The Coronavirus pandemic has brought with it feelings of worry, anxiety and uncertainty, and for children of all ages and this goes beyond the virus itself. Young people across the UK are facing school closures, cancelled sports games and separation from friends and wider family members.
As we navigate another lockdown, you may be wondering how you can support your son not only from an academic perspective, but from a mental and emotional perspective too. With this in mind, we’ve put together some practical tips and guidance to help you support your son’s mental health during lockdown.
Remember Dr Radha’s five mental health tips
When thinking about how you can best support your son during lockdown, keep Dr Radha Modgil’s, from BBC Radio 1’s Life Hacks, five tips at the forefront of your mind. These tips are all great ways to help stay emotionally and mentally well during lockdown:
Help form a routine
Even when you’re at home all day, sticking to a regular routine is key and will help your son feel safe and secure during these uncertain times.
Wherever possible, encourage structure in their day-to-day life, including having regular times for waking up, eating meals and going to bed. When scheduling in activities for the day, set some time aside for them to do the things that they enjoy, whether that’s reading a book, baking something new or talking to friends online. This is also a fantastic opportunity for them to try out a new hobby.
Encourage regular exercise
Regular exercise encourages your son to get involved in physical activity and should also form a part of their daily routine.
Reap the physical and mental benefits of being outdoors; plan time outside to get some fresh air, whether that’s going on a family walk or kicking a ball around in the garden.
Stay connected with family and friends
Finding ways to have social interactions can be tricky, especially if screen-time is a concern, however you can find the right balance and ensure your son stays connected with family members and peers. During their ‘down-time’, encourage them to schedule in calls with their friends or set up a weekly games night over Zoom with other family members.
Regular communication can be a really positive activity to help children feel calmer and less alone.
Encourage discussions about emotions
In November, we partnered with writer and activist, Natasha Devon MBE, to discuss boys’ mental health. One of the key takeaways from her session was the importance of encouraging boys to discuss their emotions and needs from a young age. Natasha suggested a method, ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’, for having these more difficult conversations. Boys find it easier to have an open conversation when no eye contact is involved, so a situation where you’re sat side-by-side may be beneficial to find out how they may be feeling.
Make a worry box
As an alternative, if your son is feeling worried or anxious about the pandemic, you can try making a worry box together. They can post their worries into the worry box and this physical act can help them feel like they don’t have to carry around their worries anymore.
Find out more
If you or someone you know is affected by any of the topics raised in this article, The NHS has a wealth of useful and informative guidance on mental health support. Visit NHS England for more information
We have all come leaps and bounds since the beginning of the first lockdown in March 2020 and we look forward to welcoming the boys, parents and staff back to school over the coming months.
In the meantime, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.