COVID-19 - resources for parents and carers

At RCPCH we understand this is a worrying time for children and their families. Below are some useful resources from across the UK.
Last modified
5 March 2021

    To get an email notification of each update, you can log in and select the pink button in the grey box 'Notify me when updated'. We've listed our updates at the bottom of this page.

    Key messages

    COVID-19 is an illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus.

    It is important that we all follow official guidance and information provided by the governments and health agencies so we can protect our families and other people who may become seriously ill if they are infected with COVID-19.

    • Up to date information about how to stay safe and stop the spread of coronavirus is available for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
    • If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste) follow the advice for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
    • Testing and contact tracing is available in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
    • Regularly wash your hands for at least 20 seconds (here's a handy video), and if you cannot wash your hands use hand sanitiser.
    • If your child has a medical condition or injury they should continue to access treatment and attend medical appointments as recommended by their hospital, GP or healthcare professionals. RCPCH has advice for families living across the UK about when and how to get medical help for your child, or for your young baby.
    • Some children and young people will be clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.  Up to date guidance on 'shielding' is available for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

    COVID-19 linked syndrome

    Most children and teenagers do not become seriously ill with COVID-19. But doctors have seen a very small number of patients with an unusual condition which seems to be linked to the virus.

    Paediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome temporally associated with COVID-19 (called PIMS-TS or PIMS for short) is very rare, and most children will not be seriously affected.

    We've looked at the current evidence and worked with doctors to write a guide for parents, carers, teachers and others who look after children and young people. 

    See guide on PIMS

    Talking to children and young people about COVID-19

    Guidance from Children's Commissioners

    Children's Commissioners across the UK have created guidance especially for children and young people:

    Stay at home activities

    Returning to school

    Tips for parents

    Books, posters and colouring in to download

    Podcast

    • Dr Ranj (paediatrician and TV doctor) has a one-off podcast where he answers children's questions on coronavirus. 

    Online resources

    Medicines advice

    Visiting hospital

    • If your child is in hospital or has a hospital appointment there is advice from NHS England about visiting. More advice will be available from your child’s hospital ward or department.

    Staying safe advice from UK Governments

    England

    Scotland 

    Wales

    Northern Ireland

    Mental health and wellbeing

    Resources for children and young people

    Resources for parents and carers

    Condition and situation specific resources for families and children

    Autism and ADHD

    Babies up to 3 months of age

    Cancer

    Cardiology 

    Crohn's and colitis

    Diabetes

    Disability and complex health needs

    Epilepsy

    Operations

    Overseas visitors

    Pregnancy and breastfeeding 

    Renal 

    Respiratory

    Sensory

    Social care

    Young carers

    Other advice for parents and families

    Advice on when and where to seek help if your child is unwell.

    • RCPCH has advice for families living across the UK about when and how to get medical help for your child, or for your young baby if they become unwell.

    Advice if you are struggling because of coronavirus (COVID-19)

    • If you are struggling because of COVID –19 you can find helpful information on the UK Government website. This includes if you are feeling unsafe, worried about going into work, paying the bills, getting food or having somewhere to live or are concerned about your or someone else’s mental health.  
    • Turn2Us is a national charity that provides financial support to help people get back on track. 
    • This Directorate Children and Young People (DCYP) COVID-19 page provides important advice and updates for parents in the armed forces.

    Keeping children safe from accidents at home

    Coping with a crying baby

    Safeguarding children

    E-safety

    Education and exams

    Explaining bereavement to children

    Face coverings

    • The UK Government has guidance on face coverings including when they should be used and which groups of people do not need to wear them. Further advice on the use of face coverings is available for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

    Sleep

    • Changes from your usual routine can affect your families' sleep patterns. Here are some tips from a clinical psychologist in the Evelina London sleep team, about how to help maintain sleep quality.

    Financial advice and support

    • Citizens Advice has a range of information, including: help you may be access, paying bills, work arrangements and children's education during COVID-19.
    • Turn 2 Us has guidance for accessing benefits during the coronavirus outbreak.

    Helplines

    For everyone 

    • NSPCC provide a Helpline that is staffed by trained professionals who can provide expert advice and support if you’re concerned about a child, if you’re a parent or carer looking for advice or if you’re a professional in need of information and guidance.
    • Shout provides free, confidential support, 24/7 via text for anyone in crisis. You can text SHOUT to 85258 in the UK to text with a trained Crisis Volunteer 
    • The Samaritans have a free helpline that is available 24/7 for anyone who is having a difficult time or is worried about someone else. You can call 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org.

    For children and young people

    • ChildLine provides a helpline for any child who is worried or needs help. You can call 0800 1111 any time for free or have an online chat with a counsellor.
    • The Mix provides a free confidential helpline, crisis text line and online service for under 25s that aims to find young people the best help, whatever the problem.   

    For parents and carers

    • Young Minds has a Parents’ and Carers’ Helpline if you are worried about a child or young person’s behaviour or mental health. 
    • Contact run a free helpline for parents and carers in the UK with a disabled child aged from birth to 25 who want to talk through their issues with an expert adviser.

    Surveys and research

    Details of surveys and research looking at children and young people's experience of COVID-19 can be found here

    Latest updates on this page

    Updates in this version (5 March 2021)

    • Updated information added to Education and exams section.

    Updates in version 1 December 2020

    • Other advice for parents and families: Added link to updated RCPCH advice posters for parents and carers on when and how to get advice if your child becomes unwell. Removed previous version of the poster.

    Updates in version 18 November 2020

    • Amended section for Newborn babies to Babies up to 3 months of age and added link to RCPCH guides for parents of babies under 3 months of age.
    • Updated link for BCCA practical information.

    Updates in version 27 October 2020

    • Condition and situation specific resources for families and children: added link to information for children and young people going into hospital for an operation.
    • Staying safe advice from UK governments: links to the NHS COVID-19 app and the Protect Scotland app.