Here you will find tips and ideas for looking after your mental health and wellbeing during home learning and beyond.
Wellbeing and Additional Support
Children, young people and their families can get free help, advice and urgent mental health support from 24/7 crisis telephone lines available in every London borough.
Every NHS mental health trust in London has put these in place, so children, young people and their families can get help quickly when they need it. Professionals are also able to access these crisis lines if they are concerned about or would like advice about a child, young person or family. The crisis lines are supported by trained mental health practitioners, who can offer advice and signpost other sources of support as needed.
Please find here a brief information pack with details of these crisis lines as well as other support available (e.g. Shout, Good Thinking and Kooth).
- It might really help you to stick to a schedule each day. You could make a schedule like this one. This timetable resource might also help. (But don't do it if it makes you feel more stressed!)
- Lots of children across the country are drawing or painting rainbows, and putting them in their window to help cheer up members of the community
- You could arrange a virtual playdate on a video calling app like FaceTime or Zoom
Here are some ideas for things you can do to help manage anxiety about coronavirus, for you and your family.
- Do a mood check-in first thing in the morning and then later in the afternoon. Use our mood thermometer to help - and remember that all feelings are ok!)
- Choose 2 x 5 minute sessions each day to check in with the news – to avoid a constant stream of information that might trigger anxiety. For children we like BBC Newsround.
- Set up a container (for example a shoe box or a bowl) as a ‘worry box’ or ‘bubble box’. Children can leave messages in here for parents to read later, if they aren’t ready to talk yet.
- For each worry that you talk about, encourage each other to think of two positive things. For example:
Worry: my grandparents could be affected.
Positive 1… we live in a country with a free healthcare system
Positive 2… we are lucky to have technology that helps us to communicate with our loved ones
Watching these videos is a great starting point for discussions around mental health:
Being active can really help to lift your spirits.
- Try this beginners work out for kids, from Joe Wicks
- Set a regular alarm to remind you to move
- Set yourself a challenge (such as how many star jumps or sit ups can you do in one minute?)
- Try this simple yoga for kids to do at home, with visual prompts
- Sign up for a GoNoodle account for free, for movement break ideas
- Sleep well: It is also important to get good quality sleep. If your mind feels full up or your emotions are overwhelming, you will find it hard to enjoy a good nights sleep. There are lots of free soothing mediation or sound videos or find a podcast which is funny. Write your thoughts on a note pad or a to do list then put it out of sight until the morning. Try deep breathing for at least 3 minutes, slowly through your nose and out from your mouth.
- Eat well: Eating high levels of fruit and vegetables has been found to improve wellbeing. Plan ahead and try and limit the 'unhealthy' snacks to treat times.
Try this introduction to mindfulness
Deep breaths can really help. Use this hand guide (or your own hand) to follow five deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Create a comfortable area where you can lie down. Once you are lying flat, place your favourite teddy or toy on your tummy. As you breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, notice the weight of the teddy moving with your breath.
Sticking to the facts can help calm anxiety.
- We like the clear explanation of coronavirus by National Geographic Kids
- A story about how coronavirus spreads (available in different languages)
- 'Stay Home Superheroes' - a story about school being closed.
- Facts for older children to read: https://www.makemegenius.com/coronavirus-2020-amazing-facts-for-kids.php
- Mencap - Easy Read guide to Coronavirus