Dorset Council’s parents’ and carers’ helpline

If you live in the Dorset Council area of Dorset, and you’re concerned about how your child is coping with lockdown, you can call 01305 474036 (Monday-Friday 9am-4.45pm) to make an appointment to talk to the council’s Educational Psychology Service. The team is on hand to listen to concerns and offer practical advice and guidance in a free and confidential 30-minute call. Find out more about the helpline.

Watch: Parenting mindfully (33 minutes)

Dorset-based mindfulness teacher Marisa Whitty leads a session exploring how mindfulness skills can help us be better parents and role models for our kids whatever their age.

Lots of support and resources for working parents, including a wide range of webinars, an Expert Advice section, packed full of practical tips helping people to balance their work and family lives, stories, podcasts and much more …

Find online education resources at GOV.UK currently being offered for FREE – English, maths, science, PE, wellbeing and special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

As well as lots of information about caring for your child during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are some great links on the Dorset Council website to resources to support parents/carers with home learning.

BBC Bitesize has lots of content divided into subject and age categories, with much new material added since March 2020.

And the BBC has announced it will show curriculum content on TV every weekday:

  • primary-school programming, including BBC Live Lessons and BBC Bitesize Daily, from 09:00 to 12:00 on CBBC
  • at least two hours of programming to support the GCSE curriculum on BBC Two
British Nutrition Foundation

From March – September 2020,  Food a fact of life published ‘waves’ of activities and ideas every two weeks to support remote learning.

Take a look at the wide range of activities and ideas supporting early years through to secondary pupils.

Also see Eat healthily and make mealtimes fun! for a series of cook-alongs all the family can join in with.

Communicating with children/teenagers

Your children may understandably be concerned or worried by what they see, read or hear in the news or online regarding coronavirus. As a parent or carer, it’s good to talk to them honestly and calmly about what is happening. You don’t have to have all the answers, but a gentle conversation can reassure them.

We’ve gathered some resources to help support you and your children with these conversations.

This key worker guidance and family support package has been produced to help key worker parents and carers facing the additional pressure of having difficult conversations with their children and families on their role a a key worker. The podcast and supporting information will support you to frame your conversation appropriately to the age of your children, help you choose the best time to talk with your children about your role and explain to them why you’re still working when other parents might be at home.

Resources for young children and their parents/carers
  • Coronavirus story book produced by Safer Schools – a colourful pdf you can use online or print off to help facilitate a conversation with your child.
  • Coronavirus activity sheet (Safer Schools) to print off and work through with your child.
  • COVIBOOK is an interactive resource designed to support and reassure children aged 7 and under and help them explain and draw the emotions they may be experiencing during the pandemic – available in a number of languages,.
  • Place2Be provides helpful information to answer questions from children, including a link to a comic!
  • Great Ormond Street Hospital has set up a website with good tips and activity resources for families.
And something for teenagers/university students
  • FACE COVID is a brief animation in which Dr Russ Harris, author of the international best-seller The Happiness Trap, illustrates how to use ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) to deal with the Corona crisis and the fear, anxiety and worry that goes with it.
  • Student Minds is a website especially for those in the university community.
  • YoungMinds also offers mental health help and support to teenagers coping with the frustrations of self-isolating or social distancing.
If you’re caring for someone with learning disabilities or ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder)