Keeping children safe and supporting their wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic

Please see our page on Living with Grief and Loss, here.

Guidance for parents and carers: Keeping children safe and supporting their wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic

Keeping your child safe online

At times when students are inside for long periods of time, many young people will be spending a significant amount of time on social media. This presents a challenge for parents and carers to do the best to ensure they are safe when online. Fortunately, there is lots of support and guidance available.

Ms Cooper talks through some key advice for students here.

You can read her tips here.

Ms Williams has also shared some advice for how to use social media to connect with friends, and using screens in a mindful way.

To find out more about the different social media platforms that your child may be using, a good starting point is this site from the NSPCC: https://www.net-aware.org.uk/

Other support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online includes:

If you need to report online behaviour, start with these:

Prior to the closure, pastoral staff in school were aware of many students having large numbers of ‘friends’ or followers on social media that they had never met, or whose identity they could not verify.  This can lead to a range of issues, including adults befriending young people (sometimes by posing as young people) in order to manipulate or exploit them into unsafe behaviours. We recommend that you have agreed evening cut-offs, after which social media is not accessible by your child, with all phones and tablets kept out of their bedrooms. You should monitor, restrict and time-limit the social media platforms that they have access to (using the guidance and links above). We also recommend that you have regular conversations with your child about what they are accessing online, mindful of the impact of peer pressure, online bullying and online safety on their welfare and mental health. 

New Home Office Guidance
The Home Office published new guidance on 14th April which covers a range of online harms including radicalisation. The advice and guidance on GOV.UK is being regularly updated and this page is likely to become the location for any future guidance on online harms. You can find it here.

CTPHQ Online Harms Guidance 
The impact of COVID-19 means most children will be at home for an extended period and will be spending increasing amounts of time online. Counter-Terrorism
Police have produced some guidance to parents relating to the specific online radicalisation risk. This can be found on their website under advice for parents and carers. The link is here.


Supporting your child’s mental health

Supporting your child’s mental wellbeing during the COVID-19 Pandemic

We are very lucky to work with the Westminster Trailblazer’s mental health team. They have developed a series of 6 videos for parents and carers of St Marylebone students to help support their child and themselves during the current pandemic.


Below is some guidance, and recordings made by the Pupil Achievement Team, for you to discuss and use with your child. Bear in mind that every family and every young person will find different things that work for them and that this might change over time; there is no single correct way to do this. More advice on supporting learning can be found on the website here.

Listen to your own emotions:

You might feel lots of different emotions during this difficult time. This is normal and to be expected. To help you manage all these emotions, you might want to keep a diary, or find a way to express them in music or art or movement.  Importantly, remember that we’re all in this together, so do talk to others. It’s not always easy to talk, but it really does help as naming our emotions helps us feel more in control, and people can empathise and sometimes offer suggestions to help. 

Sleep:

Sleep is so important for our physical and mental health. Try to wake up, and go to bed at the same time each day (including the weekends) and try to follow the same bedtime routine each evening. When you wake up, try to move your body and get some sunshine as soon as possible to help you feel awake and ready for the day.

Listen to Ms Dunworth talk about the importance of sleep and offer some tips here.

Exercise:

Exercise is one of the most powerful tools we have in boosting our mood and stopping us from feeling down, alongside being really important in supporting our physical health. 

When we exercise our body releases endorphins which make us feel energised and happier. After exercising you will notice that you feel calmer and able to think more clearly.  It also helps to rid yourself of restlessness, boredom and supports good sleep. 

It doesn’t have to be a massive run or intense workout! A gentle stroll or some yoga stretches is enough to clear your mind. You could look at Yoga with Adriene, or PE with Joe Wicks on Youtube. 

Have a listen to Ms Shaw talking about the value of exercise.

Calm your mind:

Mindfulness and Meditation are incredibly useful tools to calm and quiet busy, worried or stressed minds. There are lots of apps such as Headspace, or Calm and a huge number of videos on youtubes to guide you. 

Ms Christodoulidis has put together some advice on mindfulness which she talks through here: 

VideoDocument

Do nice things that you enjoy:

If you like to sew, read, make things, do art, draw, do puzzles or sudoku.  Put on your favourite playlist and dance! Get your parents and siblings to join in.  Watch funny things on tv or listen to funny or thoughtful podcasts. Humour and laughter boost your immune system and are a good antidote to feeling low or anxious.

Notice the good things: 

Gratitude observing, where we note the things we are thankful for, can help us to improve our mental health. It is linked to many benefits such as: feeling happy/ optimistic, becoming emotionally resilient and improved mental health as taking the time to reflect helps us to tackle any negativity we may be experiencing.

A key way to help you change your mindset is to focus on 3 things that have happened to you during the day that you are thankful for. They can be small or big things. 

There are lots of different ways you can do this but to make it become part of your routine it is best if you do it at a similar time every day. You may want to note down the three things you are grateful for in your journal, or share your thoughts with the people at home during dinner time and encourage them to share theirs too! 

Gratitude observing is something you can do as “self-care”. Self-care means the things we can do to look after our own mental health. The Anna Freud Centre has a wealth of suggestions of activities you can do for self care on their website – follow the link for more ideas. 

Listen to Ms Moreton explain more about gratitude and self-care.

Organise yourselves and implement routines: 

Routines make us feel safe and secure, as well as enabling us to complete all the tasks we want to. With the loss of the normal school day, we lose our normal routines.

Listen to Ms Carson’s advice about organising yourself and implementing routines at home. 

What to do if you’ve fallen behind with work: 

You might fall behind with work and be worried about how to catch up. We are here to support you.

Listen to Ms McAllister-Dilks advice for how to catch up with missed work.

Support with managing difficult thoughts and feelings:

Have a listen to Ms Sainsbury explaining where you can find support.

1. Self-care is about the things we can do to look after our own mental health. The Anna Freud website has lots of self care strategies for you to consider.

https://www.annafreud.org/on-my-mind/self-care/

2. Talking to a trusted friend or adult. A trusted adult could be someone at  home or school. You may want to speak to your tutor, a mentor, your Head of Year or any member of staff that you feel comfortable talking to. If you’d rather speak to someone who doesn’t know you, you can access the following services:

3. Seeking professional help. School as well as your GP are able to make referrals for mentoring, counselling and other mental health services. If you want to find out more about what professional help could look like the Anna Freud website may be helpful:

https://www.annafreud.org/on-my-mind/understanding-referrals/

https://www.annafreud.org/on-my-mind/receiving-support/

Further mental health support:


Safeguarding and Family Support – Accessing Children’s Services

Every borough has a Children’s Service where you can find support in relation to:

  • Safeguarding services – if you are worried about the safety of a child or young person and you think they are at risk of harm. 
  • Support services for families – including parents and carers, children and young people.

If you have a concern and you contact Children’s Services, they can advise you on the best help available for you and your family. You need to contact the service within your home borough. 

Local Authority

Phone number

Email address

Barnet

020 8359 4066

mash@barnet.gov.uk

Brent

020 8937 4300 (option 1)

cfis@brent.gov.uk

Camden

020 7974 3317

LBCMASHadmin@camden.gov.uk

Ealing

0208 825 8000

ECIRS@ealing.gov.uk

Hammersmith & Fulham

020 8753 6600

Familyservices@lbhf.gov.uk

Islington

020-7527 -7400

csctreferrals@islington.gov.uk

Kensington & Chelsea

0207 361 3013

socialservices@rbkc.gov.uk

Lambeth

0207 926 5555

helpandprotection@lambeth.gov.uk

Southwark

0207 525 1921

MASH@southwark.gov.uk

Westminster

0207 641 4000

AccesstoChildrensServices@westminster.gov.uk

As always, during term time you can contact the School’s Safeguarding Team:


Please see our page on Living with Grief and Loss, here.