Support for families with children off school

This page is aimed at supporting children, young people and families who may be feeling anxious or worried about being off school.

There is a lot of uncertainty around the current COVID-19 outbreak, it is therefore important to not only consider our physical health during such challenging times, but also to pay attention to our mental health. With that in mind RMBC have developed a rage of resources with tips and help for being off school. Click on the link below to download.  

FACE COVID - How to respond effectively to the coronavirus crisis

Government advice and resources

The government has brought together an initial list of online educational resources to help children to learn at home.

These websites have been identified by some of the country’s leading educational experts and offer a wide range of support and resources for pupils of all ages.

As part of the response to coronavirus (COVID-19), educational settings have been asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children and young people - those who are vulnerable (including those with an education, health and care (EHC) plan), and those whose parents or carers are critical to the coronavirus (COVID-19) response. It is important to underline that all educational settings remain safe places for children and young people. Click here for more information. (link

Support for children and young people

Caring for very young children at home for extended periods can be puzzling for them and sometimes unsettling. As with older children, it is good to maintain some sort of routine to give security and purpose to the day (for you too!). Of course, each family situation will vary, but here is a suggested timetable to give you some ideas:

Caring for young children timetable and resources

An illustrated book for children on the coronavirus can be downloaded by clicking here

Click here to download a social story for children about the coronavirus.

A children's Guide to Coronavirus from the Children's Commissioner can be downloaded here

Rotherham's Visual Impairment Team has provided downloadable resources on learning strategies, hints and tips for helping with behaviour difficulties and eating and useful links. Click the link below to open.

Free Makaton resources covering a variety of topics for young people, include some on corona virus -

Government guidelines recommend that you should wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, this can be hard for some children and young people with sensory needs. Sensory integration education has produced tips for people with sensory difficulties which can be viewed by clicking here.

You might be anxious about your own health, or someone in your family, or what impact the virus will have on your life. Young minds provide steps that young people can take if feeling anxious on their website.

If you have a child who has asthma advice can be found by clicking here.

Information on coronavirus and support for deaf children and their families can be found here.

Most people will stay at home to recover from the Coronavirus, however if you do need to go into hospital, Healthcare passports can be very useful. As well as giving hospital staff details about your health, the other useful information can help staff make you feel more comfortable. Download my hospital passport here.

The Little Elf who missed his Birthday party is a therapeutic story to support primary-age children in exploring strong emotions linked to the coronavirus pandemic. Therapeutic stories are designed to help children to explore and understand feelings. 

Mentally Healthy Schools Toolkit: The third free toolkit from the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families is available to download.  It includes resources for school staff, as well as parents, to use with vulnerable children or children with SEND, a resource from Stonewall for the LGBTQ+ community, as well as a resource pack for staff wellbeing and practical activities for adults and children to help stay mentally well during this time. 

Supporting the emotional health and wellbeing for children and young people:  – Sheffield City Council have put together a guide for schools, colleges, parents and carers and help teachers and parents/ carers support young people and the whole school community to cope with the challenges they are currently facing.  They have provided useful websites/ links and Apps which will help to support the young person during this uncertain time. click here to download the document.

Support for parents/carers

The latest information and advice regarding the Coronavirus (COVID 19) is available on the Council website.

Rotherham Parent Carers Forum have been working hard to create a virtual offer which will safely support families and reduce isolation. Below is the list of sessions that are available throughout the week. To see more information on these sessions, including the weblink to each session please click here:

  • Virtual peer support drop-ins - Every weekday 10:00am-11:30pm (excluding bank holidays). This is an opportunity to chat with others that are in a similar situation, seek advice and support, reduce isolation and hopefully bring a smile to your faces at a difficult time.
  • Online peer support Facebook chat - Every night 7:30pm-8:30pm. Join in for a watch party chat with relaxing videos and chance to chat to each other about your day, sharing stories and support with families in similar situations.
  • 1:1 emotional wellbeing telephone sessions - Mondays and Tuesdays. One off telephone emotional wellbeing sessions where you can offload your worries and concerns.
  • Peer support 1:1 telephone sessions - Various times available weekdays. Telephone support sessions for current families and for new referrals. We can support with all areas including behaviours, anxiety, sensory support, and much more.
  • Monday mindfulness sessions - 6pm-7pm - every Monday during term-time. Relaxing mindfulness techniques suitable for all the family.
  • Activities with Kay - 6pm-7pm Tuesday to Friday every week. this will include interactive games, quizzes, shout outs, magic lessons, dance parties etc.

Carers uk provides information on keeping calm and well, with tips for you and those you care for on their website.

Information on coronavirus and how to talk to an autistic relative including a downloadable social story can be found on the National Autistic Society's page

Witherslack Group are excited to be running a series of free webinars to ensure parents, carers and professionals are still getting the support they need whilst at home. Click here to register for free.

Staying at home, games and activities

Click here to download a social story explaining the why we need to be doing activities at home.

Over the coming days and weeks BBC Bitesize will be changing to bring you daily content to support you as schools close across the UK, to help you with education and your wellbeing.

The Imagination Tree website shows you how to make games and have fun through a stay at home survival guide. Games for toddles, pre-schoolers and children of school age.

Wild Challenge is your chance to help wildlife, explore nature, and work towards awards by making your way through a heap of wild activities.

BBC CBeebies Radio has free downloads for helping calm and relax children.

While schools are closed, audible is letting children everywhere instantly stream an incredible collection of stories, including titles across six different languages, that will help them continue dreaming, learning, and just being kids. All stories are free to stream on your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet. Find out more.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue have launched a poster drawing competition for children while they are off school. They have a load of LEGO prizes up for grabs. Click here to find out more.

Teacher's Pet: This website offers free Home Learning packs for KS1 and KS2

Twinkl subscription service used by schools is offering a free premium service for educators, parents and children to use while schools are closed - enter the code UKTWINKLHELPS.

Below are free language learning resources for your children. The cards are designed to support children with describing a scene, children can learn about sleep, mindfulness, staying safe online, geography and knowing your body.

Oxford Owl for Home is a bright and colourful website with free resources available to download without registering. Aimed at primary aged children, they offer activities for reading, English, mathematics and interactive games. There's also handy 'How To' videos, to explain tricky concepts.

Body Coach Joe Wicks has live PE sessions on YouTube for children off school. Each day the live workout will start at 9am, if you can't make the 9am live workout, don't worry the video will be added to his page to can be watched when you are free. Click here to go to the page.

Cosmic Kids has YouTube videos on Yoga and mindfulness relaxation the videos are designed for children aged 3+, click here to go to the page.

For all the children who are interested in animals Edinburgh zoo has live feeds of the tigers, penguins, panda and koalas simple click here to see.

Chatter Pack has a list of free, online, boredom-busting resources including virtual tours and live webcams, museums and galleries, resources on music, art and culture and much more.

Rotherham Creative Learning has set a 100 activity challenge for all you families out there at home. Click the link to see the challenges that are full of fun, creative things to do, in and around your home.