Everybody is finding things a bit difficult at the moment, but have you stopped to think how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting our little ones, whether they are too young to recognise it or not?
The pandemic has brought many changes into the lives of everyone: we’re meeting friends and family less, some nurseries and most schools are closed for the majority of children, and a lot of us are feeling stressed and overwhelmed.
To help you out a bit, The Department for Education’s Hungry Little Minds campaign, delivered in partnership with the National Literacy Trust, has put together a few ideas on supporting your little one (and yourself) through this strange time.
It’s really important that you put your and your child’s mental health first while making your way through this tricky time. We hope these practical activities, which focus on looking after emotional wellbeing, will make things a bit easier for you both.
Wellbeing tips for your child
- Discuss the pandemic with your child using child-friendly language. Coronavirus: A Book for Children about Covid-19, by Elizabeth Jenner, Nia Roberts, Kate Wilson and Axel Scheffler is an excellent way to engage your child in a positive way
Read this book online.
- Reassure your little one that they can always come to you for comfort, and they won’t be expected to spend any time apart from you.
- Listen and hear your child. It is normal for them to be having more tantrums and could be their way of expressing their confusion. When your child is going through this, sit with them and let them know that you are there to help them deal with their feelings.
- Reason with your little ones when they are feeling sad, using words like ‘I can see you are feeling sad and angry right now’ and explain why ‘because you can’t see Grandma.’ This validates why they are feeling like this way. Reassure them that the situation is temporary, and that they will be able to see friends and family in the near future.
Wellbeing tips for parents and carers
- Take time out. A bath, hot drink, time with a book or a phone call with a loved one can go a long way.
- Try and maintain a good sleeping pattern. Six to eight hours a night will make you feel a lot better!
- Exercise is key for stressful times. Try to exercise three times a week, whether it’s a long walk, a run or a yoga video! It doesn’t have to be too intense, just getting your body moving will help with any anxiety or stress during an uncertain time.
- We know that it can be difficult for you to take some time out for yourself, especially with young children around. We recommend that when your little ones are asleep, you try and make a commitment to yourself to do one thing for you each day.