Covid-19: Information for families

family together on bed

Early years providers remain open during third national lockdown

Registered early years providers will be allowed to remain open during England's third national lockdown, Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed during an address to the nation on 4 January 2021.

Guidance released by the government states:

There are several ways that parents and carers can continue to access childcare:

  • Early years settings (including nurseries and childminders) remain open
  • Vulnerable children and children of critical workers can continue to use registered childcare, childminders and other childcare activities (including wraparound care)
  • Parents are able to form a childcare bubble with one other household for the purposes of informal childcare, where the child is under 14. This is mainly to enable parents to work, and must not be used to enable social contact between adults
  •  Some households will also be able to benefit from being in a support bubble
  • Nannies will be able to continue to provide services, including in the home.

The Alliance will continue to chase for clarity on whether baby and toddler groups can still operate.

Childcare bubbles - what are the rules?

Childcare and support bubbles can remain in place during the latest January/February lockdown.

But exactly what is a childcare and support bubble and who is eligible to form one?

Read our article and find out

Parent survey reveals toll of lockdown on work life and mental health

More than 2,000 parents completed our survey about working at home and access to childcare. The survey shows many parents felt unsupported by the government during lockdown while others have had difficulties accessing childcare since the easing of lockdown which in some cases has negatively affected their mental health.

Read the full story...

Support for families continues until October 

The government has extended flexibility in the 30 hours & Tax-Free Childcare offers to ensure that parents retain access to the schemes even if their income temporarily drops below the threshold until 31 October 2020.

Read the full story

A special message for parents from the NHS

With the current Covid-19 crisis, many parents - understandably - may be unsure or even reluctant to seek medical advice if their child has had an accident or is feeling unwell, with non-Coronavirus related sypmtoms.

And news reports suggest children are being put at risk from other illnesses or injury because parents don't want to bother their GP, are confused about whether to call 111 or 999 or are simply unable to access any medical assistance at all.

The NHS has therefore issued a special message for parents with more details of when it is appropriate to seek various medical services for your child to try and make the situation clearer for parents and carers and to help allay any fears.

Read more here

The Early Years Alliance on YouTube

Check out our Family Sessions playlist on YouTube where we have more than 100 story and rhyme time and activity videos for the whole family to enjoy.

View the playlist

How to talk to children about Covid-19

It is inevitable even very young children will pick up on the levels of anxiety around them about the coronavirus, even if they do not fully understand the context of the situation.

Therefore, it is important you respond to any concerns that children express in a sensitive and age-appropriate manner. Thankfully there are plenty of resources now available to help parents navigate this area. Here are just a few of them:

Coronavirus: A book for children - illustrated by Axel Sheffler

Family Corner article - Talking to children about coronavirus

Early Years Story Box - A free story book and activities to help your child through coronavirus

The Children's Commissioner - Children's guide to coronavirus

The Guardian - Three experts share advice on what to tell children

Useful links

What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

Guidance for parents and carers of children attending out-of-school settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

Guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic