As many nurseries and schools are closed there may be times when you need some help or advice with various aspects of your child’s health, development or learning. Here you will find lots of helpful information, top tips and links to good advice and useful websites for a range of topics.
- Family Links– Free downloads with practical tips and ideas for parents
- Parenting top tips – Advice on the value of play for learning, setting boundaries and using rewards for behaviour and how to help your child understand their feelings
- NSPCC Positive Parenting– A guide on how to set boundaries and build positive relationships
- NSPCC Support for parents – Parenting tips on all stages of children’s lives, as well as advice on how to deal with difficult situations, such asworking from home, dealing with tantrums, parent mental health and divorce / separation
- The Communication Trust– A range of support and advice for parents of children and young people who struggle to communicate because they have speech, language and communication needs, as well as supporting all children and young people to communicate to the best of their ability
- Action for Children DOTS– Helpful tips for parents of children aged 0-5 years as well as one on one chat support
- Barnardos parenting advice– A range of free online booklets to help parents answer common questions and challenges of parenting children under the age of 6.
When a child feels their emotional and physical needs are recognised and met by parents and caregivers, they feel secure and confident about their place in the world and their sense of themselves and others.
A secure bond with your child will help your child to:
- Feel safe and secure
- Learn to manage their feelings and regulate their emotions
- Feel confident to learn, play and explore from a safe base
- Have empathy and compassion for others
- Develop long term relationships with adults and peers alike.
Attachment Parenting is a website that offers a wide range of support and advice on how to develop firm and positive relationships with your children.
Communication is at the heart of everything we do. It is central to our lifelong learning, confidence, our work, friendships, and having interests that we enjoy. Where children face difficulties with their speech, language or communication, they may find it harder in school, to make friends, or to stay calm.
Parents have an important role in supporting their children’s speech, language and communication, and can help develop these areas in a number of ways, including:
- Interaction and talking with your child or young person
- Managing the child’s environment, setting consistent limits and clear expectations and ensuring routines are predictable, all of which can help decrease the opportunities for negative emotions to build up
- Recognising and helping children and young people understand their emotions
It is important to remember that children and young people do develop at different rates and that some children or young people may need additional support.
The following websites and resources may be useful for parents:
- I CAN Talking Point– Provides information to help you understand and support children and young people’s speech, language and communication
- The Communication Trust– Provides a range of support and advice for parents of children and young people who struggle to communicate because they have speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) as well as supporting all children and young people to communicate
- BookTrust– A range of resources and support to help children and families develop a love of reading and support families where English is their second language
- Listening help sheet 5-15
- Listening help sheet.
Children and young people’s brains change a lot as they grow, and these changes can influence children’s behaviour and how they respond in different situations. Just like with adults, children and young people’s behaviour can be affected by experiences and environment and/or their parents / carers own life experiences.
However, it is possible to describe what behaviour should look like at different ages and in different situations. Children and young people will not always understand when their behaviour is appropriate or not appropriate, and parents can help them to do this in a positive way.
It is important to remember that every child or young person matures at a different pace. In particular, children or young people with additional needs may not stick to age guides.
- Developmental and emotional milestones leaflet– A comprehensive overview of developmental and emotional milestones from 0 to 18 years. There are also a range of websites and resources on child behaviour
- Action for Children DOTS– A range of really helpful tips for parents of children aged under 5 as well as one to one chat support
- NSPCC Positive Parenting– Practical advice and tips for positive parenting techniques that work well for children, from babies to teenagers
- Circle of Security programme– An American evidence-based programme that supports effective parent-child attachment and bonding, with a number of resources for parents
- Barnardos Your Young Child’s Behaviour ebook– Covering a variety of age groups up to five years old and is currently free to download
- Sarah Ockwell-Smith– Sarah is a parenting expert and runs a website that includes a range of podcasts and vlogs. There is also a free weekly newsletter.
Anger in children
- How to calm down an angry teenager– Advice on how to help older children manage their feelings, including tips and techniques on how to defuse challenging situations
- Smart Tools for Life – A range of books to read to children to help them understand their feelings and deal with conflict
- The Barnyard Buddies – A heart-warming story that can help children to understand how to treat others
- Teen brain development information– A factsheet explaining how the teenage brain develops and functions.
Digital technology can be fantastic for children and young people, giving them access to a great range of educational resources and social contacts with friends and peers. Equally, there can sometimes be risks around access to digital technology, including children safety, finance, bullying and isolation. There can sometimes be challenges for parents around establishing boundaries.
- Internet Matters– Helpful tips on screen time for children aged 0-5 years
- Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP)– A range of advice on keeping children of all ages safe when online, starting from age 5 and upwards
- Think u Know – An education programme from NCA-CEOP, a UK organisation which protects children both online and offline. You will find advice on staying safe when you are on a phone, tablet or computer, from ages 4 upwards
- NSPCC– A range of advice and tips on online safety
- Parental controls (NSPCC) – Advice on setting up parental controls to help you keep your child safe online
- Childline– Offering a counselling service for children and young people, as well as a range of helpful advice on various issues, including online safety and cyberbullying
- NetAware– A guide to social networks, information on apps children use, and how to monitor and use the internet safely
- It’s not ok– A range of advice for parents about keeping children and young people safe from child sexual exploitation.
- Child Law advice – Guidance around the law, covering things like sexting, and what parents can do if a child or young person has been sexting
- Parent Info– Help and advice for families in a digital world
- BBC Newsround– Guidance and tips for young people on staying safe online
- Qustodio free parental app– An app designed to supervise, manage and protect your child’s device use on the go
- Hollie Guard safety app – One tap or shake activates the app, automatically sending your location and audio/video evidence to your designated contacts.
Helpful tips and advice
- Family Link – Help with setting boundaries and managing screen time with 6 tips for keeping children and young people safe in the digital world.
Content and apps
Family Links has free downloads with practical tips and ideas for parents.
The NSPCC offer a range of materials on how to set boundaries and build positive relationships:
- Positive Parenting
- Giving praise effectively
- Giving time to calm down
- Making family rules
- Giving choices and consequences
- Active ignoring
- Problem solving
Other useful materials for parents include:
- Mental health and parenting (NSPCC) – Help and advice for parents and families dealing with mental health problems
- If you’re in an unhappy place (Wigan Council) – A range of advice and guidance to help you make positive and healthy life choices
- Keeping your cool – Advice for parents on managing stress and anger
- Alcohol, Drugs and Parenting (NSPCC)– Support and advice for parents or carers who are concerned about their alcohol or drug use
- Controlling anger guide (NHS)– A self-help guide from the NHS to help parents control their anger.
- Two hug day– A guide for parents on how to speak to their children about separation and divorce
- Separation and divorce (NSPCC)– Your rights around child contact and advice for supporting children during a separation
- Zero to Three– An online resource for parents who are living apart and parenting together.
Your child’s health is vitally important if they are to live, learn, grow and develop to their full potential. There are lots of ways you can help your child to be healthy, like providing healthy food and drink, ensuring they get plenty of physical activity, making sure they have a good sleep routine and supporting their emotional wellbeing.
All parents want to keep their children safe, we know how important it is to use a car seats, a fireguard or a stair gate, but did you know that one of the best ways to protect them is to make sure they have all of their vaccinations?
Vaccinating your child serves two important purposes:
- Vaccines protect the individual child
- Vaccines prevent your child from spreading diseases to other people.
Childhood vaccinations are safe and important
- NHS guidance on why vaccinations are safe and important
- NHS guidance on when to have childhood vaccinations
Children are prone to illness more than adults as their immune systems are still developing. Knowing the signs and symptoms can help you get them the right treatment early.
A good well balanced and varied diet will keep them healthy and can help boost their immune system, this will help in the event that they do pick up a bug.
Fresh fruits and vegetables should be consumed daily as well as quality fats, wholegrains and lean proteins. A good, quality multivitamin will cover any nutrients that they might miss in their diet and help to keep their immune system strong for when these common childhood illnesses strike:
Sleep is extremely important for children’s physical and emotional development, health and wellbeing, and can be a potential cause of behavioural issues.
As children and young people grow, the advice about how much sleep they need changes, as does the advice about how to encourage and support children into good sleeping patterns.
Children and young people may find it difficult or challenging to understand the importance of sleep, often creating flashpoints which can be stressful for child and parent alike.
- NHS Choices website – provides the approximate hours of sleep needed by children of different ages, as recommended by the Millpond Children’s Sleep Clinic
- Sleep Foundation– provides advice about sleep requirements and patterns at different ages
- World Health Organisation– guidelines on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep for children under 5.
Challenges around sleep
- The Sleep Councilprovides helpful advice for a range of circumstances.
Change4life website has some great advice about healthy eating and ways to keep your child active as well as simple ideas for healthy mealtime recipes.
Some pre-school aged children can be fussy about what or how they eat. It is not uncommon for children to refuse to eat certain foods, eat a very limited range of food or refuse to eat at all.
If your child is becoming fussy about what they eat or refusing to eat certain food the following advice may help:
- Try not to get angry or worry. If your child is growing and developing well – just wait for your child to outgrow this phase
- Eat together as a family and eat the same meal, ensuring that your child has an appropriately sized portion and that their food does not have any added salt
- Keep trying with new foods and offer them in different ways e.g. offering carrot cooked, uncooked, grated, mixed in a sauce etc.
- Get your child involved in preparing and cooking meals
- Praise your child when they try something new
- Aim for no more than two snacks a day
- Don’t cook to order, if food is uneaten at the end of the meal, just take it away without comment.
What if I need more help?
If you are still worried or need further help and support, speak your health visitor and/or GP.
- Guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak– This guidance provides excellent material on how to help children and young people cope with stress, the need to listen and acknowledge children’s concerns, provide clear information about what is going on, for adults to be aware that their own reactions are emotional clues for children and young people, the need to create a new routine, and to talk about what children have seen and heard through social media
- How to promote positive mental health in children (CAMHS) – Online mental health support for young people
- Kooth – Online mental health support for young people.
- How to talk to your child about the coronavirus
- COVIBOOK– An interactive resource designed to support and reassure children aged 7 and under and help them explain and draw the emotions that they might be experiencing during the pandemic
- Storybooks for children about the coronavirus.
Home Learning and Activities
Children will learn through any experience they are offered. Parents are a child’s first educator and they will learn from any experience they are offered. There are lots of things you can do at home to help them gain new skills and knowledge. Even the smallest thing you do with them can make a big difference. There are lots of helpful websites and ideas here of fun things you can do at home to support your child development.
Ideas of fun things you can do at home to keep your child active and develop their skills:
- Lovemybooks– you will find wonderful books to read with your child and many creative activities based on each book to make reading even more enjoyable and interactive
- Hungry Little Minds– Simple, fun activities for children aged, ranging from newborn to five years
- Supporting children in the early years during coronavirus closures
- Early Years Foundation Framework (EYFS) sets out the learning and development stages for children as they grow from birth to five years. ‘What to expect, when?’ guidance gives ideas of the things you can do to help your child learn and develop socially, emotionally and intellectually
- Action for Children Dots – A range of ideas on what you can do together at home to help your child learn and have fun too
- How to stay active at home (Sport England) – Top tips and ways to stay active whilst at home
- P.E. with Joe Wicks (The Body Coach) – Daily online P.E. sessions with Joe Wicks that you can do with your children to stay active and keep them moving whilst indoors
- Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles Facebook page – Great videos and ideas to help keep the kids active.
FURTHER HELP AND SUPPORT
If you are already receiving Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction you must tell the council about a change in your circumstances within 30 days, this includes:
- Losing or getting a job
- Having a baby
- A partner moving in or out.
Child Tax Credit is a benefit that helps with the cost of raising a child if you are on a low income. It is one of six benefits being replaced by Universal Credit.
Further advice and guidance
- Wigan Council Housing Benefits advice
- Citizens Advice
- Money Advice Service
- NHS advice on maternity and paternity leave
- StepChange Debt Charity – 0ffering free, expert advice and practical debt solutions. No matter how large or small your debt problem is, they will look at your financial situation and give you expert debt advice and recommend debt solutions to suit your situation. They will also help you set up and support your chosen solution.
Are you at risk of being homeless?
Visit Wigan Council to get support if you’re homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
The council must provide emergency accommodation if you’re homeless and have children or are pregnant.
You can also contact Shelter for free, independent advice.
Our Start Well Family Centres are there to help you give children under five the best start in life. Support includes:
- Early education and play
- Health services
- Information and advice about children’s services
- Parenting support.
During this time parents are advised to keep their children at home where possible. You can keep in touch with your local Start Well Family Centre and stay up to date with events by visiting their Facebook page: