Caring for others
The information and links in this section aim to offer support and guidance to help navigate the challenges the current environment has presented in relation to caring for others.
Caring for children
The Parenting for Lifelong Health Initiative offers some advice on Covid-19 Parenting in relation to how parents and caregivers can help manage this new environment with and for children.
Their suggestions include:
1. Create some one-to-one time
School shutdown is a chance to make better relationships with our children and teenagers. One-on-One time is free and fun. It makes children feel loved and secure, and shows them that they are important.
2. Keep it positive
It‘s hard to feel positive when our kids or teenagers are driving us crazy. Children are much more likely to do what we ask if we give them positive instructions and lots of praise for what they do right.
3. Have a structure
COVID-19 has taken away our daily work, home and school routines. This is hard for children, teenagers and for you. Making new routines can help.
4. Managing behaviour
All children misbehave. It is normal when children are tired, hungry, afraid, or learning independence. Redirecting, pausing and being clear about consequences can help.
5. Keep calm and manage stress
This is a stressful time. Take care of yourself, so you can support your children. Please see the support and guidance relating to managing and supporting your mental health on this DMU Coronavirus microsite. Rest assured that you are not alone and that others are experiencing the same feelings, fears and difficulties.
6. Talking about COVID-19
Be willing to talk. They will already have heard something. Silence and secrets do not protect our children. Honesty and openness do. Think about how much they will understand. End on a good note after discussions. Check to see if your child is okay. Remind them that you care and that they can they can talk to you anytime. Then do something fun together.
7. Useful Links for Carers of Children
Caring for other vulnerable individuals
The current measures may be medically necessary for some vulnerable groups and self-isolation will have an impact in terms of mental wellbeing and the ability to logistically obtain food and practically undertake some day to day necessary tasks.
If you have responsibilities or caring obligations for individuals who fall into a potentially vulnerable group the following tips and considerations may be helpful:
Make sure the individual has everything they need
Picking up some shopping, prescriptions or running errands could be a major help.
Encourage regular communication
Ensure that those from vulnerable groups regularly engage with you and others to keep up morale and continue social engagement. The Campaign to End Loneliness also recommends using Whatsapp groups to share regular updates, or making video calls on Zoom as well as posting on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.
Managing and structuring your time
Think carefully about your daily schedule and carve out specific times either in the week or daily to either speak with the individuals that you support, or to undertake something on their behalf.
Minimise others’ panic or anxiety.
Suggest limiting the time spent watching, reading or listening to the news if it makes an individual anxious or distressed. Help them to seek information only from trusted sources in order to enable them to take practical steps to prepare plans and protect themselves.
If you are a carer it is important to know what support is available to you during this time. Carers UK have offered some guidance in relation to caring for others during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Effective Remote Working with Children/ Caring Responsibilities
There is no miracle solution for working at home with dependents. The following may be of help in terms of practical tips:
Create a working pattern that best enables you.
Consider carefully how best you are able to work most effectively during this time. Have open and honest dialogue with your manager in relation to this. DMU’s Interim Homeworking Policy outlines having a discussion in relation to working pattern during this uncertain time.
If you’re balancing work alongside other commitments; you might want to suggest a temporary working pattern or split working day with your manager which means you can be more productive either earlier or later in the day. Any request to flex hours due to the current environment is not the same as asking for your manager to support a permanent and regular change to your working pattern which would still need to be made via a formal request under the Flexible Working Policy.
Based on your personal circumstances you may find that at this time you are unable to work at all and may look to take some annual leave or request some special leave.
Talk through your plans with your manager and team (where appropriate) so that everyone is clear when you will be available and engaging in work. Include this on your out of office message and at the bottom of your e-mail to communicate your availability more widely.
Be flexible and Kind to yourself
Not every day will go to plan for home, work or both. Your routine may need to adapt or change depending on how everyone is feeling. Remember we are operating in unusual circumstances.
Plan some activities for children that need limited supervision where possible
Clearly this will be dependent on the age of your child. Aim to schedule these and activities that your children will be engaged in at times when you feel you are at your most productive.
It's important to consider your preferences for how you would like your working days to flow in order to be at your best. Make the most of a bit of flexibility and ensure you are taking breaks that work for you and your family. Consider taking annual leave to help yourself out with time pressures, which should continue to be balanced throughout the year.
Reward good behaviour.
Set up a reward system for when your children behave well and follow direction. Consider treating yourself as well – remember work performance can be motivated by reward too.
Be creative with your working space.
As outlined in the Interim Homeworking Policy, setting up a space from which to work at home (which complies with DSE requirements as far as possible) is essential. If you are working with other dependents in the house finding a space with a door that can close can be highly beneficial and reinforces when closed that you are working.