COVID-19: Information and support for families with children

We are very aware that the Covid-19 pandemic has put enormous pressure on everyone, and especially on families coping with lockdown, school closures and financial uncertainty.
We would like to reassure you that your GP practice is very much ‘open for business’ and are still here to help and support you with any concerns or queries you have about the health or wellbeing of yourself and your family. We are only too aware that children will continue to get unwell from the usual childhood ailments, unrelated to COVID-19 and will require the normal standard of care. Our normal telephone / switchboard number remains the same for you to call us.
All community health and social care services remain in operation. Health visitors, 0-19 Teams, social care and workers, hospitals and GP practices (including ours), Out of Hours and 111 are all still providing the same, safe care as before and so please call them if you have any concerns.
The following have some useful advice and suggestions that can help children and families cope with having to remain socially isolated, in lockdown and socially distanced from others in challenging times.

Trusted sites to get up to date information on COVID-19

At the moment, there is a lot of coverage from all media and although it is important to stay informed, it might make you feel as if things are getting on top of you. Feeling stressed or anxious related to seeing lots of new stories about the impact of COVID-19 will be a common reaction. It is OK and quite normal to feel this way.
Try to only take advice from trusted government and health service websites. These have all the latest facts and figures to give consistent advice on how to prevent spreading, catching it and what to do if you think you have the Coronavirus. Some are suggested below.

Managing an unwell child during social isolation and distancing

Click on the link for more Advice for parents during coronavirus

Helping families cope with ‘social isolation and distancing

For those of you with younger children in the household, we are aware how difficult it can be to get across the messages and explain what it means to be in ‘lockdown’ and to both socially isolate and distance from others. We hope you may find the following free resources useful to help your younger children follow the current restrictions in place.

Also, click here and checkout the children’s book on Coronavirus, illustrated by Axel Scheffler, famed for the award winning ‘The Gruffalo.’

Helping families cope with ‘social isolation and distancing’

For most children, try to develop and implement a new routine that all family members can follow. This will provides a balance of several different activities and appropriate interactions with others. At times like these, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour, which can make you feel worse. Simple things you can do to stay mentally and physically active during this time include:

  • Wake up relatively early – (annoying but it does help). Lying in bed until early afternoon will drain your energy levels and crush productivity. Set a nice alarm to wake up to and allow yourself more time to get ready and start the day properly.
  • Stay connected to your friends and family via Skype, e-mail, video-calling and telephone / texting. Don’t rely just on texting though, as an audio-visual catch up is much more rewarding.
  • Social media can be an excellent way to keep in touch with your friends and family. However, you should be mindful of your use of social media. Use it to promote positive interactions, and put your device away if it starts to negatively affect your mood. Many smartphones allow you to set time limits for certain apps such as Facebook or Instagram.
  • It is important to maintain, where possible, some sort of daily routine. You should vary what you put into your routine to keep things different and interesting but try and include key elements consistently.
  • Make a to do list (or schedule / rota) with reasonable and specific things included. Finalise your schedule / rota the night before so you are ready and prepared for the day ahead. Include spending time doing things you enjoy as well as things you  need to do.
    • Time to eat (breakfast, lunch and inner)
    • Time to network chat and socialise, social media / gaming (IT based)
    • Time to do work, study, homework, coursework, learn, research
    • Time for exercise
    • Time for relaxing, personal downtime (non IT based)
    • Time to spend with family
    • Time to spend doing something fun / different / activity based
  • Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water, and try to avoid smoking, alcohol and recreational drugs
  • If needing to socially isolate, spend time with the windows open to let in fresh air, arranging space to sit with a nice view if possible and get some natural sunlight. Get out into the garden or sit on your doorstep if you can, keeping a distance of at least 2 metres from others.
  • If you don’t need to isolate, you should try and get out of the house to do your daily exercise (walk, jog, run or bike-ride) for an hour, keeping your social distance to at least 2 metres when outside.
  • Look to introduce fun activities for you and the family
    • Themed meals
    • Special movie / Netflix nights
    • Quizzes and competitions
    • Kitchen dancing / Karaoke
    • Skype/FT friends other family to involve them too
  • Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for feeling emotionally healthy the next day. We all feel better after a good night’s sleep.

Helping families with emotional and physical well-being

Having to socially isolate and distance yourself (and your family) from your colleagues, friends and family members will make many of us feel stressed and anxious. These are truly extra-ordinary times where information and issues are changing extremely rapidly. It is not surprising that each day can feel totally different to the next and this is unsettling. What’s happening in the world right now can feel daunting, unable to make plans even for the immediate future  – it’s very normal to feel worried and unsure about things. We want you to look after yourself and your family during these difficult times. The following resources can help you and your family with your emotional and physical well-being.

Websites offering emotional well-being and support

  • Childline  (Free confidential help and advice for any Under 18 year old, whatever the worry). – Call 0800 1111
  • Domestic Violence & Abuse Support (Contact Refuge for your rights, options and support) – Call 0800 2000 247
  • ICON  (Babies cry: You can cope. Advice and support for parents coping with a crying baby)
  • MIND (Mental Health Support with specific advice on ‘Coronavirus and your wellbeing’
  • NSPCC Helpline  (Worried about a child, unsure? Contact professional counsellors for help, advice and support) – Call 0808 800 5000
  • Samaritans (Resources and help for all ages) – Call 116 123
  • Young Minds (Supports children, young people, parents & carers with their mental health and well-being)

  Websites offering advice on keeping fit, physical well-being

Please keep safe and healthy