Take care of your mental health and wellbeing
If you've been asked to stay at home and avoid other people, it might feel more difficult than usual to take care of your mental health and wellbeing.
These are some ideas which may help:
Connect with people
Decide on your routine
Try to keep active
Get as much sunlight, fresh air and nature as you can
Plan for working or studying at home
Find ways to spend your time
Find ways to relax and be creative
Keep your mind stimulated
Checklist: are you ready to stay at home?
- Food: do you have a way to get food delivered?
- Cleaning: are your cleaning supplies stocked up?
- Money: can you budget for any higher bills or expenses? Will you save money from lower transport costs that you could spend elsewhere?
- Work: can you work from home or not? If not, what are your rights to payment or benefits?
- Medication: do you have enough medication, or a way to get more?
- Health: can you reorganise any planned therapy or treatments?
- Commitments: can someone else help you care for any dependents, walk your dog, or take care of any other commitments?
- Connectivity: have you checked the contact details of the people you see regularly, like their phone numbers or email addresses?
- Routine: can you create a routine or timetable for yourself? And if you live with other people, should you create a household schedule? Do you need to agree how the household will run with everyone at home all day?
- Exercise: is there any physical activity you can do inside your home, such as going up and down the stairs, using bean tins as weights, or exercises you can do in your chair?
- Nature: have you thought how you could access nature? Can you get some seeds and planting equipment, houseplants or living herbs?
- Entertainment: have you thought about things to do, books to read or TV shows to watch?
- Relax: have you got materials so you can do something creative, such as paper and colouring pencils?
Coronavirus: How to help kids cope with life without school
Children across the UK will be off school for an indefinite period of time because of coronavirus. Some are likely to be anxious, so how can parents help them cope?
Millions of children will be looking forward to a spring, and possibly a summer, free of responsibility and routine. But these are not normal times - they're likely to have to spend days and nights indoors with parents or guardians.
"It's not just the fact that they're going to be cooped up together. Emotions are also going to be super-stressed because - on top of what young people are feeling - parents are worried about jobs, food supplies, paying the next mortgage bill."
As households begin this forced experiment in enclosed living, Prof Cartwright-Hatton advocates setting a clear routine, particularly for younger children - such as a couple of hours of school work in the morning or a specified time for craft work in the afternoon.
She argues that pre-teenage children "turn inwards quite quickly" if they spend too much time alone.
Parents should play with them and encourage those of an adventurous nature to regard the situation as an "adventure". This approach won't work for the more sensitive children who will need extra reassurance.
Get out, if you can
Going out won't be as easy as it usually is, which could add to a feeling of claustrophobia as spring and summer approach. Those with gardens are encouraged to use them for fresh air and exercise.
Coronavirus news is grim for people of all ages, but parents can offer perspective.
"Downplay their fears but be realistic," says Prof Cartwright-Hilton. "Don't promise things that you can't be sure aren't true. If there's misinformation about the number of deaths from coronavirus, you can counter that.
"But, whenever you've discussed coronavirus, move on afterwards, so children don't spend too much time thinking about it."
Students who were due to take their GCSEs, A-levels, Highers and other exams have had them cancelled. They don't know when or if they will go ahead at a future date.
Teenagers who would otherwise be revising could now be at home wondering how they will get their qualifications.
"I'd listen and be very sympathetic," says Prof Cartwright-Hatton. "Whatever emotions the situation is throwing up, tell them you understand how awful it must be at the moment and what a shame it is.
"But let them know you can't solve this for them. If they are really catastrophising about it - worrying that they won't go to university and won't get a job - correct that, because it's not the case."
Be prepared to change
The situation the UK finds itself in is new for parents and children.
Prof Lloyd says families should hold a "review" at the end of every week to discuss how the arrangement is faring.
"It's going to be challenging," she says. "If it's not working, people will need to change it. We should include the children in discussions. From the age of about two they will want to have an input."
It's a daunting prospect for parents, taking over what the state has offered for well over a century - daytime education and childcare. But might there be another way of looking at things to ensure the coming weeks and months are more bearable?
"We often talk about work-life balance and parents not being able to spend enough time with kids," says Prof Cartwright-Hatton. "That's not going to be a problem for a lot of people for quite a while now. We've got to look for the silver lining in all this."