Support for children and families during COVID-19
Support for children and young people’s mental health
This a tough time for all of us and with such big changes to their lifestyle, children and young people may be struggling with their mental health. For an overview of mental health services available in the county see our mental health services page.
Here are some services that offer support
Chat Health is a confidential text messaging service provided by Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust School Nursing Team. They offer support on a broad range of health and wellbeing issues including relationships, anxiety, stress, self-harm, body worries etc.
Who is the service for? Young people aged between 11- 19 years.
Access help by:
- Text 07507 333351 (available Monday to Friday from 9 am - 4:30 pm)
Teens in Crisis (TIC+) provides counselling services for children and young people and their families in the Gloucestershire area.
Who is the service for? Children and young people living in Gloucestershire aged between 9 - 21 years old
Access help by:
- Visit the Teens in Crisis website
- Call 01594 372777
- Text 07520 634063
- TIC+ Chat - Anonymous one to one support via calling 0300 303 8080 or online live chart. Open from Sunday - Thursday 5pm - 9pm
Gloucestershire Self-Harm Helpline provides a safe, supportive, non-judgemental and informative space for people who self-harm, their friends, families and carers
Who is the service for? Anyone living in Gloucestershire who self - harms and those who are concerned about them.
Access help by:
- Visit the Gloucestershire Self-Harm Helpline website
- Call 0808 801 0606
- Text 07537 410 022
- Webchat available between 5 pm - 10 pm
ThinkNinja is a free mental health app specifically designed for young people which has been extensively updated with specific COVID-19 support content.
Who is the service for? Young people aged 10 - 18 years old
Access help by:
- Visit the ThinkNinja website
- Download the app on Apple App Store or Google Play Store
ChildLine is a free, confidential service for young people in the UK. You can contact ChildLine if you are feeling scared, out of control or just want to talk to someone.
Who is the service for? Young people under the age of 19 years.
Access help by:
- Visit the ChildLine website or speak to a counsellor online via the 1 - 2 - 1 chat
- Call 0800 111
- Download the ChildLine App
The Mix is a free, confidential service for young people in the UK. You can contact The Mix if you need information and advice on mental health and emotional wellbeing to support with lifestyle issues.
Who is the service for? Young people under the age of 25 years.
Access help by:
- Visit The Mix website
- Online support chats available Sunday to Thursday 8 pm - 9:30 pm
- Call 0808 808 4994, available every day from 4 pm - 11 pm
- Crisis messenger text service - Free 24 / 7 crisis support text THEMIX to 85258
Young Minds is a charity that provides information and advice to help with children and young’s people’s mental health.
Who is the service for? Young people up to the age of 25 years
Access help by:
- Visit the Young Minds website
- Specific webpage for young people
- Crisis messenger text service - Free 24 /7 support text YM to 85258
Shout is a confidential crisis text messaging service available 24 / 7 for anyone feeling suicidal or suffering a mental health crisis.
Who is this service for? Anyone in need.
Access help by:
- Text SHOUT to 85258
- Visit the SHOUT website
Anxiety UK is a national charity helping people with anxiety. There are various ways you can seek support and help.
Who is this service for? Anyone is experiencing anxiety.
Access help by:
- Visit the Anxiety UK website
- Text 07537 416 905 (Monday 9:30 am - 5:30 pm)
- Call 03444 775774 (weekdays until 10 pm and over the weekend 10 am - 8 pm)
- For support and to register for online support group email email@example.com
Mind is a mental health charity and has loads of information guides on coronavirus and wellbeing
Who is this service for? Anyone
Access information and support by:
- Visit the Mind website
- Specific webpage for young people
- Call the info line 0300 123 3393 (9am to pm, Monday to Friday except for bank holidays)
- Text 86463
Kooth is a new online digital platform that provides access to self-care resources, information, peer support and access to trained counsellors. It is open to anyone experiencing issues with their emotional wellbeing, such as stress or anxiety and there is no need to be referred.
Who is the service for? Young people aged between 11 - 18 years living in Gloucestershire.
Access help by:
- Visit the https://www.kooth.com/
Supporting children and young people at home
With most families staying at home here are some links to help with homeschooling and keeping children entertained and occupied in the days and weeks to come.
Support with educating your children at home
Parent-of-two Rox explains how she has found juggling home-schooling and work so far, and shares her tips for what has helped.
Here is a list of free information sites and services to help whilst learning at home:
Future Me provides young people in Gloucestershire with the information, advice and help they need to plan for their futures.
Who is this resource suitable for: Young people with and without additional needs 16+.
Edge Hill University Faculty of Education has collated an extensive list of free resources by subject for families who are homeschooling.
Who is this resource suitable for: Children in early years, primary school-age children (3-11 years), secondary school-age children (11 - 16 years) and post 16+.
BBC Bitesize is free online study support for school-age students. Daily online lessons for all ages will be going live shortly.
Who is this resource suitable for: Children in early years, primary school-age children (3-11 years), secondary school-age children (11 - 16 years) and Post 16+.
Oxford Owl provides free educational resources, activities and eBooks to help children’s learning at home.
Who is this resource suitable for: Primary school-age children (3-11 years)
E Bug help your child understand bugs and how to prevent the spread of infection
Who this resource suitable for: Primary school-age children (3-11 years)
The Maths Factor is an online maths practice service aligned to the national curriculum and is free to access to pupils homeschooling.
Who this resource suitable is for: Primary school-age children (4 - 12 years)
Twinkl has a wide range of teaching resource packs and interactive activities to help teach English, Maths and Science. All materials aligned to the curriculum aims.
Who is this resource suitable for: Children in early years, primary school-age children (3-11 years), secondary school-age children (11 - 16 years), Post 16+ and SEND.
Khan Academy has free resources and lessons on maths, science and humanities for learners in Key Stage 1 through to Further Education.
Who is this resource suitable for: Children in Key Stage 1, 2 & 3 and 4
Teachit has thousands of resources and materials written by teachers help teach multiple subjects including Teachit Primary, Teachit English, Teachit Maths, Teachit Science, Teachit Languages, Teachit Geography and Teachit History.
TED- ED has lots of short video lessons for students on a variety of subjects.
Who is this resource for: Primary school-age children (3-11 years), secondary school-age children (11 - 16 years) and Post 16+.
Phonic Play is an interactive site to help children to learn to read, write and spell.
Who is this resource suitable for: Children in early years and primary school-age children (3-11 years).
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) has lots of free to access resources to support the teaching and learning of science, technology,engineering and maths subjects.
Who is this resource suitable for: Primary school-age Children (3-11 years), secondary school-age children (11 - 16 years) and Post 16+.
Future Learn has free online courses and degrees from universities or organisations on a wide range of topics.
Who is this resource suitable for: Secondary school-age Children (11 - 16 years) and Post 16+.
Open University Open Learn has free online courses for students from money, health, and education to nature and the environment.
Who is this resource suitable for: Post 16 + students
Education Endowment Foundation - Regular reading can develop children’s language and communication and boost reading skills. The Education Endowment Foundation has created 7 top tips to support reading at home.
The Education Endowment Foundation has produced an infographic to help home - learning reading, by following the TRUST approach it enables parents and carers to talk about anything your child enjoys reading.
Consistent routines are important for behaviour and wellbeing in school and home especially when we have been finding a new normal during this time. The Education Endowment Foundation has produced a checklist to help plan your new routines with your children.
Gloucestershire Healthy Living and Learning provides information and resources about home learning.
Who is this resource suitable for: Families with school-age children
Government advice to support the home learning of secondary school children (year 7 to 11) is available from the Dept of Education.
Who is this resource for: Parents and carers
Keeping children occupied whilst self-isolating or social distancing
There are lots of things children and families can do whilst staying at home and distancing themselves from family and friends. Here are a few ideas and suggestions of what you can do:
- Listen to podcasts or audiobooks (you can access free audiobooks from Gloucestershire Libraries)
- Audible has made many books available for free including books by David Walliams.
- Enjoy storytime and book-themed quizzes on Book Trust's HomeTime hub
Go on an adventure or start a challenge
- Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust has lots of challenges and activities to help connect families to nature even if we are all stuck at home
- Scouts have launched the Great Indoors Challenge and Girlguiding has launched #AdventuresAtHome. Pages have lots of suggested activities and ideas for kids, adults and everyone to get involved with.
- Go on a minibeast adventure or become a animal photographer via the RSPCA Animal Welfare Activities page
- Use leaves, bark, twigs, buds, flowers or fruit to identify trees using a free app from The Woodland Trust
Try out some new recipes!
- Change 4 Life has loads of fun ideas to help kids stay healthy.
- BBC Good Food has 67 easy, child - friendly cooking projects to get stuck into
- Cookalong with the Food Fact for Life team
Learn a new language!
- Rosetta Stone has loads of free resources to learn a new language
- Learn French, Spanish, Chinese on the BBC
- Learn how to sign language using a fun online course and resources
Be active from the comfort of your own home!
- Sports England has loads of tips, advice and guidance on how to keep or get active in and around your home.
- Change 4 Life 10 minute shake-ups are great way for the whole family to get active!
- Joe Wicks The Body Coach is hosting a free PE lesson to wake us up each morning!
- Natwest MoneySense with fun activities, games and resources that help teach children about money and budgeting at home.
- LifeSkills, created with Barclays, helps young people get the skills and experiences they need to enter the world of work.
Learn how to code and design your own video games
- Learn how to code and put your learning into practice at Codeacademy and code.org
- Learn about video game design and development via Future Learn
- Play Gloucestershire Virtual Play Rangers will be sharing a creative idea and activity each day at 2pm
- Activity Village has loads of craft activities and resources to pass the time.
- See a theatre production from the comfort of your home via The National Theatre
- From colouring to cut and pastes the Tate has lots of activities kids can get involved with.
- Explore and get involved with music via Bring the noise
- Create your own music and songs using Chrome Music Lab
- Look at local help links on The Music Works pages
Explore the world virtually
- Historical Virtual Tours
- Great Wall of China
- Great Barrier Reef
- Solar System
- Take a trip though time – explore the British Museum from home
Advice and guidance for parents and carers
Parenting through coronavirus (COVID - 19)
Children and young people may struggle with the changes to our lives and their routines brought about by coronavirus (COVID-19). Here are some resources that you may find helpful when explaining to them about the coronavirus and why things are different during the outbreak.
- A booklet has been developed to help teenagers who might be worried about the COVID-19 outbreak, or have been struggling with their mental health. You can also read the stem4 blog, How teens can manage anxiety over the coronavirus outbreak.
- Government guidance for parents and carers on supporting children’s and young people’s mental health during the COVID - 19
- There is a coronavirus fact sheet for children with an accompanying animation to help them understand what coronavirus is, the importance of handwashing and how to help stop the virus spreading. These were developed by the Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.
- Free downloadable children’s book about COVID - 19 by Gruffalo’s illustrator Axel Scheffler
- NSPCC COVID-19 advice for children, parents, carers and families
- Family Lives - advice for families during isolation
- Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families - Advice for Young People, Parents and Carers
- Young Minds - tips on how to support your child if they are feeling anxious about COVID-19
Sadly, some families may require bereavement support as a result of the COVID. Here are some helplines and resources for families and professionals who are supporting the bereaved. They cover a range of support from talking about the loss of a loved one to managing grief in self - isolation.
- NHS COVID - 19 National Bereavement Helpline is open daily 8 am - 8 pm available on 0800 2600 400. The helpline is being staffed by NHS Blood and Transplant registered nurses who are highly skilled and experienced in bereaved people.
- The Compassionate Friends helpline open daily from 10 am - 4 pm and 7 pm - 10 pm available on 0345 123 2304. The helpline is staffed by trained volunteers who are all bereaved parents.
- Winston Wish helpline is open Monday - Friday from 9 am - 5 pm available on freephone 08088 020 021. The helpline is being staffed team all have wide knowledge, expertise and up - to - date experience of supporting bereaved children and their families. There is also online support chat available too.
- Cruse Bereavement Care Helpline is open Monday - Friday 9:30 - 5 pm with extended hours to 8 pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Available on freephone 0808 808 1677 or email firstname.lastname@example.org The helpline is staffed by trained bereavement volunteers, who offer emotional support to anyone affected by bereavement.
- At a Loss Online Grief Chat is open Monday - Friday 9 am - 9 am. The online chat is staffed by trained bereavement counsellors.
- Care for the Family has produced top tips guide on how to support people who have become bereaved.
- The Good Grief Project has lots of advice and information to support families are newly bereaved.
- Winston Wish has produced a guide to help manage grief in for self - isolation
- Belfast Health and Social Care Trust has produced a video to help explain to children about the death of a loved one during the pandemic.
- At a Loss has loads of practical suggestions to help those who have bereaved during the coronavirus pandemic
These are uncertain times that can feel very worrying and overwhelming. Being at home more together can result in practical and emotional challenges including managing children’s more difficult behaviours.
There is parenting support available during the COVID - 19 outbreak. Some resources and helplines to help you can be found in the links below.
You can use the Glosfamilies Family and Information Directory to search for services that can help. Access information and support by:
The Institute of Health Visiting has put together some useful links and resources Parenting through coronavirus (COVID-19)
Other resources that may be useful are NHS advice on dealing with child behaviour problems, UNICEF tips for parenting during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and Cbeebies techniques for keeping kids calm
The Youth Support Team’s blog on Surviving Families under COVID-19 Lockdown is a guide for families on getting through this time together.
Teens in Crisis (TIC+) parent and carer advice and support line
Access help by:
Family Lives offer a confidential helpline service for emotional support, information, advice and guidance on any aspect of parenting and family life
Access help by:
- Visit the Family lives website
- Call 0808 800 2222
Young Minds offer support to parents worried about a child or young person's behaviour or mental health.
Access help by:
Parenting children with additional needs
Families everywhere are struggling to care for (and home school) children cut off from their normal routines and activities during the coronavirus crisis. Children and young people with additional needs may need extra structure and support to manage attention and behaviour challenges and keep on track with learning in this challenging situation.
Child Mind Institute has produced a short article to support children with ADHD during the coronavirus crisis
NSPCC has an updated advice page for parents supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities.
Special Educational Needs & Disability Information, Advice & Support Service (SENDIASS) has produced an advice page for COVID - 19 queries.
Access help by:
- Visiting the SENDIASS website
- Call 0800 158 3603 (Monday to Friday 9 am - 5 pm)
- Call 01452 427566 or 01452 427567 as an alternative
Gloucestershire Parents and Carers’ Forum is a voice for those with lived experience of being a Parent Carers’.
Access help by:
- Visit the Gloucestershire Parents and Carers’ Forum website
- Email: email@example.com
- Visit the Facebook group
Inclusion Charter for Gloucestershire.Working together to deliver inclusion in education for all Gloucestershire children and young people.
Access help by:
Special Needs Jungle provides parent-centred information, news, special needs resources and informed opinion about SEND.
Contact is an independent charity for families with disabled children.
Access help by:
- Visit the Contact Website
- Call the free helpline 0808 808 3555
- Visit Facebook and Twitter which is regularly updated
Independent Provider of Specialist Education Advice (IPSEA) has prepared a list of FAQs on how the COVID-19 measures will affect children and young people with special educational needs.
SOS SEN Helpline is an independent charity helping parents/carers of children with SEN and disabilities.
Access help by:
- Visit the Facebook page
- Phone: 0208 538 3731 (Monday to Friday 9:30 - 12:30 and 2 - 5 pm, Tuesday evening 8 pm - 10 pm and Wednesday evening 8 pm - 10 pm)
Mental Health and Wellbeing Support for Parents
There is support available during the COVID-19 outbreak to support parents’ mental health. There is no need to suffer in silence and be alone during this time. Here are some useful links to find support. For an overview of mental health services available in the county see our "mental health services page".
Qwell is a new online counselling and wellbeing service for adults in Gloucestershire. Anyone over 18 experiencing issues with their emotional wellbeing, such as anxiety, low mood or stress can now access free anonymous counselling from qualified counsellors via an online chat-based platform. There is no referral needed from a health professional, no waiting lists, and no criteria to meet to get support.
Gloucestershire Counselling Service remains open and continues to offer affordable counselling online via telephone and video call. You can self-register via the website for adults, children, young people and family counselling.
- Managing your own mental health and wellbeing
- Perinatal Positivity is a short, animated film to help new families safeguard their mental health.
Support for Mums
- Guidance from Maternal Health Alliance for pregnant women and new mothers
- Start4Life Mental health and Pregnancy Guide
- Gloucestershire Maternity Voices
Support for Dads
- Dads matter UK provides support for dads worried about or suffering from Depression, Anxiety and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
- Not alone (new dads and mental health) - a short animation film
- Dad’s Facebook Group
Family safety and wellbeing during coronavirus
Support with issues such as domestic abuse and safeguarding
Domestic abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, psychological and financial. If you're experiencing domestic abuse or you think someone else is, please tell someone. Having to spend so much time at home can be frightening for adults and children who experience domestic abuse. Please know that the police and partners are here and can help.
If you need help, are concerned about someone or want to tell us something, visit www.gloucestershire.police.uk, call 101, or in an emergency always call 999.
- What is domestic abuse
- Refuge national helpline
- Gloucestershire County Council - Report a child at risk
- Rape and sexual abuse support
- NHS England Safeguarding App
Illness and injury
With children at home over the coming weeks parents and carers can be assured that the NHS is still there for all illness and injuries and should still be accessed if they have concerns about their babies and children.
- Advice for parents when your child is unwell or injured during coronavirus
- Child Accident Prevention Trust has developed a quick guide to help the accidents that are the most serious and the easiest to prevent - threats to breathing - choking, strangulation or suffocation; falls; poisoning; burns and scalds; and drowning.
Parent tips advice sheets from The Institute of Health Visiting
With children now staying at home to protect themselves and others from coronavirus, digital technology is playing a bigger role than ever before in helping them to learn, play, and stay connected to each other and family members. Some suggestions on how your family can stay safe online can be found in the links below.
- Digital 5 a day guide is easy to follow practical steps for children and parents to achieve a healthy and balanced digital diet
- Digital safety and wellbeing kit provides useful tips and guidance to help protect your child on a range of issues including video calling, how to ensure your device and web browser are set up and updated correctly and tips regarding best practice with your username and passwords
- NSPCC provides tips and advice on online safety. NSPCC Learning has also pulled together resources to help keep children and young people safe during the coronavirus crisis.
- Gloucestershire Healthy Living and Learning provides information and resources to keep children and young people safe online.
Physical activity for children and families
We're all now spending a lot more time at home than we might like, which is why staying as physically active as possible is more important than ever. There are lots of fun and creative ideas on how to get active at home and make the most out of the fresh air during your daily walk, run or cycle.
Some suggestions on how your family can stay active can be found in the links below.
- Toddler activity ideas
- Getting active at home
- Getting active at outdoors
- NHS Gym Free Workout
- 10 minute shake-up
- This Girl Can
- Cosmic Kids Yoga
Yoga, mindfulness and relaxation designed specifically for kids aged 3+. Interactive adventures which build strength, balance and confidence - and get kids into yoga and mindfulness early!
Feeding the family
Providing healthy nutritious meals for your children on a budget or are looking for new ideas and inspiration. Some suggestions on how your family can eat healthily and enjoy some tasty food from breakfast to lunches to even picnics at the weekend can be found in the links below.
- BBC Good Food has 36 recipes that are cheap and wholesome suppers for the whole family including step - by - step videos.
- The Change 4 Life Smart Recipes app has 160 recipes that are simple and easy to prepare and cook which you can get the children involved. Download for free on the Google Play Store or Apple IOS Store.
- Newcastle City Council Public Health Team has compiled tips for feeding children on a budget and how best to make your food shop stretches further.
- For anyone who has received a Food Parcel, Food Active has produced a list of ideas and inspiration to help you use the ingredients to create some delicious meals.
Keeping Young People Safe
There is Government guidance for young people on social distancing.
Childline has a lot of information and advice aimed at young people to help them feel more informed and in control.
Gloucestershire Healthy Living and Learning has lots of advice and resources for parents, carers and families to help young people manage risks associated with topics such as alcohol, online gaming and relationships.
Talk to Frank gives honest information about drugs
There is information on the NHS website which can be used to inform and support conversations about sexual health.
Sexwise has information about getting sexual and reproductive health help during COVID-19. The site also provides a lot of advice and information about topics such as contraception, pregnancy and STIs.
Healthy Lifestyles Gloucestershire offers support to 12-18 year olds and adults to stop smoking. People can refer themselves for support by calling 0800 122 3788 or completing by a referral form via the website. Alternatively, they can be referred by a health professional or key worker.
Face masks and face coverings are being advised to be worn in some enclosed spaces to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.
Face coverings should not be used by babies and children under the age of two years due to the increased risk of choking and suffocation. Children with special educational needs or disabilities should not wear face coverings under any circumstance as they may not be able to handle them as directed which may inadvertently increase the risk of transmission.
Face masks, specifically surgical face masks, are only required to be worn by a child or young person if their care routinely already involves the use of PPE due to their intimate care needs or if a child or young person becomes unwell with symptoms of coronavirus while in an educational or early years setting and needs direct personal care until they can return home.
For information and advice on COVID-19:
- Government guidance on implementing PPE measures in educational and childcare settings
Dental and Oral Health
Oral health is an important aspect of a child’s health status. Tooth decay is the most common oral disease affecting children and young people in England, yet it is largely preventable. Tooth decay can cause problems with eating, sleeping, communication and socialising and being absent from school. With dentists reopening in the next few weeks, here are some suggestions to help your children take care of your teeth and develop healthy habits early.
- NHS looking after your infant’s teeth
- British Society of Paediatric Dentistry has produced a series of short videos with Dr Ranj and Supertooth on how to care for teeth of children of all ages.
- Change 4 Life Top Tips to Teeth for children aged 0 - 6 years and a helpful toothbrushing calendar guide
- NCT Breastfeeding and Dental Health
- Try the sugar calculator to check how much sugar there is in some of your children’s favourite products
- You can see how to find an NHS dentist at https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/nhs-services/dentists/how-to-find-an-nhs-dentist/
Building a strong relationship between parents and their new baby will give them the best possible start in life, and will help them to grow up happy and confident. Some advice and information on setting up the foundations for a close and loving relationship can be found by downloading UNICEF’s free leaflet Building a Happy Baby.
Keeping your baby safe and healthy
- Coronavirus: Parent information for newborn babies leaflet
- Illness in newborn babies leaflet
- The Lullaby Trust has produced a Baby Check App which features 19 simple checks that parents can do if their baby is showing signs of illness. Each check tests for a different symptom and when completed, a score is calculated that tells parents or carers how ill their baby is. The app then lets parents know whether their baby needs to see a doctor or health professional.
- There is coronavirus advice for parents on the NHS Start4life website.
Coping with infant crying
During this challenging time, stress levels at home may be increased. There is guidance for coping with crying on the ICON website
- Infant crying is normal and it will stop! Babies start to cry more frequently from around 2 weeks of age.
- Comfort methods can sometimes soothe the baby and the crying will stop. Is the baby hungry, tired or in need of a nappy change?
- It’s okay to walk away if you have checked the baby is safe and the crying is getting to you. After a few minutes when you are feeling calm, go back and check on the baby.
- Never, ever shake or hurt a baby. It can cause lasting brain damage and death.
Speak to someone if you need support such as your family, friends, Midwife, GP or Health Visitor
Breastfeeding and infant feeding
Breast milk is tailor-made for your baby, free, and always available. It also offers protection from infections and has other health benefits too. Find out more about the many benefits of breastfeeding and answers to other breastfeeding questions on the Start4life website.
Government guidance provides some advice on breastfeeding while infected. At the time of writing, there is no evidence showing that the virus can be carried in breastmilk, the well-recognised benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any potential risks of transmission of coronavirus through breastmilk.
If you are infected with the virus, the main risk of breastfeeding is close contact between you and your baby, as if you cough or sneeze, this could contain droplets which are infected with the virus, leading to infection of the baby after birth.
A discussion about the risks and benefits of breastfeeding should take place between you and your family and your maternity team.
This guidance may change as knowledge evolves.
When you or anyone else feeds your baby, the following precautions are recommended:
- Wash your hands before touching your baby, breast pump or bottles
- Try to avoid coughing or sneezing on your baby while feeding at the breast
- Consider wearing a face mask while breastfeeding, if available
- Follow recommendations for pump cleaning after each use
- Consider asking someone who is well to feed your expressed breast milk to your baby.
If you choose to feed your baby with formula or expressed milk, it is recommended that you follow strict adherence to sterilisation guidelines. If you are expressing breast milk in hospital, a dedicated breast pump should be used.
You can find more information at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists website’ and UNICEF - Infant feeding during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Support with infant feeding
- Gloucestershire Breastfeeding Supporters' Network.
You can request advice and support via their Facebook page.
- The Breastfeeding Network
- National Breastfeeding Helpline 0300 100 0212
- Formula feeding advice from the First Steps Nutrition Trust Infant milks information for parents and carers
- There is daily support for breastfeeding available for you and your babies. We have created a free schedule showing virtual/remote breastfeeding support that is taking place throughout the week.
- UNICEF’s free Infant formula and responsive bottle feeding guide provides parents who are bottle feeding with an overview on how to bottle feed responsively and, for parents who are formula feeding, how to choose an infant formula.
If you are finding it difficult to get hold of infant formula, it is available in some smaller shops and pharmacies as well as in larger supermarkets.
Healthy Start vouchers can be used to buy infant formula as well as fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables.
There is more information in the Infants and Pre-school Children section about the Healthy Start scheme.
Jaundice in newborn babies
Jaundice is very common in newborn babies. Jaundice reaches its peak at about four days of life and then gradually disappears in most babies by the time they are two weeks old. Jaundice does not necessarily mean your baby is ill. Jaundice is caused by your baby having an increased level of a yellowish substance called bilirubin in their blood. It is important that jaundice is monitored to ensure that the bilirubin level does not get too high.
The Children’s Liver Foundation has produced the following resources for parents and carers:
- A leaflet telling you more about jaundice in newborn babies and what you should do if your baby’s jaundice does not go away.
- A poster explaining the signs and symptoms of jaundice
Support for Dads
DadPad is an information pack in digital form developed by dads, for dads to help fathers of all ages in Gloucestershire prepare for family life. This is particularly relevant in a time when access to parental education classes and midwife appointments have been changed or curtailed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The app covers a range of issues, such as how dads can support mums who are breastfeeding, the anxiety and frustrations that come with parenthood, as well as hands-on advice on issues like nappy changing. Its aim is to provide new fathers across Gloucestershire with guidance on how to develop the mindset, confidence and practical skills needed to meet their baby’s physical and emotional needs.
In addition to general advice, the app is designed to help partners cope with theirs and their partner’s mental health problems during pregnancy and in the period following the birth of a baby.
Healthy Start scheme
The Healthy Start scheme is continuing to run during the COVID -19 outbreak.
Eligible applicants can get free vouchers every week to spend on milk, plain fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables, and infant formula milk. These can be redeemed at retail outlets registered with the Healthy Start scheme which includes many independent local shops and pharmacies.
New legislation has been passed so applicants do not need a midwife or health visitor to sign the Healthy Start vouchers application form.
Immunisations for Babies and Children
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is still important that routine childhood immunisations are started and completed on time. The vaccines will help protect your child from a range of serious and sometimes life-threatening infections and will also help to avoid outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.
Your GP surgery or health clinic will take all possible precautions to protect you and your baby from COVID-19. People should still attend for routine vaccinations unless they are unwell (check with your GP whether you should still attend) or self-isolating because they have been in contact with someone with COVID-19. In these circumstances please rearrange your appointment. Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent other infectious diseases. Babies and toddlers, in particular, need vaccinations to protect them from measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), rotavirus, diphtheria, whooping cough, meningitis, polio, tetanus, hepatitis B, TB and more.
The Institute of Health Visiting has produced two new parent tips resources on immunisations
Getting your child ready to start school
Helping your child get ready for school is very important and how parents/carers do this really matters especially whilst children may no longer be able to attend playgroups, nurseries and other settings. Here are some resources that can help.
Mindfulness for children
Your Mindful Garden is available for free as part of the CBeebies Go Explore app. It gives children three daily activities to complete, each one addressing a different aspect of mindfulness: focus, creative and calm.
Top Tips to manage a child’s return to nursery or other childcare setting
There are some organisations that can provide free sanitary products for people in need.
If you are struggling to afford sanitary products, you can request help via Gloucestershire’s Community Help Hub. Please click on ‘I need help’ to enter your request. You can ask if there is a way to get free sanitary products via the ‘Is there anything else you need help with’ box.
ChatHealth - Health and wellbeing support for 11 - 19 year olds
ChatHealth is a confidential way 11-19 years olds can have a text conversation with a school nurse about any health issue or worry they have. When schools are shut and students do not have access to their usual pastoral support, this service can help to allay anxieties and emotional distress.
TEXT 07507 333 351 or visit the school nurse webpage
Create Writing Workshops - Letters from Lockdown
Coram is working with the Royal Literary Fund to offer a series of FREE online creative writing workshops for 16 to 25-year-old care experienced young people.
Sessions will start on 5 May and end on 9 June. The workshops will be taking place via Zoom 5.30 pm to 6.30 pm.
Information about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) (Public Health England and e-Bug) :To support best practice among school children, e-Bug has created a centralised resource for anyone to access free guidance, information and educational resources.
Free school meals
Families with children who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals can continue to submit applications during the COVID outbreak. If your household income has changed recently you can check if your child is now eligible for Free School Meals. Please visit our website where you can apply online.
- Find out how Gloucestershire is continuing to feed children who receive free school meals whilst they are not at school
Transitioning to Secondary School
Moving from primary school to secondary school is an exciting time of life, but for many children it can also be a daunting prospect. Here are some resources that can help you get ready for the transition.
- BBC Bitesize has advice and information that can help families to prepare for the move to secondary school.
- Watch the Find your Feet film made by Young Minds that explains that you are not alone when it comes to worries about secondary school, that there are ways to cope with change and there are people to talk to when things get difficult.
- The Oxford Owl has advice on getting ready for secondary school and settling into secondary school.
Lockdown Guide to Life
The Youth Employability Service has produced a Lockdown Guide to Life which has ideas to keep young people happy and healthy and to help keep their minds occupied during lockdown.
Coping with the end of school in lockdown
With schools suddenly forced to close due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many young people didn't have the end to their time at school they were expecting. Ella, 18, shares what this was like for her and what has helped her cope with the sense of loss.