Parenting Through Covid 19 – One city. One Effort.
By Chris Cavanagh, Denise Wright & Kaya Nash (Liverpool City Council, Early Help Team) with contributions from citywide partner organisations.
“If like me, the news of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had you and your family wondering what it means for you all, I totally understand. It is a natural reaction because the way we managed our day-to-day lives and our family life has fundamentally changed. Before you know it normality will be resumed and we can look back and reflect, knowing that Liverpool has come together as a city to work collectively again to help each other.
Terms such as social distancing, self-isolation and social lockdowns have entered our vocabularies and have become part of our normal lives. Other more positive discussions are also emerging around terms such as community, resilience and support.
The long-term implications are not yet known, but as a parent and a professional who supports families, I believe that the support that is offered and information you are able to access can help you get through these times. While keeping children and ourselves healthy and safe is our main concern, it is also essential to address the anxieties of children and young people during these changing times. You will find some ideas to help inform, reassure and keep children and young people safe.
The offer of services to support families and young people in Liverpool continues, this is offered in a different way through telephone and video calls.
My children are all adults now but I think back to the days when we played computer games together, like FIFA on the Playstation. I must admit that as they got older I didn’t stand much of a chance of winning, but it was a chance for me to spend time with them and have fun. My generation grew up with console games, maybe this is the time to bring that dusty controller out of retirement and have a game of Mario or FIFA. Just a reminder –FIFA 20 is the current game and it’s much slicker than FIFA 98!
Liverpool has always pulled together as a city in times of adversity and it is no different now, our workers are being as innovative as ever to bring together resources to make the time you are spending as a parent as light and fun as possible.
The amazing work by our partner organisations and volunteers across the city highlights that together we will continue supporting people in this city and helping to improve lives.
Within this blog you will find information to support you and your family and we will be posting new information as we receive it.”
Local Organisational Support
The Liverpool CAMHS Partnership is adapting as Coronavirus impacts our everyday lives. Our partners are working hard to ensure children, young people and families get the support they need during this time.
You can find out more at liverpoolcamhs.com/support-category/covid-19-support.
To help parents interact constructively with their children during this time of confinement, these six one-page tips for parents cover planning one-on-one time, staying positive, creating a daily routine, avoiding bad behaviour, managing stress, and talking about COVID-19. Use them to your and your kids’ advantage, and have fun in doing so.
These guides are free interactive online parenting guides for parents and families in Liverpool.
The guides are based on real evidence about how babies develop in the womb, through infancy and throughout childhood and adolescence. Liverpool parents, carers and grandparents can learn about the stages their children go through and how to strengthen relationships with them in ways that will have a lasting positive impact on the whole family.
Within these guides, written by the Solihull Approach (NHS), you can find advice and information on:
- The amazing and developing brains of babies and children
- The importance of playing, singing, reading with your child
- Parenting styles and tips
- Overcoming challenges with things like behaviour and sleep
- The huge value of good communication
If you live in Liverpool* then you are eligible to access these online guides for free. Visit inourplace.co.uk and enter the following access code: PURPLEBIN
Pregnant or New Mums
Parents who may need to work and juggle childcare will feel like they have to fill their children’s gap for learning. While no-one expects them to replicate school, there is plenty of online help to stave off boredom.There are lots do arts and craft activities and lots of these help with language, vocabulary and mathematics. Here are some useful websites for home learning ideas:
- BrainPop: Offers animated movies on topics in maths, science and English –brainpop.com
- Tynker: Offers coding lesson for kids – tynker.com
- Everton Nursery: Support for children aged 0-5 years and online stories read by staff
- Reading for different ages
- Tips for reading with your children
- Local Author Frank Cottrell-Boyce daily reading for older children via Instagram: @Frank_cottrell_boyce
- LeapFrog learning resources for children 0-5 years
- Phonics and reading tips for parents
- Courses On Line: How to work from home with a family
Remember that while learning is important at this time of unprecedented uncertainty, so are family activities, such as having fun and getting out of the house (where appropriate)…
Make time to play…
Children can learn so much through play. You might not feel like playing much at the moment, but playing can be a great escape and can really help to take your mind off things.
You may want to plan a short play activity for each day, this can really make a difference to your child’s mood and behaviour. Playing together can really help prevent problem behaviour which may stem from boredom whilst also maintaining and strengthening family relationships.
Making time to play together also creates even more ideas for playing and can create opportunities to talk about your child’s interests or any other worries they might have. Finding a good time in the day to play is important, you might plan to play something after breakfast for younger children to get them in a contented mood for the day, or later in the evening for older children, or as a whole family.
There are lots of games to play outside too while you go on your daily walk, such as ‘I Spy’, or you could look for rainbows together that children are making and displaying in their windows (and you can even make your own rainbows).
Some ideas for playing together…
Play board games together, traditional games like Monopoly, Cluedo, Ludo or games like Connect 4, Checkers, Battleships, Guess Who, Snakes and Ladders and Jenga are fun for two players or more. You might want to invent your own games, lots of games only need paper and pencil, such as Pictionary, where you guess each other’s words through drawing, or games such as treasure hunts, where you can make your own clues. Playing card games like Chace the Ace, Snap, or Patience can keep children entertained for a long time (and can really boost mathematical skills).
Start to collect materials for your own art and craft kit, you can collect cardboard boxes, cereal boxes, tin foil, food packaging, buttons, bits of fabric, yoghurt pots, old milk bottles. Add scissors, pencils, paint and glue to your kit (according to your child’s age) and these will keep your child amused for hours. You might help young children to make their own book all about them, with their own drawings in, these could be based on one of their favourite topics like Outer Space, Super Hero’s, Forests or Magical Kingdoms. Books can happen inside shoe boxes, on cardboard or on paper! Use audiobooks to listen to a story and then write a summary / draw the story. Find out more via the city’s FREE Read Liverpool e-reading resource or Audible.
See more about the importance of play and lots of ideas for activities at actionforchildren.org.uk/support-for-parents/things-to-do-with-your-child.
You may want to learn an instrument, there are plenty of free online sites that teach children to play an instrument. Go to bbc.co.uk/learning/subjects/music.
Play Virtual chess: chess.com/play/computer
Baking together is also a great activity, home-made cakes and biscuits can be a lot tastier and healthier than the ones you buy in the shops and you can control how much sugar goes into them! Join Miranda Gore Brow for lots of ideas for children and adults to bake together: mirandagorebrowne.co.uk/bake-together. Or visit bbc.goodfood.com/recipes or bakingmad.com.
Six Ways to Maintain a Routine
In normal circumstances, it’s hard to argue that there is something wonderful about those rare days at home, where you can get up late, stay in your pyjamas and sit around the house without any major commitments to worry about. In the current climate however, finding some sense of routine while at home could be more important than ever.
Managing Your Own Wellbeing
There is a wealth of online support available for families and we hope you have been able to access some of this for yourselves.
A whole host of celebrities have removed paywalls to their online classes. These include Joe Wicks, Carol Vorderman, Ben Fogle, Marlene Klauss and other You Tubers your kids will actually have heard of! You may find it useful to build an age and stage appropriate ‘timetable’ for yourselves and also for families you are working with.
- Headspace App – Mindfulness for your everyday life: headspace.com and headspace.com/covid-19.
- Kooth is an online counselling and emotional wellbeing platform for children and young people aged 14-25 years, accessible through mobile, tablet and desktop and free at the point of use: kooth.com.
- SANEline: If you’re experiencing a mental health problem or supporting someone else, you can call SANEline on 0300 304 7000 (4.30pm–10.30pm every day).
- YoungMinds provides support and advice to parents and carers worried about the emotional wellbeing or behaviour of a young person in their care with confidential expert advice: youngminds.org.uk
- Parents Helpline: Call 0808 802 5544.
- OCD Action is a place for support and information to anybody affected by OCD. They have a helpline: 0845 390 6232 (Mon-Fri, 9:30am – 5pm) or you can visit their website for more information: ocdaction.org.uk
- Domestic Abuse advice and helplines
- Prince’s Trust Coronavirus Support Hub
- Mental health while isolating
For those of you seeking for work, there are many new opportunities. Did you know that your local children’s centre can offer the support you need to help you return to work, such as help with preparing a CV? Call your local centre to find out the many ways they can support you to find or return to work.
For current vacancies (from age sixteen+) please visit Liverpool in Work: liverpoolinwork.co.uk.
Lots of supermarkets have immediate vacancies for store assistants and shelf stackers:
- Asda: Drop CV in store or visit asda.jobs.
- Aldi: Drop CV in store.
- B&M: Drop CV in store.
- Co-op: Drop CV in store or visit jobs.coop.co.uk
- LIDL: Visit careers/lidl.co.uk
- Morrisons: Visit morrisons.jobs
- Marks and Spencer: careers.marks&spencer.com
- Hospital Cleaners are also wanted immediately, call Census Jobs on 0151 443 6858/6878 or visit censusjobs.co.uk.
- Antrec Online Training is offering online packages for taxi and private hire drivers for those age 19+, in receipt of benefits or on low wage. Email [email protected].
- More opportunities can be found at bbc.co.uk/news/business-52040539.