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Feelings and emotions
If you're worried about a child, encouraging them to talk can be very helpful. If you think a child you know has a problem, it can be hard to know how to start talking to them about it. Below are some website with some useful advice on talking to your child.
Your children may display challenging behaviour during this time as they are feeling cabin fever and unable to get out of the house. Try to work out a set of boundaries with the children so they understand your expectations and you can grasp theirs too. Build in family time in the day so the children feel supported. Ensure they have structure through their day to minimise conflict. Devising a mini plan with them and helping them to find fun things to do around the house can help enormously.
Look for clues in their play
Children express themselves through play as well as words. You can learn a lot about how they're feeling by simply spending time with them and watching them play.
Stressed and upset children often play fighting games with their toys. Comment on this by saying, "There are a lot of fights going on" or "It seems pretty frightening". This can help to get them talking about what's bothering them.
Even if you do not start a conversation, you'll be making the child feel more comfortable with you, paving the way for them to open up to you about their problems.
If you can get them talking, gently ask what's wrong. But if the child does not want to open up, let the subject go, then repeat the process at another time until they're ready to tell you what's bothering them.
If your child is worried about scary news
In this digital age it is virtually impossible to stop children from finding out about upsetting news events, such as terrorism, war and violent crime, that they may find traumatic.
Advice from the Mental Health Foundation includes:
- do not try to blackout all exposure to news; this is both unlikely to succeed and could actually increase their fears
- be truthful about what has happened - let them know it is normal to be concerned and tell them you're also concerned
- encourage them to ask questions if they seem unclear about what has happened
- reassure them that you will do everything you can to keep them safe
The Mental Health Foundation has more advice about talking to your children about scary world news.
Your roles at home, work and in your community may have changed a lot during lockdown because of coronavirus (COVID-19). And you may be using your home and other spaces in different ways than you're used to.
Being stuck in together can also be a very trying time and it may be that conflicts and tensions can escalate. And it can be difficult to keep children shielded from adult arguments when everyone is together most of the day. When children see us communicating well and staying calm, it can help them cope with big emotions. It is important to encourage time out and space for everyone so they can unwind and have some time alone. Share the chores where you can so everyone is working together.
If you feel yourself getting irritated or annoyed with your family and children, don't be too hard on yourself. This is a challenging time for lots of people and there are things you can do to help. Try counting to 10 and taking some deep breaths before reacting. You can also try:
For more information about understanding, recognising and dealing with feelings and emotions visit;