The government has produced some helpful guidance for parents on supporting children and young people's mental health during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

There's also a guide on looking after your own mental health and wellbeing during the outbreak.

What is coronavirus (COVID-19)?

It can be hard to explain what coronavirus is, especially to young children. This video from the INEQE Safeguarding Group, explains it in simple terms.

These top tips about talking to your child about coronavirus from are really valuable.

  • Try not to shield your child from the news, as it’s likely they will find out somehow from school, being online or from friends.

  • Talk to your child about what is going on. You could start by asking them what they have heard.

  • Try to answer their questions and reassure them in an age appropriate manner. Remember, you do not need to know all the answers, but talking can help them feel calm.

  • Reassure your child that it is unlikely they will get seriously ill, and if they do feel ill you will look after them. Your child might be concerned about who will look after you if you catch the virus. Let them know the kind of support you have as an adult so that they don’t feel they need to worry about you.

  • Give some practical tips to your child about how they can look after themselves. For example, show them how to wash their hands properly, and remind them when they should be doing it.

  • Keep as many regular routines as possible, so that your child feels safe and that things are stable.

  • Spend time doing a positive activity with your child (eg reading, playing, painting, cooking) to help reassure them and reduce their anxiety. This is also a great way of providing a space for them to talk through their concerns, without having a ‘big chat’.

  • Encourage your child to think about the things they can do to make them feel safer and less worried.

  • Be aware that your child may want more close contact with you at this time and feel anxious about separation. Try to provide this support whenever possible.

  • Remember to look after yourself too. If you yourself are feeling worried, or anxious about coronavirus, talk to someone you trust who can listen and support you.

Wash your hands

We're being told to learn how to wash our hands properly and to do this regularly. This video is a great clip for children to watch and is only 47 seconds long.

Government advice

Browse the links below to find the most up to date official information relating to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Useful links

You can discover more resources below that can help you to explain coronavirus to young people.



Guidance about exams/qualifications and SEND provision including EHCPs to help you through the coronavirus period.

General information

EHCP/SEN provision – SEN support and EHCPs

Read guidance and advice from IPSEA about SEND support and Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs).

There is also information available from Special Needs Jungle about EHCP timescales and what my child’s EHCP still provides.

Mediation and tribunals 

Special Needs Jungle has advice and guidance about EHCP Mediation, tribunals and tribunal appeals.

You can also find official advice from UK Courts about remote access to family courts.

Aged between 15 and 25?

Please contact us if you are worried about exams and qualifications, or if you are at college.  We can talk to you about what happens now and in the future.  Don’t worry – we are here to help.

Phone: (01226) 787234
Facebook Messenger:

Barnsley SYPS

Barnsley SENDIASS launched the Young Person’s service SYPS in 2020.  If you are aged 16 to 25, you are welcome to join our Facebook group.

Advice for local authorities and educational settings

Other advice and guidance

Things to do

Ideas to keep everyone happy, entertained and learning.

Visual timetables

Visual timetables can be effective for children to lessen anxieties, process information and keep structure to their day.  As a family we're sure that you will decide whether this will be useful or not but here are some examples:

Making your own timetable

Currently Twinkl are offering a free subscription - offer code: PARENTSTWINKLHELPS 

There are lots of different visual timetables you can create from the resources on here.

Learning with play

  • Play dough
    A great way to keep youngsters busy and at the same time help them practice their fine motor skills is to play with play dough - it's great for squeezing and rolling, you can make letters and words out of it or simply just play with it. There are loads of different recipes for making play dough online so could be worth checking it out.

  • Twinkl 
    The website Twinkl has provided a free access code for parents (PARENTSTWINKLHELPS).  Twinkl is a website to share ideas and resources for teaching.

  • Phonics play 
    Phonics Play has provided a free access code for parents.  Phonics Play provide resources to support the teaching of phonics.

    Username: march20
    Password: home

  • CBeebies
    The BBC’s CBeebies website provides lots of useful and fun activities for young children, to encourage learning and play.
  • Barnsley Libraries
    Barnsley Libraries offer a free eBook service to download on eReaders and tablets.



  • BBC Bitesize
    The BBC’s Bitesize website is regularly updated with new content.

  • Barnsley Libraries
    Barnsley Libraries offer a free eBook service to download on eReaders and tablets.

Science and nature

Sign language

Health and wellbeing

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