The announcement of the current lockdown and move to remote learning is particularly tough on young children. Being deprived of face-to-face contact with their friends, the loss of familiar routines and trying to navigate online learning, whilst being in the family home with lots of distractions, requires a large amount of resilience.
For many children who thrive on predictability and routine, the uncertain future can feel overwhelming. Reassure your child that they will cope, and that it is always good to experience managing change, as everyone will face many changes throughout their lives.
The upkeep of vital relationships will be of huge importance to many children, whether via the phone or online. You can help your child maintain these relationships by arranging calls with family and friends, where they can share news and see familiar and friendly faces.
Help your child to recognise when they are worrying about things which cannot be changed. They (or you) may notice that they are in a repetitive loop of worry which they may find hard to move away from.
Filling their mind with something to truly distract them from those thoughts can make a huge difference. If they struggle to talk about their feelings, they may find it helpful to write or draw about what is happening to them, or to find a hobby which can keep them engaged mindfully rather than worrying about the past or future.
The NHS has provided some useful ideas for parents and children to try as part of their ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’ initiative, which can be accessed here.
Here are some other suggestions of ways you can support your child over the next few weeks:
- Together, set aside a time each day where they can talk about how they are feeling.
- Support your child to ensure that the PSHE remote lessons, online class assemblies and other pastoral elements of the remote learning class timetable are accessed whilst at home.
- Focus on things they can control and help them to manage their free time.
- Use journaling (either written, verbal or using art) as a way of understanding and developing their thoughts.
- Share your strategies for what helps you when you feel stressed or anxious.
- Use your daily exercise to get outside where possible – a walk in nature, a bike ride or other forms of outdoor activity are a good way of getting physical exercise and unwinding.
- Think about what you can celebrate – not just birthdays but achievements you have each made, such as meeting a target or completing a piece of work.
- Include them when supporting neighbours or family members. Although it may not be possible to see friends in person, help them to connect with others regularly.
- If your child is feeling anxious, encourage them to try simple breathing techniques such as breathing in for a count of four, holding their breath for a count of four and breathing out slowly for a count of seven.
please remember that your child’s school is here to support you too