Supporting children in your setting

“We are in the same storm, but not in the same boat”.

This is true of everyone, including children – their situations, their feelings, their responses to the pandemic will be unique to them. Here, we look at some of the ways in which children may be affected and how you can support them.

As childcare providers, you already know that every child is unique. There are many news stories about the impact of the pandemic on children’s mental health, learning and development. However, every child has their own story and will react in their own way, and there are so many things that you – as childcare professionals and as trusted adults in their lives – can do to support children through this time.

Working in partnership with parents

Many children will need extra reassurance about stepping back out into the world and spending less time with their families after lockdown.

  • Support parents and carers with your expert knowledge on helping children through consistent routines and a healthy sleep pattern
  • Reassure parents and carers that some of the things their child might be going through can be expected for their age and stage of development
  • Keep open communication with parents and carers about how their child is feeling
  • Share useful resources with families, and encourage them to talk to you about any specific concerns they might have.

YoungMinds offer advice and support for families about supporting children during the coronavirus pandemic.

You can also support the families you work with by sharing MindEd resources designed for families with children and teens.

PACEY Support

Watch our easy-to-follow videos, for both parents and practitioners, which look at separation and transitions in young children.

Take our free, online training courses on EY smart. Relevant modules include;

  • Transitions and settling in
  • Transitions and parents

MEMBERS ONLY Access the transitions and settling in practice guide

Supporting children’s mental health

It is important to let children know that it’s okay to feel anxious, that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed:

  • Provide a feeling of psychological safety
  • Listen to how they are interpreting the pandemic
  • Be open and honest about the uncertainty, without projecting adult anxiety or worry

The Calm zone kit from Childline provides a range of activities and tools to help children feel better when they're feeling anxious, scared or sad.

Alder Hey Children’s Hospital have pulled together a selection of mindfulness activities for children, all of which help build the skill of being in touch with your own thoughts and feelings.

PACEY Support

PACEY has worked with MindEd to identify a series of free e-learning sessions for childcare providers. These sessions are designed to help develop your understanding of children’s mental health, providing advice on how to support mental health and wellbeing in the early years. Read the summary of each session on our website, and access all the free courses on the MindEd portal.

Take our free, online training courses on EY smart. Relevant modules include;

  • An introduction to attachment theory
  • Supporting the development of self-regulation skills
  • The language of feelings; supporting the development of emotional literacy

Don’t forget to take a look through PACEY’s suite of early years emotional health resources in our early minds matter Spotlight.

Supporting children who have experienced loss

You may care for a child who has experienced loss or whose relative has been very ill with coronavirus. According to Curtis, children who have experienced loss may blame themselves, and may have post-traumatic stress symptoms.

YoungMinds offers information and advice to share with families about supporting children with grief and loss.

Find out more about the symptoms of post-traumatic stress.

PACEY Support

Take our free, online training courses on EY smart. Relevant modules include;

  • Focus on bereavement
  • Supporting children through trauma

Browse our Spotlight on supporting children through trauma which provides information, advice and guidance on supporting different children’s response to trauma.

Supporting physical, emotional and social development in younger children

Supporting children with their physical, emotional and social development is something that you do naturally as childcare providers. Some parents and carers may feel concerned about the development opportunities their child has missed during lockdown – particularly those with younger children. Take time to reassure the families you work with.  This article from the BBC may be of some help to concerned parents on how to support their child at home.

Your expert knowledge and experience are second-nature to you, but remember to put aside some time to explain to parents and carers how you support the physical, emotional and social development of the children in your care – and how you observe each child’s interests and development milestones.

PACEY Support

As part of Together for Twos, a Department for Education grant funded project in England, we have created and compiled a range of resources designed to support early years practitioners working with 2-year-olds. Visit our Spotlight to discover hints, tips and ideas to develop your provision for toddlers.

Take our free, online training courses on EY smart. Relevant modules include;

  • An introduction to physical development in the early years
  • An introduction to speech, language and communication in the early years
  • Supporting children’s emotional wellbeing
  • Strategies to support families under pressure

MEMBERS ONLY Watch our short film, which explores the importance of positive interaction with babies and working with parents to provide a secure and enabling childcare environment.

Safeguarding children

There has been growing concern about hidden abuse during lockdown, including increased alcohol dependency as many people have struggled with the pressures of lockdown. An essential part of your childcare career is safeguarding training and CPD – to ensure the protection and safety of the children you work with. Safeguarding training supports you to spot signs of children at risk of harm, and to know how to raise concerns.

PACEY Support

Our safeguarding Spotlight brings together information and quick links to relevant products, all designed to help you develop your practise.

Take our free, online training courses on EY smart. Relevant modules include;

  • Stories and safeguarding

PACEY’s safeguarding children course has been reviewed and fully endorsed by Cache. Just £19.99 to buy online, or free to PACEY members.

MEMBERS ONLY Access a variety of safeguarding resources, including a Child Protection factsheet bundle.