Hi Everyone,

These are strange times we find ourselves in. I hope everyone is keeping well.

I have put together some resources and contacts that may help you over the coming days, as you work with your children from home.

Stay safe everyone and look after yourselves.

Maeve (HSCL)

Top Tips:

Here is a summary of the main tips and guidelines from the experts:

  1. Keep a normal daily routine going in as far as possible, even though you are at home. Continue to go to bed and get up at a regular time, do some school activities recommended each day as this will help. (See below for a sample daily routine)
  2. Get some fresh air daily. Just remember to keep to your family group, distance yourself from others and avoid playgrounds. (See below for some simple outdoor activities)
  3. Limit time spent on social media. We all need to keep up to date with advice but try to limit the amount of times you check in to once or twice a day, in the morning and the evening. This will help our mental health and reduce potential panic and anxiety.
  4. Get information from reputable websites. www.hse.ie , www.gov.ie , www.education.ie , www.rte.ie/news/
  5. Remember to practise good hand hygiene. See links below in talking to your child about Covid-19
  6. Stay Connected. Link in with family and friends daily through calls and texts to check in, keep in touch and lessen the feelings of isolation

Daily Routine:

Keeping a daily routine is important for ourselves and our mental health.

Each day should involve:

  • Some exercise
  • Some school work/ activities recommended by the school
  • Some fresh air (where possible)
  • Some leisure time: e.g. reading, computer games, phone calls to friends and other family members
  • Include your child in cooking and chores as there is learning here and a great opportunity to cook healthy meals together

Here is a sample daily timetable you could use and adapt:

Before 9amWake UpGet up, get dressed, make your bed, have breakfast
9am-10:45Academic TimeComplete some activity suggested from the school website (e.g. Maths, Gaelige)
10:45-11:30Break/ exerciseHave a snack and do some indoor activity (yoga, jumping jacks, Go Noodle)
11.30 – 12:30 Creative Time / BakingDo an art activity, some construction using lego, drawing, making up a dance, use a suggested activity from the school website
12:30 -1:30LunchChildren help with the lunch preparation and then eat together
1:30-2:30Academic TimeComplete another activity suggested on the school website (e.g. English, project work)
2:30- 3:30Outside activity for some fresh airGo for a walk, cycle, play in the garden (see list below)
3:30 – 4:00ChoresSelect a daily chore to be completed (tidying toys, cleaning bedroom)
4:00- 5:00Individual TimeRead, solve crosswords, make a wordsearch, listen to music, phone friends
5:00 – 6:30DinnerChildren help prepare dinner and then eat together, Clear the table and wash up
6:30 – 7:30Free TimeWatch tv, watch a movie, contact other family members/friends
7:30 – 8:30Bedtime PreparationClean up any toys, get into pjs, brush teeth, read a story, bedtime

Simple outdoor activities:

When you go outside with your family here are some things you can do. Just remember to keep your distance from others and avoid the playground.

  • Walk, cycle, scoot, run around the local area
  • Have races between family members
  • Play ‘I Spy’ as you walk in the park, local area
  • Play chasing
  • Bring a ball and kick it around to each other or play games such as Donkey or Piggy in the middle
  • Fly a kite
  • Complete a scavenger hunt https://www.pinterest.com/pin/420805158906930416/
  • Plant some seeds in the garden

People to contact:

We know that it can be challenging, worrying time being at home at the moment so if you need to talk to someone during the coming days for some further advice here are some free, confidential numbers you can call/email:

Talking to your child about Covid-19

The following link has important information on:

The following link is a video teaching your children how to wash their hands properly: https://youtu.be/EfQvLT0sKNc

Minding your mental health

The spread of Coronavirus can be a worrying time for ourselves and our children and as a result may affect our mental health. 

It is important that we look after ourselves and follow advice but also remember that scientists and healthcare experts around the world are working around the clock to keep us safe, contain the virus and come up with a solution. 

It is important to remind our children of this too as they may also be experiencing increased anxiety.

The HSE is encouraging us to remember that although life is changing at the moment this outbreak will pass.

 Here are some ways your mental health may be affected:

  • increased anxiety
  • feeling stressed
  • finding yourself excessively checking for symptoms, in yourself, or others
  • becoming irritable more easily
  • feeling insecure or unsettled
  • fearing that normal aches and pains might be the virus
  • having trouble sleeping
  • feeling helpless or a lack of control
  • having irrational thoughts

The HSE recommend the following 6 things so we can mind our mental health:

  1. Stay informed but set limits for news and social media: Constant news updates can make you feel worried. People on social media can talk about their worries which may increase your anxiety. Limit the amount of time you spend on social media to reduce your anxiety. Take information from trusted sources (hse.ie, rte.ie/news) to have accurate facts and avoid rumours.
  2. Keep up your healthy routines: Even though your routine is affected make sure to keep structure to you day. Pay attention to how you feel. Here are some ideas of how to relax and reduce stress:
  3. Stay Connected to others: Friends and family are a good source of support. Use email, social media, video calls, phone calls to stay social. Talking to other can lessen anxiety and worries
  4. Talking to children and young people: Involve them in making plans so they understand why and are not overly worried. Give them time to talk about how they are feeling. Share facts with them that are appropriate to their age. Limit their time on social media as it will increase their anxiety
  5. Support each other: It is normal to feel overwhelmed. Acknowledge your feelings and talk with and listen to others about our feelings. Look after your physical and mental health
  6. Don’t make assumptions: Don’t judge others. We are all in this together 

The HSE have put together a list of services who offer support during this time: 

Click on the following links or see the list of services below

Mental Health Services:

  • Pieta House
    • Freephone 1800 247 247 any time, day or night
    • Text HELP to 51444 (standard message rates apply)
    • Telephone appointments will be provided to replace face to face appointments – contact your local Pieta House for details
  • Turn2Me
    • Visit www.turn2me.org for peer support online, online support groups and counselling online
  • Aware
    • Freephone Support Line 1800 80 48 48 from 10am to 10pm every day
    • Support and self-care groups nationwide, are cancelled until further notice
    • Life Skills Online Programme continuing as normal 
    • Email supportmail@aware.ie for services information and support
  • Crisis Text Line Ireland
    • Text TALK to 086 1800 280 any time, day or night
  • Shine
    • Email phil@shine.ie for counselling support
    • While face to face services are suspended, Shine staff will be available to offer remote support and an outreach service to people who use Shine services by phone and email.
  • BeLonGTo
    • While face to face services are closed, information, referral and advice will be provided digitally, by email, SMS, phone call or video conference.
    • Contact BeLonGTo for more information.
  • LGBT Ireland
    • LGBT Helpline 1890 929 539
    • Gender Identity Family Support Line 01 907 3707
    • Email info@lgbt.ie for support or information while face to face services are closed
  • Jigsaw
    • Visit Jigsaw Online while Jigsaw centres are closed – for mental health information for young people, their parents and guardians, and those who work with young people
  • Mental Health Ireland 
  • Bodywhys
    • Email alex@bodywhys.ie for information or support, while all face to face and helpline services are currently suspended. Online support groups continue as normal.
  • Childline (under 18s)
    • Freephone 1800 666 666 any time, day or night
    • Text 50101 from 10am to 4pm every day
    • Chat online at www.childline.ie from 10am to 4pm every day