Covid-19: Information for families

family together on bed

Childcare bubbles - what are the rules?

With the country now in a second lockdown until December, we are once again getting to grips with a bunch of new rules.

Thankfully schools, early years settings and childminder settings are remaining open. But what about informal childcare arrangements?

What is still allowed?

Read our article and find out

Updated guidance for parents and families about return to school in September

The government has updated guidance for parents of children returning to childcare and school this autumn.

The updated guidance includes:

  • updated information on travelling to and from nursery, childminders and school
  • updated information on education, health and care (EHC) plans, wellbeing and online safety
  • updated information about assessments
  • updated information on face coverings.

You can read the guidance here: What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges in the autumn term

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

Government releases new guidance for parents and carers of children attending holiday and after-school clubs

This guidance is for parents and carers and covers changes to after-school clubs, holiday clubs, tuition, community activities and other out-of-school settings for children and young people during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Read the guidance here

Under 5s to be tested for coronavirus if they show symptoms

Coronavirus testing has been extended to children aged under five as of today. Health secretary Matt Hancock made the announcement saying that from Thursday 28 May "we are expanding eligibility for testing to include the under-fives, so that now every single person who has symptoms of coronavirus can get a test, no matter their age.”

The announcement is part of a wider expansion of the government’s ‘track and trace’ system being rolled out ahead of childcare and some school provision opening on 1 June.

Under the voluntary programme, anyone with one or more of the symptoms of coronavirus should self-isolate immediately and book at test on the NHS website or by calling NHS 111.

Those who test positive will be contacted by the NHS test and trace service within 24 hours to establish who they have been in contact with and could have infected.

Anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive will be contacted and asked to self-isolate, even if they do not have symptoms.

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 in the autumn term

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

Opening schools and educational settings to more pupils from 1 June: guidance for parents and carers

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