WITH Glasgow's school children now at home under unique and challenging circumstances, the Glasgow Times has joined with the city's education department to bring our readers a series of articles on how parents can help their youngsters at home.

Today we're speaking to educational psychologist Vicky Greenwood to find out how children and young people can be supported through the coronavirus crisis.

Vicky says there's a fine balance between giving children up to date information and scaring them.

But it is vital to keep them in the know.

Here's what our expert says.

"Talking about Coronavirus with your children can be daunting for parents," Vicky said.

"It can be hard to know what to say when information is changing all the time and you are worried about scaring them.

"However, it is important to explain to children about the changes that are happening around them.

"They have likely seen bits of information on the TV, seen people in face masks and heard that their school is closing; providing them information as to why this is can be helpful.

"When doing so be truthful, whilst remembering the age and stage of your child.

"For younger children it may be helpful to give the basic factual information such as school is off to stop people getting ill from a virus.

"Most people will just feel a little unwell like the cold and will get better very quickly.

"For older children a bit more detail may be appropriate.

"It can also be helpful to tell children practical advice which may help.

"For example, they can wash their hands before they eat to make sure they are preventing germs spreading, and if they sneeze or cough can “catch it, bin it, kill it” in a tissue."

As well as this practical advice, Vicky says, it's also important to understand that children will worry.

And when you speak to them is just as important as what you say.

She added: "Acknowledge children’s thoughts and feelings, and be aware that they may personalise concerns and worries.

"It is important they are able to have this time and space to share any concerns with you.

"Children may also have questions about the Coronavirus and it is good to chat about this.

"Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know the answers to things – it is much better to be honest rather than try to make something up.

"Lots of the information about Coronavirus is still being learned so it is okay to say that.

"If you are discussing this with your children, try and do this at a time when you are calm.

"This is important as it reinforces to children that they don’t need to worry unnecessarily.

"Children will take a lot of their lead as to how they respond based on the responses of the adults around them.

"If you need someone to talk to about your own concerns, try and find another adult you can chat through this with.

"It can be difficult to process all of the information, especially if you are self-isolating and at home alone so it is important to recognise your own anxiety and to do some self-care for yourself.

"Look at how you can relax. This might be watching TV, taking time to breathe or spending time chatting with friends and family to support you with this.

"Finally, be reassured that developments are being made within Glasgow to support parents and children at this difficult time.

"Education Services is working with other key agencies including Glasgow Psychological Services to see how we can best support Glasgow’s children.

"Glasgow prides itself as a Nurturing City and if we can support each other during these complex times we can provide the security that children, and well as adults, need."

We've teamed up with education experts from across the city and will be bringing you hints and tips on how to fill the days when our pupils are not at school.

Councillor Chris Cunningham, City Convener for Education, Skills & Early Years said: “During these unprecedented times we want to do everything that we can to support our children, young people and their families.

“They will understandably be anxious about this whole situation and we are joining forces with the Glasgow Times to help signpost and publish learning aids and resources that can help parents compliment the teaching packs sent home with pupils.

“We’ve organised for group of education specialists – in literacy and numeracy, STEM subjects, PE and active sports, English As an Additional Language and an educational psychologist – to share their knowledge along with handy tips and suggestions to keep our children occupied and reduce any anxieties they have.

“I know that the coming weeks will be difficult for us all and we want to help our families by hopefully reducing the stress in some small way.

“There are so many imaginative ways in which to incorporate learning into everyday life – even while practising social distancing by staying at home – and this is what we want to help with.”