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Supporting children's mental health during lockdown

Photo: Try not to overwhelm children with more information than they need.

Many children are feeling anxious about current events and changes to their normal routines. Below are some tips on how you can help your deaf child to understand what's going on and feel safe at home during the lockdown.

These tips were shared during our webinar for parents on building self-esteem. If you would like to join a future information and advice session, please see our events.

There are useful websites to help inform your child about what's going on. Be honest with your child about your own concerns, but reassure them that there are measures in place to protect all of us.

Remember, sometimes less is more. Give your child the basic information they need, and then see what additional questions they may have.

Make a set time to discuss your child's questions and stick to it if you can. Plan other activities through the day which don’t directly relate to the coronavirus. Children can pick up on parental stress very easily, even if they don’t outwardly show it. Reduce anxiety and stress for yourself and your child by turning off any background TV rolling news.  Be aware that if your child is regularly watching the visual content of TV reporting without being able to access the narrative behind it, this might appear more distressing.

Balance out more stressful news by focusing on positive stories. You could watch videos of different ways people are showing their support for the NHS, talk about the fun activities you've enjoyed together during lockdown, or make a list of things you're looking forward to in the future.

Routines are important for us all. Your child’s school may have set work which requires you to follow a routine anyway, but you may have to build on this or create one of your own. Use visual timetables to help your child understand what comes next and to encourage their independence by knowing when an activity is going to start or finish. This might also be a good opportunity to reinforce learning to tell the time. Sit down with the whole family so that everyone knows what each member needs to do for school, work, household chores and play.

If you have enough space, break up the day by using different spaces in the home for different activities, such as using the kitchen for cooking, garden for painting, and bathroom for water-based activities. Try to differentiate between the spaces you use for sleeping and playing. If you have a printer, you could print off mock certificates for your child for doing an activity, concentrating hard, or cleaning up after themselves.

The app Chill Panda contains games and activities to help children relax, stay calm and monitor their own wellbeing.