Give reassurance to your child
Coronavirus has had a huge impact on young people's lives. Not being able to go to school and see friends means many have lost their support network.
Coronavirus has had a huge impact on young people’s lives. Not being able to go to school and see friends means many have lost their support network.
Between January and May this year Childline volunteers delivered nearly 7,000 counselling sessions with children worried about Covid-19. Most schools are open again now and it’s only natural for children to worry about how things will be different, catching up on missed schoolwork and keeping safe and following social distancing.
The first few weeks of the new term are traditionally when our Childline counsellors across the country report a spike in contacts from young people over bullying, and we’ve put together a few tips on how to help your child stay safe when school starts again and throughout the year.
Write it down
Encourage them to write down worries and anything they’re excited about. Urge them to show the list to a trusted adult (could a parent/carer or teacher) so they can help them.
Talk about lockdown
A lot has happened while they were off. They might have started to feel down or even lost friends or family members. Talking about it can help.
Let your feelings out
There are plenty of tools on the Childline website to help children and young people express what they’re feeling when they can’t find the words. Visit childline.org.uk and try the mood journal or art box.
Take your time
It’s going to take a while to adjust to being back at school. It’s ok if it doesn’t feel comfortable at first. Once they’re home from school, make sure they do something each day that they enjoy. Returning to school also means meeting new friends, catching up with old friends, and discovering new ways of playing games or apps online outside of school hours.
Be sure to speak regularly to your child about the apps and games they and their friends are using online, and remind them about what’s safe to share and that they can speak to you, trusted adults (like teachers), or our Childline counsellors about any concerns.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that your routines are set to change massively – from morning alarms to time spent doing schoolwork and free time online. We’ve created an online family agreement for you and your children to decide together how and when to spend time online.
Remember, there’s plenty more advice available at www.nspcc.org.uk, www.childline.org.uk and our family agreements are available in a variety of languages at www.net-aware.org.uk Volunteer Childline counsellors are available online and over the phone, free and in confidence by calling 0800 1111 or visiting www.childline.org.uk.
At the NSPCC, we also believe it is vital that the system as a whole is prepared to support children to move forward with their lives again. Adults in schools are well placed to recognise signs of abuse and as children go back to school we need to make sure that children are supported to speak out and access the support they need.
The Government, health boards and local authorities need to ensure that they have sufficient resources in place to provide children and young people in every area of Wales with specialist support to recover from their experiences. As we are expecting a surge of referrals from families experiencing domestic abuse during lockdown, this needs to include dedicated children workers in both refuge and community services to provide play and therapeutic work for families in crisis. By Ally Sultana, NSPCC Midlands Campaigns Manager