Helping children understand and cope

It seems that the world is changing day by day, and it can be confusing, frustrating, and even terrifying for us and our children.

Some tips to help your children through this time are:

  • Be honest. Answer your children's questions
  • Be comforting and supportive
  • Adopt a new routine
  • Limit social media and unmonitored access to the news
  • Look for the helpers and how people are coping in a positive way. Find hope

Nosy Crow have produced a downloadable book on Coronavirus for Children which will help explain the pandemic to them.

You can also click on the cover image to view the book as a digital publication.

Coronavirus a guide for children book cover

There is also a nice guide for younger children to view online from John Burgerman by Oxford University Press

or click on the image below

Front cover of everybody worries by John Burgerman , a guide for coronavirus for young people, lots of colourful comic characters

Supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing

All children and young people are different, but there are some common ways in which different age groups may react to a situation like the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Understanding these may help you to support your family. The common reactions to distress will fade over time for most children and young people, though could return if they see or hear reminders of what happened.

If you are worried about your child getting upset there is new guidance on the GOV.UK website on supporting your child and some great advice on the NHS website for talking to young children and to teenagers.

Kooth is a new, anonymous, confidential, safe, online wellbeing service offering counselling, information and forums available for young people in Herefordshire. You can contact the service every day of the year:

  • Between 12 noon to 10pm (Monday to Friday) or
  • Between 6pm to 12 midnight (Saturday and Sunday)

You can log on by smartphone, laptop or tablet.

Kooth - Free, safe and anonymous online support for young people from XenZone on Vimeo.


For infants to 2-year olds

Infants may become more easily distressed. They may cry more than usual or want to be held and cuddled more.

For 3 to 6-year olds

Preschool and nursery children may return to behaviours they have outgrown. For example, toileting accidents, bed-wetting, or being frightened about being separated from their parents or carers. They may also have tantrums or difficulty sleeping.

For 7 to 10-year olds

Older children may feel sad, angry, or afraid. Peers may share false information but parents or carers can correct the misinformation. Older children may focus on details of the situation and want to talk about it all the time, or not want to talk about it at all. They may have trouble concentrating.

For preteens and teenagers

Some preteens and teenagers respond to worrying situations by acting out. This could include reckless driving, and alcohol or drug use. Others may become afraid to leave the home. They may cut back on how much time they connect with their friends. They can feel overwhelmed by their intense emotions and feel unable to talk about them. Their emotions may lead to increased arguing and even fighting with siblings, parents, carers or other adults. They may have concerns about how the school closures and exam cancellations will affect them.

Home learning resources

There are plenty of useful home learning resources to keep your children's brains active while they are at home. Also look online for free virtual tours of local zoos, museums events and opportunities to attend virtual music events.

  • Department for Education - resources to support home education - A full list of online education resources across subjects and key stages, including resources for children with SEND
  • Oak National Academy - online classroom - A collection of 180 high-quality lessons a week for every year group from reception through to Year 10. Backed by the Government, these online resources have been created in response to the coronavirus lockdown. Follow the advice from your child's school about how to use resources to fit in with current lesson plans and complement existing work
  • TEDEd at home TED Talks' education division has free 'lessons worth sharing' from teachers around the globe
  • BBC Bitesize - Lots of free videos and helpful topics on a number of topics
  • FreeSchool YouTube - A range of free videos on topics as diverse as animals, sixty second science questions, Women in History
  • PSHE Association - Lots of free and some member resources that are suitable for home learning
  • EC Resources - Collection of free PSHE workbooks for the new 2020 guidelines, suitable for home learning
  • TES - PSHE / SMSC / Citizenship / English / History - 30 Page Student Activity Pack
  • Education Freedom - Free resources from a number of organisations including British Heart Foundation, British Legion and Postal Museum
  • Open Learn - Lots of fantastic free resources for children aged 13 and over.
  • Duolingo - A free to access learn a language site. Learn 30+ languages online with bite-size lessons based on science
  • Home Education Resources - A number of recommended home education websites/resources. Many of them are free
  • Twinkl - Lots of free to download resource packs
  • Art Hub for Kids - Lots of videos lessons for making an array of art projects
  • Khan Academy - Free science and Humanities resources and lesson plans
  • Quizlet - Free education resources for KS1 - KS4
  • Oxford Owl - Educational resources and free eBooks to support children's learning at primary school and at home, from Oxford University Press

Herefordshire libraries also have a page of online resources for families.

If you are worried about your child's safety online then there is new guidance on the GOV.UK website on staying safe online. Also 'Think You Know' are releasing fortnightly activity packs for parents to do with their child to support their safety online. The packs are aimed at children from aged 4 to 14+ and are available on the Think You Know website. There is also a wealth of information and advice for parents and carers on the website around internet and gaming safety.