying healthy: physical exercise and diet
- Avoiding boredom: activities to keep us entertained
- Combatting loneliness: the difficulties associated with being separated from family and friends
- Staying mentally healthy: guarding against anxiety, worry and the constant stream of negative news and press.
- Anxiety associated with loss of income
- Managing relationships: friends and family
- Feelings of physical restriction: claustrophobia / sharing a living and working space
- Suffering abusive and / or toxic relationships.
Whatever the risk, physical and emotional wellbeing for the whole family is arguably the most important aspect we need to focus on during the challenging weeks ahead.
As the spring break approaches, this may be an appropriate time to put home schooling to one side.
Guides on the wellbeing of the whole family:
Specific wellbeing resources:
The government have produced guidance for parents and carers on supporting their own, as well as children and young people’s mental health during this period of self-isolation:
- Guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak (Gov.uk website)
NHS top tips
The NHS has produced very helpful top tips in collaboration with Every Mind Matters to support wellbeing for families.
It offers useful advice on how to keep to a routine and continuing to engage in activities that you all enjoy:
- Mental wellbeing while staying at home (NHS website)
For any adult concerned about the emotions and behaviour of a child or young person:
- Young Minds - Parents Helpline (Young Minds website)
Young Minds also has a Covid-19 page with blogs and ideas about support during this time:
- Coronavirus and mental health (Young Minds website)
Interesting articles on supporting wellbeing and mental health, particularly around how to have difficult conversations with children about Covid 19:
- Managing your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak (Mental Health UK website)
- Mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak (PDF, 0.5MB) on the World Health Organisation (WHO) website
An interesting short video on managing anxiety and OCD during the pandemic:
Some very useful articles for families in a variety of contexts:
- Parenting Through Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the The Institute of Health Visiting website
Pregnancy and young babies
For parents of very young babies, or those who are mid-way through a pregnancy, this may be a particularly worrying time. These organisations offer support to pregnant women and their families:
- Coronavirus infection and pregnancy (Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists)
- Pandas Foundation website
- #COVIBOOK -Supporting and reassuring children around the world (MindHeart website) - a lovely book written for children under 7 to help explain Covid 19
Practical advice (and lots of useful links) on managing family wellbeing:
- Coping practically and emotionally during the Covid-19 outbreak (family lives website)
Specific advice for families who have children with sensory processing disorders:
- SPD & COVID-19 (Sensory spectacle website)
The BBC and National Geographic have a wealth of resources to keep children of all ages entertained:
- Teach - Free primary and secondary school teaching resources and Bitesize (BBC website)
- National Geographic Kids website
Specific advice for the whole family:
- COVID-19 Support and Guidance (Council for disabled children website)
Useful blogs on all aspects of family wellbeing:
- Coronavirus: Helpful information to answer questions from children (Place2be website)
Tips for positive mental health and wellbeing for the whole family
- Limit the news or social media coverage as there is a lot of information and it can be overwhelming.
- Connect with your friends and loved ones using video messaging, texting and phone calls.
- Add self-care for the while family into your daily routine whether it be a meditation, cooking or whatever you all find relaxing.
- Focus on your emotional and mental health.
- Keep busy during quarantine, maybe start a new hobby, make something, or even declutter but don’t put undue stress on yourself.
- Share your coping skills with others including your children.
- Encourage your children to talk about their worries so they are not bottling things up.
- Create a solid routine that works for you all and allow flexibility when needed.
- Exercise can be positive for mental health and do what you enjoy.
- If you enjoy cooking, get in the kitchen and experiment with the ingredients you have.
Information about services and refuges in local areas:
- Domestic violence and abuse - organisations which give information and advice (citizens advice website)
The National Domestic Abuse Hotline runs a 24 hour helpline for people at risk of domestic violence:
- Hotline: 0808 200 0247
- Helpline: 0800 11 11
- childline website
The overwhelming advice is to do what works for you as a family. Don’t feel pressured by things you feel you should be doing.
Trust your instinct, do what makes your family life feel calmer and happier. And remember, this time will pass.