Resources and information to help you cope with being back in lockdown

Let's get through this together

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Hello TFP readers and Happy New Year to you all. First off, I’m sorry that this week’s newsletter didn’t go out as planned on Monday. I had a new issue all written out and ready to post, but after the new lockdown news here in the UK, the tone didn’t seem quite right and I thought some more practical resources and advice would be more helpful to you all right now.

So this morning, my fantastic intern Jess and I have been trawling the internet for the advice and resources that we think will be of most benefit to you. For those of you with school-age children, you’re probably reading this while also trying to home school and continue with your work. Or you may have decided to take your young child out of nursery, or perhaps are pregnant and worried about whether you should get vaccinated or not. Rest assured we’ve thought about all of these scenarios and have looked for the most up-to-date and reliable information. (I’m well aware that some of my readers are further afield, so apologies that this is very UK-centric. Hopefully, you’ll find some of the resources helpful).

So without further ado, here are some links and resources that may help to answer some of your most pressing questions. The new update from the Early Years Alliance about the reasoning for keeping nurseries and childminders open, for example, has personally really helped to settle my worries. I hope this helps alleviate some anxiety for you too.

If you think there’s anything we’ve missed or would be helpful for TFP readers to know, please feel free to share by replying to this newsletter. I’ll pass on through The Freelance Parent Facebook group.

Questions and answers

Why are early years settings and nurseries allowed to stay open when schools are closed?

A lot of parents are, understandably, confused about nurseries being allowed to open when schools are closing. The Early Years Alliance asked the Department of Education for justification. Their reasons include: 

  • 0-5 year olds continue to have the lowest confirmed rates of coronavirus of all age groups.

  • Public Health England advise that the risk of transmission and infection in early years settings continues to be low if the systems of controls are followed. 

  • Since they re-opened on the 1st of June, there has been no evidence that early years settings contribute to rising virus cases in the community. 

You can read their full response here. Hopefully this will put your mind at ease if you are concerned about sending your child back to nursery.

Am I still allowed a childcare or support bubble?

Yes. Childcare bubbles are still allowed. This is particularly good news for non-key workers who still need to work but have non-nursery age children! Support bubbles are also still allowed for single-parent households.

The new lockdown rules now mean my freelance work will suffer as an impact. Is there any financial help available for me?

Here is a breakdown from MoneySavingExpert on furlough for the self employed and help for small limited companies. You may be able to claim a grant through the government's Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

Lockdown with young children is tough and lonely, can I still meet up with a friend outside?

Children under the age of five don’t count in the headcount for the guidance of meeting up with one other person outside of your household for exercise. So if you want to meet up outside with a fellow mum/dad and their little ones (under age 5), you can - just as long as you don’t travel too far from where you live.

I have no choice but to work with my kids at home. Any tips for working in a hectic environment or in condensed periods of time?

For single parents, working with background noise and multi-tasking through the day is a way of life in lockdown. But, if you do have a partner and manage to split childcare, use every minute of your time wisely. 

The app Forest can help you maintain some discipline and stay off social media and email for an allotted time. The app allows you to plant a ‘virtual tree’ before you start and you must stay on the app while you work. If you pick up your phone and switch to another app (we’re all guilty of ‘doom-scrolling’ while we should be working), the tree dies. This can really help you make the most of the little time you may have.

Other key info for parents in general:

  • If you are an employee and cannot work due to school closures, you are eligible to apply for ‘furlough for childcare reasons’, although your employer can refuse this. 

  • If you don’t feel that it’s safe for you to go to work, Government guidance for pregnant employees can be found here

  • This is a helpful guide for pregnant women who are unsure whether they should have the Covid-19 vaccine or not. It has plenty of up-to-date facts that can help you make a considered decision that’s right for you personally.

  • Worried about keeping your baby safe and healthy? Head here for some great tips on coronavirus and caring for your baby from The Lullaby Trust

As always, Pregnant Then Screwed have pulled together some great info for parents regarding the new lockdown and you can read them all in detail here.

Educational resources to help with home-schooling

If you’re currently faced with juggling work and home-schooling again, the prospect probably feels extremely daunting. Here are a few TV and online resources which may help:

  • The BBC are expanding their educational shows to help kids who are missing out on education due to lockdown. They are even showing programmes which tie in to the GCSE curriculum for students who have their all-important exams in the years ahead. Read the full article here for details.

  • Of course, the old trusty BBC Bitesize is still available and is a great resource for learning and revision. 

  • Joe Wicks is returning with his amazing ‘PE with Joe’ sessions this lockdown! Live on his youtube channel at 9am every weekday.

  • LearnEnglish Kids by the British Council has great online learning resources available for kids to practice their english from home.

  • The website Cool Math 4 Kids is full of fun little games for kids to practice their maths skills.

Stay safe, well and please drop a post on the Facebook group if you want to connect with other freelance parents for advice or just a bit of camaraderie. I hope this week goes well for you all.

If you found this newsletter helpful, please feel free to forward on to anyone else that might need it. You can also show your thanks by buying me a virtual coffee here.

Until next time…

Cat x