Coping with children’s return to school
The past few months have been hard on everyone, including our kids. We know that most families have experienced upheaval in their daily lives during the pandemic and as many children return to school or college or even start for the first time, this dose of almost normal will be welcomed by some but can cause feelings of anxiety in others.
Research reveals that the coronavirus outbreak has caused an increase in anxiety in young people, and over a third of children report being more worried, sad and stressed than before lockdown. New Public Health England survey data found that over half (52%) of parents said the mental wellbeing of their children topped the list of their biggest worries.
Public Health England (PHE)’s new Better Health – Every Mind Matters campaign provides NHS endorsed tips and advice to help you look after your children’s mental wellbeing, like how to spot signs that the children you care for are struggling with their mental wellbeing and understand how you can support them with managing their emotions and dealing with unhelpful thoughts.
It also gives young people tips and tools to build resilience and equips them to look after their own mental wellbeing.
The advice available has been developed in partnership with leading children and young people’s mental health charities. It is designed to help parents and carers spot the signs that children may be struggling with their mental health and show the actions they can take to support them, whether it’s listening to them talk about the challenges they’re facing or helping them develop skills to cope with their emotions.
So what could you do today?
- Watch this short film with the children or young people you care for
- Be there to listen: Ask the children and young people you look after how they are doing regularly so they get used to speaking about their feelings
- Stay involved in their life: Show interest in their life and the things that are important to them
- Support positive routines: Be a positive role model and support positive behaviours including regular bedtime routines, healthy eating and getting active
- Encourage their interests: Being active, creative, learning things and being a part of a team are all good for mental health. Support children and young people to explore their interests
- Take what they say seriously: help the children and young people you look after feel valued in what they say and help them work through difficult emotions.
We also encourage you to recognise that parenting can be tough, and it’s important to make sure you look after your own mental wellbeing as well as your families. Along with the benefits for you, doing so can also help you support others when they need it.