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Children and Covid-19 Advice and support for parents, carers and those working with children

Talking to children about Covid-19 BE HONEST

Answer questions factually and consider how much information is appropriate to your child’s age and development. Children can feel and sense emotions the same way we do and if you’re not honest with your child it can make them even more frightened.


Your child will take their lead from you and be reassured if you are steady and matter of fact. Try not to dismiss or talk children out of their feelings or anxieties – accept and acknowledge them and empathise with how hard it must be to feel those things.


Start a conversation with them. Some children may not ask questions or appear upset, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t have fears or anxieties. Choose a time when you are together and busy with something to ask what they have heard about Covid-19 and if they have any questions or worries.


Use familiar language and be careful not to overload children with too much information. Try and limit how much they see on TV or social media. Empower them with the things they can do to prevent being ill, such as washing their hands. Keep them hopeful by balancing some of the news statistics with positive messages.

For more information and resources visit: www.southyorkshirefutures.co.uk/covid-19

The importance of play during Covid-19


Playing, particularly shared play, is linked to wellbeing and reducing stress in adults and children. Shared play releases hormones and chemicals in the brain and body that support strong positive relationships and leave us feeling less anxious and aggressive. At a time when fear and anxiety are high, play provides an opportunity for family connection.




Jumping, climbing, Chasing, grappling and Drawing, creating, dancing, and wrestling safely baking, building, skipping are really together can be a vital cutting and sticking. important for using part of reducing and up energy that may controlling aggression. come from stress.


Hide and seek, treasure hunts, board games, card games and I-spy.

IMAGINATIVE PLAY Role play such as tea parties, superheroes or shopkeepers can help children to make sense of experiences.


Playing together can also provide opportunities for important conversations that allow children to make sense of their experiences and voice fears and worries with an adult they trust.

For more information and resources visit: www.southyorkshirefutures.co.uk/covid-19

Shared and playful learning activities at home during Covid-19 STRUCTURE


If you are working from home, be kind to yourself. This is working from home in a global crisis - doing our best to work whilst we try to manage all our other responsibilities and our own emotions in a climate of fear.

Structure is important and routines help to maintain a sense of normality for children during school closures. Don’t focus all your time on Maths and English. Although these are important the most effective way to manage stress levels in your child and bring down their fear and anxiety is to include playful activities.

This also applies to our children, who are being home schooled and isolated from their friends and usual routines. Do the best you can and remember that good enough is good enough.



Play releases hormones and chemicals that reduce stress and support our immune system. Use this time to have fun and learn together.

It’s very important that this is play with your child rather than them playing alone. This increases the sense of emotional connection and safety. It is also an opportunity to talk about your child’s feelings at the same time.

For more information and resources visit: www.southyorkshirefutures.co.uk/covid-19

Supporting the children’s workforce during Covid-19 PROTECT Wherever possible, support staff to work from home.

If appropriate provide protective equipment and ensure staff are aware of all measures to help reduce the risk of infection.

Where it is necessary for staff to be present, rota this to minimise their time in the school or work environment.

Provide structure, routines and ways for staff to usefully fill their time working from home or in work so they feel productive and purposeful.

RELATE Check in regularly with staff. Find ways to do this virtually that all staff can access – including phone calls, social media and WhatsApp.

Keep staff informed and updated with changes, as and when they happen. Be proactive in offering support and provide links to support and advice for all staff.

Find ways to offer social support that aren't business or work related. Set up virtual coffees, share recipes or set fun challenges.

REGULATE Give staff opportunities to talk and be curious about their experiences.

Validate and accept their feelings and emotions. Be empathetic and try not to fix, minimise or dismiss their experiences.

Ensure staff have time away from challenging situations, a safe space and a trusted person to check in with when needed.

REFLECT Consider ways to help staff make sense of the changes and maintain a sense of hope. Try and share a daily piece of good news.

Offer opportunities for staff to share their thoughts in a safe way.

Identify the things that staff are missing and create a calendar of events for when life returns to a more normal state.

For more information and resources visit: www.southyorkshirefutures.co.uk/covid-19

Mental health and wellbeing support during Covid-19 STAY CONNECTED Social support helps to reduce stress - so finding different ways to stay connected is important.

Join WhatsApp groups with family, friends, neighbours or colleagues. Try video calling - an ideal way to still see family and friends. Write a letter. If you are unable to post it then photograph it and send the image by text or email. Seek support. Having someone to talk to is important. Sometimes this can be more helpful when it’s not a friend or a family member.

STAY REGULATED There are lots of things we can do to regulate ourselves and bring down the stress chemicals in our bodies.

Turn off notifications and delete apps that constantly update about the crisis. Try to only check the news once in the morning and once in the evening - this is enough to keep you up to date, and safe. Voice, acknowledge and accept your feelings. It might be helpful to write them down or share them with a family member or friend. Practice hopefulness and look to the future. You could keep a jar and add notes of things that you would really like to do, or people you would really like to see. Make a commitment to do those things once restrictions are lifted.


Stay active by accessing yoga sessions and workout videos via an app or online.

There are lots of things we can do to remain balanced at this uncertain time.

Spending time outdoors is good for our health. Take your daily walk or spend time in your garden if you have one. Keep to a routine, eat healthily, sleep well and keep drinking water. Try to keep busy. There are still plenty of activities you can do at home, including crafts, painting, reading, cooking and baking - or try teaching yourself a new skill. Find opportunities to play. Play releases hormones and chemicals within our bodies that reduce stress and support our immune system.

For more information and resources visit: www.southyorkshirefutures.co.uk/covid-19

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Children and Covid-19: Advice and support for parents, carers and teachers  

Resource from South Yorkshire futures. Designed by Nifty Fox Creative, 2020.

Children and Covid-19: Advice and support for parents, carers and teachers  

Resource from South Yorkshire futures. Designed by Nifty Fox Creative, 2020.