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COVID-19 - Support for Parents

24 Mar 2020,

last updated: 02 April 2020 at 14:15

Bradford Educational Psychology Team have put together some general tips to support children, young people, parents and staff throughout this challenging period.

The full document is available here

1. Try to keep to routines as much as possible. This may be more difficult with the school closures, but children and young people will benefit from things being as routine as possible. As adults we like to know what is going to happen, and children like this too. For example, getting-up times and bed-times should remain the same.  It is often useful to involve children in creating this routine, so that they feel part of the plan, rather than the plan being imposed on them. You could display the routine using a timeline, or maybe pictures and visuals. Encourage children to develop independence by referring to their own routine/plan themselves.

2. Provide reassurance about exams being cancelled – Young people may now be concerned about the announcement that exams later this year will not be going ahead as planned. They may feel like all their hard work has been for nothing. Reassure young people that the Prime Minister has said that all children and young people will get the qualification they worked towards, but acknowledge that the plan is a bit uncertain right now. Reassure young people that the government and Department for Education are working on a plan.

3. Give information but limit exposure to news/social media. Staying informed can make us feel in control, and which is generally positive. It is natural that children will have questions and worries about coronavirus, and it is ok to say you don’t know - at the moment, there are questions we don’t have answers to about coronavirus. Giving them the space to ask these questions and have answers is a good way to ease anxiety. Younger children might understand a cartoon or picture better than an explanation. Normalising the experience is likely to reduce anxiety for many children. Reassure children that lots of adults and other children are in the same situation

However, the constant news reports could also become overwhelming. Reduce the time spent hearing, reading or watching news. Try to protect children from distressing media coverage, and instead get information from reputable websites and sources, and try to make sure children access developmentally appropriate information. Suggestions about where to find these resources are also in the appendix.

4. Stay connected to others. This is especially important for people who are in self-isolation. Humans are social creatures and without social contact, negative feelings can start to creep in. Even if contact can't be face-to-face, there are other ways of communicating with others. Friendships are a key resiliency factor for children and young people. Most children see their friends nearly every day of the week and so not being in contact with them for some time might be upsetting. Is it possible for children to talk to their friends on the phone? Perhaps establish a group Skype or WhatsApp call? Perhaps they could write letters to each other. Just remember that social media can be a great place for socialising with other when we need to - but it can also contain fake news and anxiety-invoking rumours.

5. Try to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This includes trying to maintain a balanced diet, doing some exercise etc. It is very tempting to binge on junk food when we are kept indoors, so it’s a good idea to prepare some healthier snacks if you can. In terms of exercise, going to the gym or even for a walk may not be possible for some people right now, but lots of gyms, personal trainers etc. are putting exercise classes and routines online for those in isolation.

6. Use psychological strategies to help keep emotions balanced and to stave off depression and anxiety. This might include activities such as mindfulness and meditation. Again, we have put some links to useful resources in the appendix.

7. Talk to someone you trust if you feel anxious. Whilst it is normal to feel worried right now, if you or your child are starting to feel overwhelmed, it’s important to acknowledge your feelings and speak to someone you trust, whether that’s a friend, a family member, a teacher or a helpline.

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Another helpful document is from the NW SEND Regional Network

The full document can be found here

This includes information, ideas and activities relevant to children across the early years and school age range including those with special educational needs and disabilities.

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SENDIASS are still operating but offering a revised service. 

A letter detailing the changes can be found here

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The Keighley and Shipley Hub have provided a document with helpful resources/services which can support individuals and families during this COVID-19 outbreak. 

The full document can be found here

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The Innovation Services Team which supports primary schools with the computing curriculum are currently preparing a range of free resources for teachers, parents and pupils which they've launched on YouTube. They can be accessed via Twitter, Facebook, or can be searched for using #techawaychallenge on YouTube.

They'll be regularly releasing tech based projects and activities which they are asking people to share with your friends and colleagues. Examples of challenges released so far can be viewed here:

Sign of Spring - Create a spring collage

QR code treasure trail

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The Specialist Teaching and Support Service has developed a bank of resources to support parents of children and young people with SEND.

There are four separate areas, to support children with a range of needs:

Cognition and Learning

Communication and Interaction (Autism)

Social, Emotional and Mental Health

Early Years

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The Yorkshire Sport Foundation has collated a range of activities to help you and your family stay healthy during this time. This includes different physical activities for all ages and abilities, and mental health and wellbeing resources too.

The Active at Home webpage can be found here

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Confused about the Coronavirus? There is a lot of information out there about Coronavirus (COVID-19) and it can be confusing at times to understand what it is. These resources help explain in a simple manner what the Coronavirus is, with child-friendly resources too:

The Phoenix Group

MENCAP

Dr. Ranj

British Psychological Society

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These are two Facebook groups you can join where families are posting ideas for indoor and outdoor activities:

Family lockdown Tips & Ideas

Family lockdown activities, tips and ideas UK

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Kooth.com are reminding schools and families of their online service to support the wellbeing and resilience of young people during this time.

Kooth is a web-based confidential support service available to young people. Kooth provides a safe and secure means of accessing mental health and wellbeing support designed specifically for young people.

Support can be gained not only through online counselling but articles, forums and discussion boards. All content is age appropriate, clinically approved and fully moderated.

To find out more, visit www.kooth.com

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Public Health England have released an easy-read document with guidance on supporting children and young people's mental health and wellbeing

The full document can be found here

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The Witherslack Group are running a series of free webinars to ensure parents, carers and professionals are still getting the support they need whilst at home. Topics include:

  • Managing you and your child's anxiety during self-isolation
  • An autism friendly compass: practical hints and tips for successful autism friendly days at home
  • How to provide routines in a time without routines

You can register for future webinars, and watch previous webinars by clicking here

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The Council for Disabled Children have created a webpage with an extensive list of resources to support families throughout this time.

Please click here to visit their website

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Early Years guidance for families from Public Health England. A series of guides have been provided to help you and your family remain health and safe whilst you are socially distancing yourselves.

The guides can be found here

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There have been big changes in our lives because of Coronavirus, so the Children's Commissioner have created a children's guide to Coronavirus to help explain the situations.

The guide can be found here

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During the current closure of libraries and schools. Bradford Libraries have listed tried and tested links to useful and fun learning and reading resources. These include free audio books from Audible, free audio stories from David Walliams and different links for all subjects across the curriculum.

These resources can be found here

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At this time it is really important that we keep our children and young people safe online. Bradford Council have produced some guidance which identifies the risks and how you can mitigate against them.

This can be found here.

Waltham Forest Council Community Safety Team have produced a similar guide which can be found here.

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The Bradford SEND Local Offer is a free and impartial service provided by Bradford Council. The information contained within the website is available for the purposes of identifying services and provision that are available to children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities. This information does not represent a recommendation or an endorsement of a Service or Provider and neither does the Bradford Council or its partners make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy of the information.

Anyone seeking to use or access a service or provision is responsible for undertaking their own checks to determine the suitability and fitness for purpose of that service and provision. Some providers will be registered and inspected by external agencies, such as Ofsted or the Care Quality Commission. Anyone working with children and young people will be required to have appropriate Disclosure and Barring Service Check (the replacement for the Criminal Record Check), safeguarding policies and insurance in place, which they should make available to you on request.