The Public Health Children and Families team at Leeds City Council has been working with Active Leeds to develop a resource to share with families. The resource includes an activity pack with great ideas for fun things to do at home, together with an information leaflet which contains useful links, tips and phone numbers to help families stay healthy at home. The leaflet is now available here for downloading.
Active Leeds has designed a resource pack to encourage children, young people and families to be more physically active whilst promoting mental health and wellbeing. Under 8’s toolkit is called Ready Set Rainbow and The over 8’s Active Leeds toolkit is called Get Active Stay Active.
1/ Busy kids=happy kids
Children are happiest when they’re doing something they love. There are loads of ideas for home-based activities, and with so much choice it can be overwhelming. Check out the Child Friendly Leeds ultimate guide as a starting point. Or see the Leeds Inspired website for free online activities like yoga and dance, as well as story-telling, craft sessions, and gaming. The Leeds Libraries hub is also packed with great ideas, from fun at home with authors and illustrators through the Book Trust, to coding workshops and home learning resources.
2/ Know what to do if your child becomes unwell
It can be so hard to know what action to take when your child is unwell – especially during lockdown. Do you stay at home, call your GP or visit A&E? If in doubt, refer to this quick and useful ‘traffic light’ guide produced by doctors from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.
3/ Your NHS is still here for you
Your GP is still here to help if you or your family have health worries.
For information on your child’s development or issues like sleep routines and toilet training, the 0-19 Public Health Integrated Nursing Service is still offering a service. Visit the website or call 0113 8435683 to talk to a public health nurse.
Or if you’re aged 11-19, you can text a nurse from Chat Health on 07520 619 750 for confidential support on a range of health issues.
4/ We like to move it, move it…
Being active is essential for mental wellbeing, good physical development, more effective learning and reducing the risk of many health conditions. There’s loads of ideas to get the kids moving inside our out (and parents can join in too). After all, there’ll still be rainy days when this is over…
Active Leeds has developed two brilliant resources. For under-8s there’s Ready Set Rainbow; and for over 8’s there’s Get Active, Stay Active, both using everyday objects and kids’ imaginations for getting active at home. Yorkshire Sport Foundation offers lots of resources for school-age kids, including #ThisIsPE, which features PE lessons taught by local teachers. Change4Life’s Active Imaginations resource for under-fives contains fun ideas and videos featuring local families. Or why not try free dance classes with DAZL?
5/ Take action if home doesn’t feel safe
It’s difficult to even think about being happy, or healthy, if you don’t feel safe at home. Leeds Domestic Violence Service is open to all genders and offers a 24 hour helpline (0113 246 0401) or a webchat service which can be accessed through their website. For tips on managing everyday hazards like blind cords, nappy sacks and matches, see the Child Accident Prevention Trust or Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents websites.
6/ Be kind to yourself
Most of us have experienced moments of low mood, anxiety and stress during the coronavirus pandemic. It’s only natural to feel this way at times – a survey by the Office of National Statistics showed 4 in 5 of us are worried about the impact of coronavirus on our lives. Whenever possible we need to recharge batteries and look after our mental wellbeing. Mindwell is a user-friendly website that has resources, videos and the latest information to help people in Leeds take care of their mental health. Or Public Health England’s Every Mind Matters features relaxation audio guides, sleep tips and NHS-recommended helplines.
7/ Seek support when you need it
Sometimes things can feel very overwhelming and we just need some help. If you need support with food or medication, call the citywide helpline on 0113 378 1877, from 9am-5pm every day, or leave a voicemail any time. You’ll be matched with a local volunteer who can help.
If someone you care about is critically ill, or has died, from coronavirus, there’s a COVID-19 support line – try St Gemma’s on 0113 218 5544 or Wheatfields on 0113 203 3369. Specialist bereavement support for children is also available through Child Bereavement UK Leeds on 01133 503598, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
MindMate is a trusted Leeds-based website for children, young people and their families. It can help you explore emotional wellbeing and mental health issues, and also to access support. Another option for young people is Kooth, offering free, safe and anonymous online support. People aged 17 and older can contact Leeds Mental Wellbeing Service for mental health support. If you’re feeling desperate, the Leeds crisis card can help you work out where to go for help.
8/ Don’t go hungry (but don’t attack the snacks…)
If you’re struggling to access food for yourself or family because of money worries or self-isolation, please don’t go hungry. You can request emergency food provision by emailing email@example.com or ringing 0113 376 0330. A really useful FAQ about food in Leeds is now available, with information about general nutrition (including advice on Vitamin D), nutritional advice for pregnant women and people who are self-isolating, a guide to accessing free vitamins and food through Healthy Start, and tips on cooking and shopping well. It’s really tempting to keep raiding the cupboard, but if you’re snacking your way through lockdown, why not try swapping fatty and sugary foods for something just as yummy and healthier too? There’s some great ideas on Change4Life.
9/ Keep up the good work
Being in lockdown can feel a little like Groundhog Day. But keeping to a routine can really support good health. Some parents say it’s hard to remember teeth-cleaning without the usual daily reminders of ‘we’ll be late for school!’ For top tips, check out the Leeds Smiles website. Keeping to regular bedtimes and sitting down to eat meals together also helps with family harmony. The HENRY website offers lots of ideas for families to develop healthy routines and positive ways of connecting with each other. One favourite is the collective reward system, where all the family can ‘reward’ each other. Or how about starting a ‘memory jar’, and putting in your family memories of positive times in lockdown? It could be something to look back at together on days when you’re feeling low.
10/ New to family life? Here’s what you need to know
If all this is new to you, there’s a lot to take in! The Leeds Baby Buddy app is a great place to start – it’s designed to guide you through your pregnancy and the first six months of your baby’s life. Some pregnant women in Leeds are sharing their anxieties and the coping strategies they’ve found helpful at https://nestleeds.co.uk. Or connect with other mums in Leeds via Mummy Buddy. For midwife advice about coronavirus, information on service changes and general support during pregnancy there’s a NHS Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust helpline: 07464 907 978.
Breastfeeding support is still available too. Contact the infant feeding midwives on 0113 2065367 or for peer support you can text or call Cath on 0784 333 9574 or Suzanne on 0795 6077800.
And if you’re feeling overwhelmed, Mindwell has produced this useful guide on how to access support with your mental health when you’re pregnant.
You can also contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request hard copies of the leaflet, which will be available in certain parts of the city.
Read our ultimate Guidance, activities and creative ideas for families during COVID-19 here >
Stay active at home with the family by taking part in some fun activities here >