Wellbeing tips for families:
- Give some time to talk and process what is happening, with children and as a staff group too. But also make sure that Coronavirus is not the only thing being talked about. Some people may wish to talk a lot about this, and others may not.
- Consider asking about what children have heard about the virus and the situation so that you can correct possible misconceptions and reassure them.
- Remember to keep things positive and give children hope. For example, tell children that now many people are working to make this better and that even though it is serious, everyone is doing their best to help people.
- Remember that people react differently to significant events. Some people – children and staff – may feel worried, some excited, some nothing much at all. Reassure pupil and staff that this is all normal and okay.
- Staff will need to model calmness, but it is also important to talk honestly and not pretend that things aren’t different and worrying for some.
- Keep to daily school routines as much as possible. Well-known routines in everyday life provide security and stability. Routine during unrest can be therapeutic, and changes particularly unsettling for some. If there are changes to routine, consider which children may need some extra help with this.
- Identify colleagues whose wellbeing may be more at risk. For example, there may be people who have experienced anxiety in the past.
- Identify children whose wellbeing may be more at risk. For example, those who may have relatives with health conditions or recent bereavements, and some SEN groups such those prone to anxiety; those with learning difficulties; those with Autism; and those with tendency for obsessive or repetitive behaviours.
- Stay informed by sticking to trusted sources of information. Avoid being too immersed in media coverage. Be mindful of the amount of things you are reading and watching, including social media – as this may add to worry and anxiety. Consider a few updates every day from trusted sources.
- As an adult you may be concerned yourself. Take care of yourself and make sure you have breaks, time to relax, and ask for help from others if you need.
(Acknowledgement to Harrow Educational Psychologist)
Some Useful Links:
1. Talking to children about Coronavirus
There is currently a lot of uncertainty and worry around the coronavirus outbreak and children and young people will be affected by the huge changes that are going on around them – regardless of their age or any additional needs. It is really important that adults explain what is happening to children and young people in an age appropriate way so they understand what is happening. Some useful links are:
2. Stories about Coronavirus for children
Visual stories are a useful way of helping children to understand the Coronavirus. Here are some links to some good examples:
3. Information videos for children about the Coronavirus
Information video on Coronavirus for older children/adults (WHO):
4. Promoting Children’s Wellbeing
Helping children cope with stress (WHO):
5. Special Needs and Coronavirus
6. Looking after your own wellbeing
7. Health Advice
8. Government advice about Coronavirus for education settings
Note: as the situation and sources of information are developing, the above tips and links may be updated.