Parent Support Line

COVID-19 Service Updates

Clarecare Family Support Services team are operating a dedicated telephone no: 065 682 8178 and Email: parentingsupport@clarecare.ie in response to Covid-19. Our team are offering parents and carers a listening ear, parenting tips, guidance and sign posting to other relevant services.

The Government of Ireland have announced a roadmap to guide us safely towards reopening our country on a phased basis, as we work our way  together through the current pandemic.

For more information on all the phases in this roadmap, under all the pertinent headings click on the following link:  https://www.gov.ie/en/news/58bc8b-taoiseach-announces-roadmap-for-reopening-society-and-business-and-u/

Currently, we are in Phase 1(May 18th 2020) See the link above for details on this phase and it’s implications:

For each planned phase of the easing of restrictions, Clarecare Family Support Services want to help you to create some fun ideas that are appropriate to try out  with someone in your house, and to connect with someone you care about using your ideas.

Have a look at the following video clip and try it out during Phase 1 of the easing of restrictions:

 

TOP TIPS FOR PARENTS DURING THESE DIFFICULT TIMES

Self- Care: Look after yourself as a parent every day. Do caring things for yourself that make you feel good; have a bubble bath, listen to your favourite music, have a treat, get some exercise within the 5km limit,  do some gardening, check out mindfulness and relaxation techniques online. Make sure you eat healthy foods, get enough sleep and exercise! Focus on what YOU CAN DO, not what you can’t. There are lots of ways you can look after yourself, and by doing that you are better able to look after everybody else! Modelling self- care in this way is a powerful skill to teach your children and teens, so they can learn how to care for themselves, and others too.

Check out the following link for some self- care ideas, produced by North Tipperary Development Company: Adult wellness Pack Covid-19 2020

Have a look at the following article that has lots of positive tips on promoting children’s mental health:

Self-Care for Kids: 8 Practical Ways to Promote your Child’s Mental Health on a Daily Basis

 

Follow the link under the light bulb below, to see some other great resources on mindfulness and lots more for you and your children.

 

 Have FunTune into your child’s/teen’s needs, get to know them, their interests, talents and  what is going on in their worlds. Brainstorm with your children what activities you can still do together, at home and near home. Be safe and creative! Be a good audience for your children by listening to them, applauding their efforts and enjoying their talents and ideas. Describe all the good things you see them doing; persistence, patience, sharing, kindness, being helpful. Describe these during play and outside of the play situation. There are many suggestions online for fun and appropriate activities during this time (see link under light bulb below). Check them out together! Art/DIY/Imaginative Play/Cookery are all great areas to explore together while supervising your child and following age appropriate and safety guidelines. Here are some ideas for fun activities to try out indoors:50-Fun-Indoor-Activities-for-Kids-Checklist

Here is a link to a fun Time Capsule for your children to use as a way of recording their feelings and images in the current situation. 2020 Covid-19 time capsule sheets Don’t have access to a printer? How about using  any pages you have at home to copy these sheets and create your own version of the time capsule, or make up a  scrap book. Do it outdoors in the sunshine or indoors on a rainy day. Parents, join in, get creative and follow your children’s ideas. HAVE SOME FUN!

Why not try out this Time Capsule for adults, see how you do! 2020-COVID-19-Time Capsule For Adults

Or Some Mindfulness Colouring: Mindfulness Colouring Book

Remember, your child/teen might teach you some new skills if you really tune in to them and follow their lead! Put fun activities on your daily timetable.

Routines: Try to establish some routines, that suit your situation and keep a sense of structure alive in your home. Involve children/teens in discussing the new family routines now that they are not at school.We all function better when we have a sense of structure, a sense of purpose and so do our children. Reduce your commands and directions to only those that are necessary, be polite and assertive(pick your battles!). All children will test out the limits parents lay down, this is normal! Having clear predictable routines for our children for every day will reduce this testing over time and give children a sense of security and certainty, which they need now more than ever. Draw up routine posters/cards and put them on display so everyone knows what the routines are in your home.Involve your children/teens in drawing these up. Negotiate with them about routines,(depending on your child’s age and developmental stage/ability) about what the important structures are in your home at this time, for them and for you. You can make routine posters/cards fun with photos/pictures of the various tasks involved. Routines are especially good for morning time, bed time, homework and chores. Be realistic in your expectations and teach your child/teen how to do tasks. There are some useful tips and ideas on routines here: Top tips on Routines .Remember we sometimes take it for granted that our children/teenagers know how to complete certain tasks, but we need to show them how first! Don’t be hard on yourself if your routines/timetable doesn’t go to plan, be flexible and pick your battles!

Try some of the ideas here for planning at home :Family Toolkit Planner

Click on the following link: HANDY WEBSITES & RESOURCES To access some great resources that cover ; Health, Education, Parenting Supports, Ideas for Fun Activities,Self-Care,Income Support, Clare Co Council Supports and Mental Health. And remember be kind to yourself, you are doing a great job!

Recognising Our Emotions:Remember how important it is to recognise how you are feeling as a parent in the middle of the current crisis. You are trying to be a parent, friend, coach, work from home all at the same time and process all this uncertainty! Take time to push the pause button for yourself before you try to deal with any situation. Ask yourself, What is really important here? What can I say/do to help myself cope? What can I say/do to help my child/teen cope? What am I doing really well? Do not look for perfection. Model staying calm for your children/teenagers, as this will help them feel secure and safe. Let them hear you say out loud, “We can figure this out, we will get through this together, bit by bit”. Name your child’s feelings for them, allow them the opportunity to discuss their feelings and concerns. The key thing is to LISTEN to your child, don’t tell them how they should feel. Name your positive emotions for your child. “I am feeling hopeful” . “I am proud of myself today because….”. For negative emotions or upset feelings your child/teen (or you!) may have, acknowledge the negative feeling and give your child/teen (and yourself!) a coping statement to go with it: ” I know you are angry you can’t meet your friends, I miss mine too, but it won’t last forever. I wonder what fun thing we can do now together/Will we video call some of our friends now?”. Acknowledging the negative feelings we all have and deciding how we can positively deal with them right now  (a treat, some exercise, fresh air, some time alone with a book/music, create a cosy corner to get away with your favourite things). Look for the silver linings, these then become your Coping Strategies. Let go of the negatives in this way and you will be able to see the positives more clearly, one step at a time. Your children/teenagers will also learn how to do this from watching and hearing you. Follow this link for some very useful supports for your mental health: https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/together/?referrer=/together/

This booklet might help you to answer some of your children’s questions on Covid-19:Coronavirus-A Book For Children. Minimise talk about the virus around your children, they may be hearing too much about it! Follow your child’s lead about how much they want to know or talk about it. Accept the uncertainties and give your child/teen all the important information on handwashing correctly, social distancing, coughing and sneezing ettiquette that is available. See http://www.hse.ie  and  https://youtu.be/EfQvLT0sKNc

   Praise & Encouragement: Let your children/teens hear you praise yourself first of all for all the great things you manage to do every day.Create a compliment wall/poster with your children at home. Let them hear you compliment yourself, list the things you are doing well on the poster. Everyone take turns giving themselves a compliment everyday. Write it on the poster. Then take turns giving each other a compliment and write it on the poster too. We can learn how to praise ourselves this way, reduce the pressure on ourselves by recognising all that we are doing well, and at the same time teach our children how to praise themselves and others. Praise steps in the right direction, encourage and praise your child/teen for any progress they make, do not wait for the end product or for perfection!(Praise them for putting away some toys, don’t focus on the toys they didn’t put away! Praise your teen for making the bed even if this was the first time they did!) This way you will give attention to what you want to see more of and you will shape their behaviour in the right direction and build on it, over time.They will also learn how to focus on the positives. This is a  powerful skill to combat feelings of hopelessness and apathy!BE GENTLE AND PATIENT WITH YOURSELF  AND YOUR CHILDREN! New routines and skills take a long time to learn and to master. Don’t forget to encourage physical activity, healthy eating, and learning some new skills in and near home, that are age and developmentally appropriate and praise yourself out loud for all your steps in the right direction! Follow this link for some articles and handouts for parents on praise and encouragement and lots more:http://www.incredibleyears.com/parents-teachers/articles-for-parents/

Check out the resources link above, under the light bulb for more ideas on fun activities, supports and self-care.

Parenting when separated presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities. It is a stressful experience for all concerned and these stresses may be more heightened during the current crisis. During this uncertain period of social isolation it may be difficult for separated parents to know how to interpret the rules about access and visitation for their children. There is information available to help separated parents make informed decisions about this, during the Covid 19 crisis. Follow this link to Treoir.ie for more information.

In the middle of parental separation, and even more so in the middle of the current Covid-19 crisis, children need to be reassured consistently that they are loved by BOTH parents and they need help to learn how to be part of two separated families. Children can worry, feel sad, guilty, angry and miss routines. These are all very important impacts to keep in mind as separated parents try to work out a positive co-parenting relationship, based on constructive communication between parents to solve co-parenting issues as they arise. Not an easy task, so be kind to yourself as a parent and avail of any supports that are available to you as outlined on this page.

Click on the following link for some v useful and practical information on Parenting When Separated during Covid-19:Tips for Separated Parents during Covid 19 pandemic

The mediation service in Limerick are offering mediation to separated parents specifically around maintenance and  access arrangements during Covid-19, via telephone/online. They operate this service Monday – Friday 9am-1pm & 2pm-5pm. Phone: 061 214310. The Ennis office for mediation service operates Monday – Thursday 9am-1pm & 2pm-5pm phone: 066 7186100.

TUSLA Child and Family Agency: Offer a wealth of supports to children and families on their website. There are 7 general parenting messages that serve as a great base from which parents can launch into positive parenting across their children’s life stages and developmental ages:

  1. The Parent/Child Relationship is key: The more communication there is between parents and their children, the more likely they are to share values and opinions.
  2. Buy Well, Eat Well, Be Well: Good dietary habits are formed by supporting parents to build on the information, and skills they have on diet/nutrition and by offering parents meaningful help in food purchasing and preparation.
  3. Positive Parenting: Positive parenting practices create positive outcomes for children and young people.
  4. Child Safety Practices: Good child safety practices to prevent child injury, in the home are central to keeping young children safe from harm.
  5. Role Models: Baby See, Baby Do: Parents are significant role models for their children, from a young age. It is what parents do with their children that has a significant impact on outcomes for children.
  6. Problem- Solving Skills: Name it & Tame it: Parents can help their children to develop problem-solving skills  and model being calm. Parents who are able to solve problems without anxiety are able to provide the best environment for their children.
  7. Social Networks For Parents: Parenting is easier when you can talk to other supportive parents and when you are connected to a good network of supports.

For more details on these parenting messages from TUSLA, Child and Family Agency, and for information and support for children and families across the various developmental stages and ages, please click on the following link: http://tusla.ie/parenting-24-seven

 Teenagers: All the above advice and tips apply to our teenagers too, it just needs to be pitched at their level and their specific stage of life. Teenagers are going through a period of change congitively, socially, emotionally and physically. They now have to deal with Covid-19, all its uncertainties, isolation from their peers, and uncertainty about exams, careers and future along with this! As parents our goal is to help our teenagers to become independent adults, encourage and support them by establishing a relationship with them that allows them to grow up, but also remain connected to us as their parents. We need to tune into their world, interests, fears, joys and hopes, while still setting boundaries and limits for them to keep them safe and to help them learn about taking responsibility for their actions. We need to make a plan with our teens about how we can change old unhelpful patterns on both sides and replace them with negotiated, positive plans for dealing with problems as they arise, one problem at a time.We are aiming to get the right balance between positive parenting and positive discipline. For helpful tips on parenting teenagers specifically see:  https://www.parentsplus.ie/programmes-about/adolescents-11-16-years/ and http://tusla.ie/parenting-24-seven.

Also check out the following link for a Teen wellness pack, produced by North Tipperary Development Company:Covid-19 2020 Wellness Pack Teens

Also the following link has a great diary during Covid-19 for Teens to keep:My COVID-19 Memory Book pdf

To help Teenagers stick with restrictions during Covid-19, click on the following link: https://www.parentsplus.ie/how-to-get-teens-to-stick-to-the-covid-19-restrictions-a-guide-for-parents/

Further supports for Teenagers can also be found by clicking on the Handy Websites & Resources link above, beside the light bulb icon.

Parents Centre: Minister Zappone has recently launched a suite of resources and supports avaiulable for parents and children: https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/parents-centre/?referrer=%2Fparents%2F&fbclid=IwAR364q_n71RUXWnVlvj3Xu3Udv3z6-fiSg-zt8o5PP7z1Co8RiZem3wj130

 

COVID Parent Support Line

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