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
30 September 2020

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. We have added a poster to explain how to access help during this time - see below for both English and Welsh language versions. (You can also download the posters below.
  • Some children and young people will be clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19. RCPCH has developed a set of frequently asked questions around 'shielding' which can be found here. 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

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

Cancer

Cardiology 

Crohn's and colitis

Diabetes

Disability and complex health needs

Epilepsy

Overseas visitors

Newborn babies

Pregnancy and breastfeeding 

Renal 

Respiratory

Sensory

Social care

Young carers

Other advice for parents and families

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 (30 September 2020)

  • Staying safe advice from UK governments - England: added link to information provided by the Department of Health and Social Care on when you should book a coronavirus test for your child. 
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing: added information on NHS Inform resources

Updates in version 21 September 2020

  • Information and links updated.
  • Staying safe advice from UK governments - Northern Ireland: added link to information for parents and carers produced by the Department of Education and the Public Health Agency on stopping the spread of COVID-19 in schools

Updates in version 18 August 2020

  • Education and exams: added links to guidance for parents and carers in England and Wales on changes in schools, colleges and early years care from September.