As people but particularly as parents, we are in incredibly unprecedented times with few people to turn to for either help or support. With the realities of stock piling, isolation and increasing numbers of cases of corona virus loom locally and all around the world, we have collated what we deem to be the best information and resources currently available, along with a little of our own insight, to help you manage your way through the COVID-19 storm.
If you have specific queries relating to your child's education or the impact isolation will have on thier ability to learn, please do email and we will do our very best to get back to you within 24 hours.
Working together to support children and young people during COVID-19
Amidst the current chaos surrounding the Coronavirus, it is important that we help children and young people understand how they can prevent the spread of the virus and the impact it could have on us, our economy and more.
Initially, children need to understand that they can make a difference. It's important that they understand every hand wash, every wet wipe and the time they spend alone absolutely can and will make a difference - to their life and that of those around them.
As parents we intuitively try to protect our children from harm, danger or potential risk. As the Coronavirus impacts the world and begins to take hold of our day to day lives, it can be tempting to try and keep the realities of this away from our children, to dull down the implications of the virus or paint a clearer or brighter picture than we are currently presented with as today's reality.
We believe that it is incredibly important to be honest with your children, to help them understand the realities of Coronavirus and provided them with trusted, reliable sources of up to date information so that they focus on fact rather than rumour. There are many reasons for them to be confident, hopeful, optimistic and proud of the many people that help us manage this pandemic and it is important that we trust our children to understand that rather than masking them from the realities of this situation.
In the spirit of encouraging understanding, it is also important that you help your children understand why friends and family may be absent from their lives for a while. It is important to help them understand which of the loved ones are most at risk, why, and what is being done to give them the best chance of survival.
It is important to maintain and encourage communication with isolated friends and family as often a possible. You can, where possible utilise technology to call, face time or simply message the people you will miss during isolation and can also write letters and send drawings in the post. It is important to help your children think of others but equally important to help your children understand that others will also be thinking of them.
Although some children might be initially excited by the idea of 'no school', it is very likely that they will soon miss their friends and the structure, confidence and opportunities school gives them. The notion of isolation is also likely to raise concerns, create fear, anxiety and uncertainty in children and young people and as a result it is important that you approach isolation with purpose, positivity and clarity.
Ensure your children understand that isolation doesn't mean illness - and illness doesn't mean death. Help them feel like they are playing a critical role in protecting vulnerable people from the virus and are,by temporarily isolating, ensuring life will be back to normal as quickly as possible. Ensure they understand the organisations, institutions and services that will support people during the period of isolation and ensure they feel that isolation is part of a solution rather than a fearful response to a problem.
Although protecting our children from Coronavirus at the forefront of our minds, it is important that we also understand the impact this is likely to have on the mental well being of our children and the rest of our family. There is lots of research to support the negative link between loneliness and poor mental health and, in isolation, it can be easy to lose the structure, routine and balance of diet and exercise that keeps us both physically and mentally fit and well.
It is important that you are able to maintain a routine, a structure and a healthy approach to mental and physical well being despite the changes and challenges, questions and concerns self isolating is likely to bring.
For many parents, isolation will mean that homes become classrooms, playgrounds, sports fields, gyms, restaurants and more.
In turn parents will have to become teachers, chefs, coaches, negotiators, cleaners and it is likely that many parents will also have to do all of this whilst trying to 'work' from home.
It's incredibly important that, in spite of these concerning and unprecedented times, your child continues to learn, to study and to benefit from the structure and routine school provides. Our top tips include having a specific work space, a 'uniform' of sorts, a timetable and structured meal, play and rest times. You can download our isolation education guide for more ideas and resources.