Covid half term

With half term activities restricted in many parts, what can parents do to ensure that children get time to recharge and prepare for the winter months ahead?

Woman and child hugging wearing medical masks


It’s half term for much of the country – though not Scotland – and what you can do depends on where you live.For a large number of people mixing with other households is off the menu. Others will still be able to travel or to meet up with small numbers of family.

Covid has dealt some very different hands. It has meant having to be resourceful in ways we never anticipated, whether that is turning the working day inside out, surviving on next to nothing, inventing new pastimes or just trying to motivate anxious teenagers.

Half term is also, for many, a time to pause and recharge, although for those working in healthcare the pressures will be ramping up as infection rates go up.

For children facing big exams this year it will be a time of revision and catching up. For some, GCSE mocks start in November. With children having only just come back from six months of mainly home study, it is a time of huge anxiety. There was a lot of focus on last year’s GCSE and A Level cohorts, but this year’s will surely be worse hit. On top of that they have to contend with what happens at the end of the year if they are able to sit their exams. There are sixth form applications to do, UCAS forms to fill in or other plans to consider against a background of total uncertainty.

So what can parents do apart from try to maintain some sort of eye of the storm sense of consistency and calm – even if they don’t feel it themselves; to encourage and motivate young people when things don’t seem very encouraging or motivating; to focus on the short term – the getting through each day and celebrating the small wins; and to provide a sense of perspective that young people often lack – that this too shall pass.

This is the time when arts and crafts come into their own – ironically, the very time when the arts are most under stress. At times of great pressure, doing something creative, whether it is painting murals, repurposing clothes, playing guitar, making videos or planning a Halloween party, provides the kind of calm that can help keep young people focused on the present and provide a sense of achievement and positivity in a world of uncertainty.

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