Your top tips for coping with lockdown
We recently asked parent carers to complete a survey which aimed to get a snapshot of some of the key challenges facing families with children and young people with SEND during the Covid-19 crisis. We got lots of insights into the problems you are facing but also brilliant tips about the things that are helping you through. We’ve listed our 10 favourites below and you can read the Covid-19 survey summary here.
1. Write a list of 20 activities
Sometimes it can be really tricky to think of something to do – you know you want to do something, but what? Having a list of activities you would like to do can take the stress out of trying to think of ideas for activities.
2. Mix learning with sensory and physical play breaks
There’s no doubt that many children may be feeling worried or anxious about the current crisis, which can make it hard to concentrate on learning. So one parent carers’ suggestion of mixing learning with sensory and physical breaks is a fantastic suggestion. It’ll give your child some time to burn some energy and have a little fun in between learning sessions.
3. Have a one or two ‘set’ structures or rituals each day
Without the daily routine we’re used to, it’s easy to feel a little out of sorts and this is particularly felt by children with SEND. That’s why we think that one parent carers suggestion of one or two set rituals each day could go a long way. It could be something like reading a story together after lunch or as simple as brushing teeth at the same time each day – it’s the consistency that will help to structure the day.
4. Take time to observe nature, wildlife and spring blooming
Lockdown is a perfect opportunity to slow down and take a look at nature as spring develops and wildlife is around for us to see. If you haven’t got a garden, why not bird-watch from the window? Or count how many bees you see each day. Take pictures or draw sketches of a flower blooming or of animals in their habitats.
5. Create a virtual version of something you like to do
Whether it’s a birthday party with friends and family, a playmate with a friend (one parent suggested a Barbie play session!), a virtual exercise class or a Zoom session with your support group or club – there are loads of things that can be done over the internet or even telephone, it just takes a bit of creativity!
6. Be kind to yourself
As one parent says, “you can’t do everything!” and we think they’ve hit the nail on the head. With social media, it’s so easy to look at other parents or friends and the activities or fun they’re having and feel guilty or sad that you’re not doing those things with your child, but it’s important to remember that everyone is different and we are only human, so be kind to yourself!
7. Take each day as it comes
Rather than thinking too far ahead and trying to plan for the future, try to take each day as it comes and only deal with the things you are able to at this time. It’s easy to worry about all of the possibilities following Covid-19, so we think this parent carers’ advice could be useful.
Whatever form it takes, try to have a laugh – after all, they say laughter is the best medicine! Share jokes, laughter or silly videos with friends or family. Check out the #BigCheerUp for Amaze campaign and expect to see some of the UK’s best-loved comedy names.
9. Make use of Amaze’s letter to police on exercise restrictions
Recently we shared a letter with you which outlines the most recent government guidelines on exercising outdoors with your child or young person with SEND. The letter states that people with specific health conditions are able to leave their home for exercising or health reasons with more flexible restrictions. Some parents have found this very helpful as they are able to get fresh air and exercise more. You’ll find the letter here.
10. Make the most of online support
One parent carer is finding online support groups to be a great stress reliever. We have compiled a list of local and national online support groups. Find online support groups for parent carers here.
Lockdown has seen a huge rise in online services; from online counselling, to exercise, yoga and more. Many of the services are free or donation-based, making it affordable for parent carers’ or their children to stay active. Have a read of our ‘Looking after your family’s wellbeing during lock-down‘ feature for inspiration.
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