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Children share experiences of shielding during lockdown in guidance from psychologists

04 August 2020

Children and parents have shared their first-hand experiences of shielding during the Coronavirus pandemic as part of new guidance from the BPS.

The guidance is specifically written for those children who have been shielding, or in shielding families, now that it is easing.

It aims to support the psychological wellbeing of children who remain vulnerable due to a health condition (or who live in households where someone else is clinically extremely vulnerable).

Common themes which emerged including feelings of anxiety, the disruption of routines, and a feeling of ‘unfairness’ about having to shield when friends didn’t.

There were also positive experiences, with parents cherishing the time spent with their children, the benefit of attending fewer medical appointments, and understanding the need to prioritise their own health.

Dr Kim O’Connor, member of the Division of Educational and Child Psychology, who worked on the guidance, said:

“What is important to stress is that the feelings of uncertainty and anxiety children may be experiencing are completely normal.

As guidelines change, children may suffer conflicted feelings, excited to settle into a more ‘normal’ routine, but anxious about the risks.

We’re here to support children and families as they continue to shield, or return to some form of ‘normality’.”

Children are encouraged to speak to someone they trust about their thoughts and feelings and to create a routine they can stick to, which includes things they enjoy and feel passionate about, as well as gentle exercise or time outdoors.

Maintaining contact with key adults and friends is important and, if possible, children should stay in touch with friends they would share regular activities with, like a sports team or group.

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