Children and families – dealing with worries

There’s a lot of uncertainty around at the moment. While we may try not to show our anxieties, many of our conversations are covid-19 related, and with the increased stress, we feel like we’re operating on a shorter fuse.

Big changes are the norm, so how are our children coping? Are you finding that they are super ‘edgy’, easy to cry, waking at night, and with emotions closer to the surface?

How can we help our kids with the ‘everyday’ in this pandemic crisis?

The NSPCC's Coronavirus Advice is a good place to start, and we have collected some more ideas on this page.

Younger children

Relaxation

Older children & young adults

Robot

Make your own worry monster.

Shake of the physical feelings of anxiety, and get your endorphins going. Try Cosmic Kids Yoga or get active with PE with Joe, Monday to Friday at 9.00.

Calm Zone has breathing exercises, activities, games and videos to help let go of stress.

Apps to help with relaxation and breathing

Flowy is a breathing exercise app - it's for everyone, but is especially good for younger children.

MindShift and SAM both offer breathing and relaxation exercises, plus lots more strategies and psychoeducation, and are ideal for older children.

(Be aware that some apps have social clouds, and may not be monitored or vetted)

Childline 0800 1111

Childline have information and advice for children and young people on coronavirus worries.

There is a huge online community huge where children can get support from their peers on message boards to help them through any issues they are worried about.

 

lego heads

MoodCafe has advice and self-help information, including top tips for parents, social stories, relaxation... and more.

Moodjuice is a site for information and advice to those experiencing troublesome thoughts, feelings and actions. It is designed to help you think about emotional problems and work towards solving them.

Some advice from a mum and mental health professional ...

  • Stay open to your kids and answer their covid questions honestly, but age appropriately. A bit of ‘glossing over’ doesn’t do any harm.
  • Set up ‘worry time ‘ once a day, everyday where little people know they have your undivided attention and can sit and talk covid till they are done. Don’t limit them from talking about it outside of this time but do let the ones who struggle to voice worries know that this is an option. Also don’t force it, if they don’t want to talk that’s just fine.
  • ‘Worry monsters’ might help act as a place to dispose of these worries. Or maybe make it into a covid-19 fighting superhero ?!
  • Try to limit adults’ covid-related chat around them. Don’t shield them, but don’t overwhelm them.
  • When your child has an outburst, offer them a hug or some space before dishing out consequences or getting too shouty. We are all feeling stressed, and more irritable, children too. You could set up a little chill zone somewhere - furnished with comforting items (soft toys, bean bag, blanket, sticker book, stress ball etc). If they don’t want a hug or a chat suggest they go chill.

No one is perfect. Be kind to yourself.