The links on this page provide you with resources that may be useful in helping you promote and maintain wellbeing in your child(ren).
Children’s wellbeing is connected to your wellbeing
Helping children and young people cope with the changes caused by COVID-19 means providing accurate information, discussing facts without causing undue alarm, and re-establishing routines.
You are an important role model for children and young people. Staying calm and enabling time and space to be together with children will help them adjust to this “new normal”.
Children and young people look to adults for guidance on how to react to stressful events.
If you seem overly worried, children’s and young people’s anxiety may rise. You can reassure children and young people that everyone is working together, from the Prime Minster down, to help people throughout the country stay healthy and to limit the spread of this virus.
If you feel anxious, that’s a normal reaction to the new situation we all face. Children and young people notice when we are anxious. Think about how your reactions could impact the people around you. Take a quick break if things feel overwhelming, or notice and try some slow breathing, or concentrate on the sounds outside, anything that you know helps.
You can express your feelings but base your words on facts and truth, and model how you want children and young people around you to behave.
Remain calm and reassuring
Your child will follow your lead. Here are some tips on what you can say about the virus and what’s happening in New Zealand and what you can do to support their wellbeing.
- You can say yes, there are some people unwell with COVID-19 in New Zealand— which is the reality of a pandemic.
- We all need to work together and help each other.
- Because there is some virus spread between people in New Zealand, everyone in the community is being especially careful to make sure as few people as possible get sick.
- It is important that everyone treats each other with respect, and not jump to conclusions about who may or may not have COVID-19.
- Let’s keep up to date with the latest news — but not all the time though. When shall we check in with the latest news (once a day for this information)?
- What else are you interested in? Let’s find out more about that together.
- What messages are you hearing from your friends, let’s help them keep their focus on the important stuff, helping others, keeping in contact and keeping active, planning fun things.
- Give permission to be online but decide on some limits.
- Remind them that you and everyone in the community are helping to keep them safe and healthy. Create the space to enable children and young people to talk about their feelings.
- If they are feeling worried or anxious, you can support simple calming activities such as breathing exercises. This works for adults too, so feel free to join in. Gently hold their thumb – have them breathe slowly in and out, count out loud, “ 1”, move to their pointer finger – have them breathe slowly in and out, count “2”, move to their middle finger and repeat, count “3”, move across just one hand and count to “5”, or both hands to count to “10”. Can they do it for you? If a child or young person feels overwhelmed, or that things are feeling out of control, remember that offering simple choices or options can help, i.e. shall we do this, or this? Or would they like to use this, or that?
- Spend some time together – would they like to do a puzzle or listen while you read a story? For older children, allow time online for young people to positively connect with their friends.
Sparklers has a range of calming activities for young children you could try.
Headspace has a range of things that help people keep calm and activities that help with sleep.
This webinar, “Real-time Resilience: Supporting Young People”, offers advice on how to support children through the coming weeks.
General Wellbeing Resources