Last week, The Duchess of Cambridge spoke to three parents, whose children attend Roe Green Junior School in Brent, about their experiences of homeschooling and parenting during the pandemic.
During the call, the group spoke about the challenges that many families are continuing to face during the third lockdown in the UK. They discussed the importance of prioritising parents’ mental wellbeing during this difficult time, and the direct connection this has to their children’s mental health.
The conversation built on some of the key issues that were raised in The Duchess’ landmark survey on the Early Years, such as parental wellbeing and loneliness. The research, which was released last November, revealed that parents struggle to prioritise their own wellbeing, in spite of the fact that 90% see parental mental health and wellbeing as being critical to a child’s development.
On the call Nicole Seidemann, a mother of four, talked about the importance of exercise to her mental wellbeing while parents Musadiq Subar and Rajana Panchani reiterated the critical value of peer support for parents during this tricky time. The group also talked about the increase in parental loneliness, which was documented by the survey as rising dramatically during the pandemic from 38% before to 63% as parents have been cut off from friends and family.
Headteacher Melissa Loosemore asked the group a series of quick fire questions such as ‘Describe parenting in a pandemic in one word’, ‘Rate your maths ability out of 10’, and ‘Who has been the greatest support to you during the pandemic?’, that drove conversations about the challenges involved in remote learning, as well as the positive side of spending more quality time with children.
The Duchess of Cambridge said: “I know how challenging it is juggling work, home life, school life and everything else that you as parents are doing, so really well done. Fingers crossed, let’s hope for the positivity as you’ve all been saying. Make sure everyone looks after themselves – it’s very hard to prioritise but it’s definitely needed now more than ever.”
Roe Green Junior School, which is where The Duchess launched her Mentally Healthy Schools programme in 2018, is currently open for children of critical workers and vulnerable children, and are providing remote learning for all its pupils at home, including a blended approach with daily online ‘Meets’, independent learning and other activities.
Launched in 2018 by The Duchess of Cambridge and The Royal Foundation in association with The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, Place2Be and Young Minds, Mentally Healthy Schools is a free and easy to use website for schools, drawing together reliable and practical resources to improve awareness, knowledge and confidence in promoting and supporting pupils’ mental health.
Wellbeing support for parents:
Top tips, useful links and expert advice to support you and your child’s wellbeing and learning in a changing world.
Tips, advice and guidance for parents on where to get support for your mental health during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
If you’re concerned about a child or young person’s mental health, you can get free, confidential advice via phone, email or webchat from the Young Minds Parents Helpline.
Information on coronavirus and your own wellbeing with tips to help yourself cope.
Mind also provides information for parents and carers of young people aged 11-18 who are worried about their child’s wellbeing here.
For mental health support and advice contact Mind’s helpline.
Text Shout to 85258.
Shout is a free 24/7 direct messaging service for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere. Trained volunteers will listen to you, help you think through how you’re feeling, and will aim to help you take the next steps towards feeling better.
Free and confidential 1:1 live chat with a qualified parenting coach – to talk about anything that supports family life, caring for children or managing your own wellbeing.
Supporting for adult family members via telephone, text, email and web chat. Volunteers provide a listening ear, answer particular parenting questions or help with guidance around more complex issues.