The COVID-19 pandemic is undoubtedly a challenging time for families, children and young people. Personal health and bereavement aside, family life and daily routines have been significantly impacted upon. The closure of schools and enforced social distancing, including home working for many households, places a particular strain on family life. The purpose of this resource hub is to equip families to cope in these challenges times.
Living through this pandemic and the disruption it causes to routine and lifestyle can be deeply unsettling for some children and young people. They may become anxious, confused or frightened by what they are experiencing. Feelings and behaviours may be expressed in different ways. For example, they may present as clingy or withdrawn, increased levels of shyness, or become aggressive or regressive. Similarly, the social and economic impact on parents and households can destabilise harmony and security. With face-to-face services currently only being offered to most in need or at risk families (with appropriate PPE – see our PPE flyer here), it is essential for us to provide families with self-help information to draw on.
We are offering our normal support by telephone and where necessary a home visit can be carried out following a COVID-19 risk assessment.
Mid Essex Tel: 0300 247 0014
North Essex Tel: 0300 247 0015
South Essex Tel: 0300 247 0013
West Essex Tel: 0300 247 0122
- Be reassuring and let them know they are safe
- Limit their exposure to the news
- Take their concerns seriously
Face coverings should not be used by children under the age of 2 or those who may find it difficult to manage them correctly, for example primary school age children unassisted, or those with respiratory conditions
- Try to get your news from reputable sources – e.g. BBC
- Set aside time each day to connect with friends and family via telephone or social media
- Keep active – this can be achieved easily at home with no special equipment
- Try to do the “COVID 5 a day”, which is a daily set of goals or practices that will improve how you feel
- Be honest
- Reassure them
- Use simple language
- Allow them to ask questions and talk
- Ask your child if they want to talk to you, a family member or a friend
- Help them keep connected
- Encourage them to contact out CHAT Health service on
- Mid Essex 07520615731
- South Essex 07520615732
- West Essex 07520615733
- North Essex 07520615734
- Create a daily schedule together – use this as a craft activity
- Give them chores to do such as helping with housework or cooking
- Use the homework that your child’s school has sent
- Collaboratively draw up a list of family rules to help you all get through this time
- Try to designate your house into different areas such as with work and relaxing spots
- It is okay to take time away from each other and have some alone time within the government’s COVID-19 guidelines
We know during times of extreme stress this can lead to increased incidents of domestic abuse or other safeguarding issues. As a service, it is our priority to ensure the safety of all our families. Along with our service there are a number of local and national charities to support you over the coming weeks and months with both emotional support and practical guidance.
- Infant crying is normal and it will stop!
- Comfort methods can sometimes soothe the baby and the crying will stop
- Once you have checked and know the baby is safe, it’s okay to walk away if the crying is getting to you. After a few minutes when you are feeling calm, go back and check on the baby
- Store cleaning materials out of reach of children
- Use your stair gates to limit access to the kitchen
- Follow the government’s COVID-19 guidelines on keeping your family safe (stay indoors and social distancing)
- Using social stories can help with understanding
- Visual timetables can help with the change in routine
- Up to date government advice will tell you what help you are entitled to
- Contact debt charities for support
- Many banks and lenders are offering payment holidays on loans or credit card payments
It is extremely important to follow Government advice to stay at home during this period, and because of this it can be confusing to know what to do when your child is unwell or injured/had an accident. Remember that NHS 111, GPs and hospitals are still providing the same safe care that they have always done for non-COVID illness and injuries and it is important that you seek help in good time. Click here for helpful advice.
This video, produced locally by two clinicians (and approved by NHSE/I), informs parents of the services available and when to seek help.
District Facebook pages
Support from Essex County Council
COVID-19-related support from Essex County Council can also be found here.