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Support Your Kids’ Mental Health During The Pandemic With This Guide And Helpline

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It is by no means easy to adapt to the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, and while you can shelter younger children from the full details of what’s going on, there’s no doubt that it will be having an impact on them as well.

To help you support your child’s mental health, charity YoungMinds (opens in new tab) has published a guide for parents and carers, and there is also a free parents’ helpline you can call for advice on 0808 802 5544 from 9.30am until 4pm, Monday to Friday. You can also email using the contact form on the website (opens in new tab) at any time.

You can download the full guide (PDF) (opens in new tab) which, along with tips for how to help look after your children’s mental health, includes advice for parents so they can positively address their own wellbeing.

The advice has been sourced from 1,500 parents and carers, with the key themes uncovered in the research flagged in a series of short tips. Top of the list is to talk to your child about what is going on, providing them with age-appropriate information about the situation, and asking them how they’re feeling. When you do check in with them, another tip is to listen to your child without interrupting them.

Other advice includes limiting the amount of news the child has access to, and restricting it to trustworthy sources like the Government and NHS websites. Setting a routine is also recommended – as is being flexible with it so the structure itself doesn’t become a source of stress. Those questioned also suggested that getting outside into the fresh air for your daily exercise was worth making time for.

If you are a child or young person looking for urgent advice, YoungMinds also operates the free YoungMinds Crisis Messenger service, which is available 24/7 and accessed by texting YM to 85258.

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.