I’m delighted to inform you of the release of the first EVER Online Safety app in the UK aimed for Parents and Educators. The app – Online Safety UK – is free to download and available for both Apple and Android devices.
The OSUK app provides access to a wide variety of resources regarding a large range of apps and games providing information, pros and cons, setting time limits, parent controls, age restrictions and hidden features etc.
Quite shockingly, a recent study (Kaspersky, 2019) found that parents only spends an average total of 43 minutes discussing online safety with their child across their entire childhood – let’s be the driving force in increasing this time and provide our children with the best knowledge and awareness of the online world when spending ever growing amounts of time engaging in it.
A fantastic new food service from Growing Places, based at Mill Hill Primary on Mill Road, is now available to support families who may be struggling a little with financing food for all the family. For just £5, you can access the Community Larder, supported by FareShare, and take a large bag-for-life and fill it to the brim with food items of your choice. The flyer below details the times that the service is available on Thursdays and Saturdays. There is no need to book an appointment, simply turn up and take your pick for just £5.
We understand how many families have faced adversity and significant life changes over the course of this turbulent year so make use of the friendly, non-judgemental and welcoming support from Growing Places to alleviate some of the added pressures of life we are facing in these ever changing times.
While we all wish for a sunny summer break and relaxing beach days, we must also consider the safety of the sea. It is imperative that you explain the dangers of water to your child while educating them on how to enjoy water safely.
The RNLI have created some amazing resources for your children to learn the basics of how to have fun safely this summer. Be sure to share these with your children – they’re in the form of entertaining video clips and an array of interactive resources with supplementary information for parents on the other pages of their website.
As we approach the end of a most unusual school year, your thoughts will be turning to how you can keep your children happy, engaged and entertained this summer holiday. Hampshire County Council have produced a great resource detailing a wide range of activities – some free and some that cost – to help you get inspired. Take a look via the link below!
In order for you to best protect your children from online harm and damage, it is imperative you familiarise yourself with the programs, apps and devices that they are using to ensure their safety online. Technology changes so fluidly and children can be very clever at moving on to the next trending app before we even know of it’s existence! With this in mind, please do stay in the loop with which apps and web pages are being used in your home and how appropriate they may be, especially if they are new as it is often the case that privacy settings and protective factors for young people are somewhat lacking if the demand for use of an app of web page grows quickly.
The Government have produced a useful web page with a host of information regarding how to keep your children safe online – even more crucial during this time with an increased need for online activity. The key topics are outlined below but please do use the link provided to read up on the risk and how to reduce this for each of the headings.
Whilst there are huge benefits to being online in order to stay connected to family and friends during this period, the government recognises many parents may feel concerned about the activities and content their children are accessing. This guidance outlines resources to help keep children safe from different risks online and where to go to receive support and advice.
Keep your child safe online
It is important to have regular conversations about staying safe online and to encourage children to speak to you if they come across something worrying online.
These resources provide guidance for parents and carers to keep children safe online. They will, amongst other things, support you to talk to your child about a range of online safety issues, set up home filtering in a child-friendly way and set up age-appropriate parental controls on digital devices:
- Thinkuknow by National Crime Agency-CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection) provides resources for parents and carers and children of all ages to help keep children safe online
- Childnet has developed guidance for parents and carers to begin a conversation about online safety, as well as guidance on keeping under-fives safe online
- Parent Info is a collaboration between Parent Zone and NCA-CEOP, providing support and guidance for parents and carers related to the digital world from leading experts and organisations
- NSPCC has guidance for parents and carers to help keep children safe online
- UK Safer Internet Centre provides tips and advice for parents and carers to keep children safe online – you can also report any harmful content found online through the UK Safer Internet Centre
What harms might my child experience online?
You may have concerns about specific harms which children can experience online. There are more resources to help you understand and protect your child from different harms online, including:
- child sexual abuse – a definition
- exposure to radicalising content
- youth-produced sexual imagery (‘sexting’)
- exposure to age-inappropriate content, such as pornography
- exposure to harmful content, such as suicide content
Follow this link for the full webpage…
Here are some new resources to help you cope in the lockdown period;
Firstly, the Children’s Commissioner has released a guide for children to help explain the virus in age-appropriate terms if needed;
(If this link does not work, then just search for Children’s Commissioner Guide to Coronavirus for Children).
Secondly, the Childhood Bereavement Network has released advice on how to talk to children about Covid-19 and especially if someone in the family is seriously ill;
On a lighter note, Disney and Change4Life have produced some 10 minute bursts of fun with their ‘Shake Up’ games. They will get the children moving and keeping fit whilst having fun with their favourite Disney characters;
I hope that you find the above useful.
Child and Family Support Worker
Taken from Young Minds 360 Support for Schools
It’s understandable for children and adults to feel concerned or anxious about this virus and it is natural for parents to want to support and protect their children. You might do this in many different ways; giving them a hug, playing a game or having a chat.
The most important thing is for your child to know that you are there for them, ready to help them if things get hard. We hope these tips help you support your child at this time.
1. Talk to your child about what is going on. You could start by asking them what they have heard about coronavirus.
2. Try to answer their questions and reassure them in an age appropriate manner. Remember, you do not need to know all the answers, but talking can help them feel calm.
3. Explain to your child that it is natural to worry sometimes and everyone does it. This feeling, like all feelings, will come and go.
4. Don’t try to shield your child from the news, as it’s likely they will find out somehow from school, being online or from friends.
5. Be aware that your child will often copy your behaviour, so if you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed, you may need to limit how much you express this in front of them.
6. Reassure your child that it is unlikely they will get seriously ill, and if they do feel ill you will look after them. Your child might be concerned about who will look after you, if you catch the virus. Let them know the kind of support you have as an adult, so that they don’t feel they need to worry about you.
7. Give some practical tips to your child about how they can look after themselves. For example, show them how to wash their hands properly, and remind them when they should be doing it.
8. Keep as many regular routines as possible, so that your child feels safe and that things are stable.
9. Spend time doing a fun activity with your child (e.g. reading, playing, painting, cooking) to help reassure them and reduce their anxiety. This is also a great way of providing a space for them to talk through their concerns, without having a ‘big chat’.
10.Encourage your child to think about the things they can do to make themselves feel safer and less worried. Help them find things that distract or relax them.
11.Be aware that your child may want more close contact with you at this time and feel anxious about separation. Try to provide this support whenever possible.
12.Remember to look after yourself too. If you are feeling worried, or anxious about coronavirus, talk to someone you trust who can listen and support you.
Helplines and Resources;
YoungMinds Crisis Messenger
• Provides free, 24/7 crisis support across the UK if you are
experiencing a mental health crisis.
• If you need urgent help text YM to 85258.
• All texts are answered by trained volunteers, with support from
experienced clinical supervisors.
• Texts are free from EE, O2, Vodafone, Three, Virgin Mobile, BT
Mobile, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile and Telecom Plus.
• Our Parents Helpline is available to offer advice to parents and
carers worried about a child or young person under 25.
• Call our free helpline for confidential, expert advice on 0808 802
• Available Mon-Fri from 9.30am to 4pm- available in England,
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
• Out of our operating hours, you can contact the Parent Helpline
via our online contact form.
• Comforts, advises and protects children 24 hours a day and offers
free confidential counselling.
• Phone 0800 1111 (24 hours).
• Chat 1-2-1 with a counsellor online.
• Information, support and listening for people under 25.
• Phone 0808 808 4994 (24 hours).
• Get support online.
• 24 hour confidential listening and support for anyone who needs
it. (Adults included.)
• Phone 116 123 (24 hours).
As we move in to the second week of social distancing and spending more time at home, the novelty might be beginning to wear off slightly!
Here are a few resources that you might find useful at home, to keep our minds positive, as well as looking after our physical health.
Relax Kids Free Calm Pack;
Full of lots of ideas to reassure children and to help them feel calm and safe during these uncertain times.
Mindfulness on the NHS website, full of lots of ideas and advice on how to keep relaxed;
10 Top Tips to help with anxiety related to Coronavirus;
Advice from the excellent charity, Young Minds;
I hope that you find these useful.
Child and Family Support Worker
Dear Parents and Carers
As we are all faced with the possibility of spending more time at home in the near future, I thought that these links might come in handy;
-finding the positives of being at home all together
-how to show children about thorough hand washing
-top tips for children worried about coronavirus
-and some happy news for children!
-lots of ideas to keep busy with children at home
Fantastic Ideas for Child-friendly Activities in the House
(please note that not all of these ideas might be isolation friendly!)
1: Den or cave building
There is probably not a single child between 1 and 10 who doesn’t like to build and play in dens or caves. The great majority of us claim to be grown-ups, and we’d all love to while away an afternoon building a massive pillow fort.
Children’s imaginations go wild with this activity. From planning the build – what will they use to make their den? Can they gather the materials themselves? – to playing inside of it, each step is an absolute pleasure. Hopefully they’ll be inspired to come up with exciting, fun-filled role play, or simply enjoy a change the scene and play with their toys ‘hidden away’ in their cave.
The easiest way to create a stable den is through using a blanket or bed sheet and cover a table or some other furniture moved together. You can create quite a spacious den using four chairs arranged in a square with the blanket placed over the back rests. Add few cushions added into the cave and your kids will have a great time for sure.
2: Have a birthday party for your child’s favourite toy
We really like this idea a lot. It definitely falls into the category of things to do at home with a poorly-feeling child, and requires nothing but things you already have at home. It’s up to your imagination and circumstances – how big do you want this celebration to be?
It could be anything from just a pretend tea party – maybe in your poorly child’s best to make sure they’re resting up – to a big party with music, balloons, treats and party games (think Musical Statues, Pass The Parcel and Simon Says). You can even think about inviting some of your child’s friends over to join in the fun. And party balloons will still give the kids endless fun even when the party is over.
One tip from our side: start with a little smaller party as we are convinced that your children may ask for more parties like this. Be prepared to have a few ideas in reserve in case all the toys start piping up and saying their birthdays are coming up, too.
3: Rice play
Take a messy play tray or a washing up bowl. Fill it with any uncooked rice and pop in several things to help your kids to become rice-panning-experts: Spoons, bowls, cups, balls, toys – anything you can think of really. The kids love it; it’s like messy play without the mess. Rice is way easier to clean up than teeny-tiny sand grains. So everyone wins!
4: A housebound treasure hunt
Create a map of your home and hide small items around it. Mark each piece of hidden treasure on the map. Explain the map to your little one and offer your support for the hunting game in case they need it.
If your kids are older you can use word cards describing a place where you have hidden an item. For example: “I am cold and make a ‘bing bing’ noise if left open”. The answer is the fridge, of course. Or possibly an emergency escape hatch. Kids love this combination of a quiz and hunt. It’s hard not to get in on the fun, too.
Even once they’ve found all the treasure, why not get them to organise their own hunt? They can draw their own map or come up with their own cryptic questions to send you on a great search.
5: Indoor water fun
If you can stand the risk of a few water drops here and there you can put a thick towel on the floor and place a bowl or a messy play tray filled with water on it. The kids will have endless fun while giving their toys a bath or experiencing thrillingly imaginative pirate, fishing or swimming adventures. Baywatch-like rescue-scenes actively encouraged.
6: Life size drawings
Stick a load of A4 sheets of paper together (or if you have a big paper roll even better!) and place it on the floor. Encourage the kids to lie down on it and outline their body with a pen. From this moment on there is no way to stop the kids getting creative: colour in, add accessories to the figures like stickers or stamps, design clothes with old material offcuts or other things you might find in the art drawer. The kids will have lots of fun with the real-size copies and you may have something really special to decorate their bedroom wall afterwards.
7: Indoor gym
Transform your living room into a kid’s gym and create some fun and age-appropriate sports stations. You can put a trail of paper sheets on the floor which the kids have to walk over without touching anything else but the paper. Time jumping on the spot, which can be made more difficult for older kids (maybe they have to spin around while jumping).
A planking station is great fun as well. If you have a soft carpet or mattress you can try some somersaults with them if they are old enough (take care that they don’t hurt their neck!). Any other kind of gymnastic exercise which is performed only with their own body weight is great.
To make it more competitive you can use the stopwatch to time the duration of each exercise. But make sure to stick to age-appropriate durations. It’s about the fun and switching back and forth between the stations rather than aiming for the next world record.
Even more fun is it when mummy and daddy join in the gym activity and afterwards you all deserve a special treat!
8: Finger paint animals
Use your fingerprints to come up with some fun fingerprint animals and change them in to a whole zoo! Why not try to create a full zoo of handprint and finger painted animals – use different body parts to create different animals!
9: A roadway created across the house with insulation tape
Play mats are great fun for kids. They give them a great setting to get imaginative with their toys. But what if you created your own one? You could grab some tape and make roads all over the carpet. Think about how they will connect up, where they will lead to, and what sights you might need to add along the way. You could also use the same technique with the life size art portraits and draw your own scene on a ginormous piece of paper. Talk about what amenities the newly created community might need, and what toys are going to live there.
10: Recreate classic 90s gameshows
Now we’re not presuming anyone’s age here, but if you’ve been squealing with joy at hapless contestants running through the Crystal Maze once again, you still get chills from thinking about Knightmare, or you struggle to not shout out “cuddly toy!” when you’re reminded the Generation Game is returning, we might all be singing from the same 90s-tinged-hymn sheet (probably featuring the Spice Girls). Is the reason they’re coming back a shameless cash-grab? Possibly, but we also like to think these shows had family-friendly tasks nailed down. So let’s not allow the contestants to have all the fun – create your own games!
One of the suggestions that had us nostalgic was filling a tent with toy money, and blowing it around with a hairdryer – hey presto, behold the Crystal Dome! Collect a load of different items, ask your kids to remember as many as they can, and see who wins the most (“cuddly toy!”).
Some more recommended fun things to do at home
11: Paper maché
Making 3D art is great fun. Inflate a balloon, grab some newspaper and a PVA glue/water mix, and get creating!
Who doesn’t love a balloon party? There are lots of games to be played and science experiments to embark on!
13: Rock painting
Make a quick dash outside to grab some rocks. Dry them off and practice painting them, or decorating them with markers.
14: Cookie decorating!
16: Making a lantern
17: Hide and seek
18: An indoor fashion show
Get your favourite clothes, dress ups or even mummy/daddy’s clothes out and strike a pose!
19: Creating your own TV show
You could use toys, puppets and even film your debut episode!
20: Get a little creative; build your own shapes/sculptures from paper/paper plates from the back of the cupboard!
Tips for Parents (Taken from Dragonfly Impact Education)
Some ideas and support for those self-isolating
What can you try?
1. Set up a routine
The key here is to make it a routine – not a schedule. Be flexible, but with boundaries. That means getting up at the same times and having things that you do in a regular order…it doesn’t mean timing every second of the day with military precision! Make the routine visual, factor in free time without screens and when they’re doing schoolwork, do some of your own work/jobs/chores alongside them.
2. Try new things
Introduce them to the things you love and share stories with them – make it an opportunity to connect. Watch documentaries and nature programmes (who doesn’t love a bit of ‘Blue Planet’?!); cook together and measure out ingredients, create exercise routines together, play board games and card games, show them how you manage the household budget and divide up money to cover bills, food and other things.
3. Keep it simple
Read to them. Yes – even the older ones! It ignites a love of reading, creates a bond between you and it’s soothing and calming. Get them starting a gratitude journal, drawing or doodling and colouring – all activities that support mental health. When you are working on things together, or working side by side, begin conversations. Sitting next to someone without the requirement to make eye contact can encourage them to open up! It also helps if you share something first.
-Don’t forget to watch our bedtime stories found under the Blogs tab on the school website.
-As well as age-appropriate news items to help you answer questions about Coronavirus, BBC Newsround also has lots of quizzes, games and puzzles to help entertain the children.
We hope you find something here that will help you all.
Child and Family Support Worker
Are you looking for a book to help you with a particular problem?
‘Reading Well’ helps you to understand and manage your health and wellbeing using helpful reading. The books are chosen by health experts and people living with the conditions covered. People can be recommended a title by a health professional, or they can visit their local library and take a book out for free.
There are currently five Reading Well booklists for adults, young people and children.
So, if you need information on autism, dementia, grief, memory loss, mental health and so on, check out the following link;
or search for the website;