OUR Home Times series has been giving parents and carers top tips and advice on how to keep children learning during these difficult times.

We’ve shared music, art, physical education and STEM ideas from Glasgow’s education experts.

This week it’s the turn once again of the city’s Psychological Services.

At the start of the lockdown the team gave advice on how to speak to children sensitively about what is happening currently in the world.

Now children and young people have been at home for a few weeks and are aware of the impact of the coronavirus, the psychologists have produced a wealth of ideas to take care of their mental health and wellbeing.

The ideas shared – from special breathing exercises to ways of talking about feelings – can also be used by adults to make sure the family’s wellbeing is cared for.



Provide clear, age appropriate information and reassure. Be led by what your child talks about. Talking will help reduce anxiety.


Encourage talking to friends and family through technology. Connection supports positive wellbeing


Spend time doing fun and positive activities together, laugh, sing, dance, try out relaxation and breathing exercises together.


Focus on what you and your child can do like handwashing, eating well, exercise, learning a new skill

ACKNOWLEDGE Help your child to name their feelings e.g. I can see you are worried/angry/sad and its ok to feel like that right now. Let's work together to find ways to make you feel better.

It will be important to remember that not all children will be anxious, angry or upset about self isolation. A lot of children will be enjoying additional time at home with their families.

Just like anxiety can spread quickly so can calmness, so it will be important especially during the school holidays, that you focus on spreading calmness in your home.

It might be worth asking your child questions like the ones below which focus on positive feelings.

lWhat makes you feel calm?

lHow can you continue to keep in touch with friends and family at the moment?

lCan you think of anything fun we can do at home today?

lWhat is something you could you do for someone else today?

lWhat have you enjoyed about today?

lWhat made you feel proud today?


Psychologists often talk about self regulation, which is the ability to control the way we react to different experiences.

People aren’t born with self-regulation skills but learn how to self-regulate and get better at it with practice.

Adults are usually better at self-regulating than children. Adults help children learn how to self-regulate. The psychology team says there are times when even adults struggle with self-regulation. This usually happens when adults are more tired, worried or stressed than usual.

The impact of the current coronavirus pandemic might make it harder for adults to self-regulate.

An adult or a child who is struggling with self-regulation might react in the following ways:

lFeeling sad or upset more often

lLow energy and loss of motivation

lIncreased frustration or disappointment

lFeeling annoyed or angry more often

lQuicker to lose their temper

lMore excitable and hyperactive

In the current coronavirus lockdown situation, the worst case scenario is when adults and children are both struggling to self-regulate.

It is important that the adults remain calm as your children will learn from your response.

The following activities can be done by adults on their own, or by adults and children together to hopefully help everyone self-regulate in these uncertain times.

1 Hand Breathing 

Glasgow Times:

2. Tummy breathing

Lie on the floor and place a small stuffed animal on your stomach. Breathe in deeply though your nose and feel the stuffed animal rise, and then feel it lower as you slowly exhale through your mouth. Rock the stuffed animal to sleep using the rise and fall of your stomach.

3 Sensory Awareness Activity

Sit or lie in a comfortable position. Focus on what is around you and how your body feels.

You and your child each take a turn at describing in as much detail as possible:

lWhat you can see around you

lWhat noises you can hear (both inside and outside the house)

lWhat smells you are aware of

lWhat you can feel (heart beating; soft cushions; hard floor; cool breeze etc)

lTake a bite of your favourite treat (e.g. chocolate) or from memory and describe the taste and texture as it melts or you chew it in your mouth.


To try and support you with your own wellbeing during this time, there are simple things you can do in the day that may help you to care for yourself.

Think about how you will spend your day and plan some activities to give you a sense of satisfaction. If you aren’t happy with your usual routine this could be a time to try out doing things differently


Once you’ve read your Glasgow Times, take care with the amount of news and information you are looking at.

With news easily accessible on your phone, through social media and on the TV it can be easy to check this frequently.

Try and think about the sources within social media as there can be a lot of misinformation provided through this forum.

If you are still using this, consider putting a limit on the amount of time you are on this and think about the pages you are viewing. If in doubt, you can check up to date advice from the NHS website or the government website. (should put in these links)


Going outside may be limited but you can hopefully access online workouts or complete seated exercises.

If at all possible, try to get outside and go for a walk or spend time in the garden or even at your window.

This can help reduce feelings of stress or anger and help you feel more relaxed.


If a day hasn’t gone to plan be kind to yourself and start the next day afresh.

This is a new situation for all of us and we are all adjusting.

Try and spend some time alone if at all possible. Being inside can be very intense for everyone and getting some space will allow you to cope with any challenges that arise in the day.

You will be able to respond better if you are calm and feeling positive.


Connect with people you may normally see. This could be through video calls, phone calls, messaging or letters. Connecting with others may help feelings of isolation.

It might be helpful for parents to look at the Scottish Government Parent Club website which is a source of relevant and updated information for families.