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Family Health MOT

COVID-19 has changed life for everyone. We know that eating well, getting enough rest, being active and looking after our mental health is important to help us cope and enjoy life. It can be hard to keep on top of these things when life feels tough.

The routines and activities of our day have changed since COVID-19. Your family may have started new healthy habits during this time, you may have also let some things slip too. As the weeks have gone by we are all beginning to realise that this new way of life is going to be around for a while. You may feel ready to make some lifestyle changes.

Sometimes it can be hard to know where to start. It might feel a lot to do – but it is ok to take your time and decide with your family what you think will help you most.

Have a look at our Healthy Lifestyles MOT to get information on the positive choices you want to make for yourself and your family.

  • Some of your family’s health checks may have been postponed because of the COVID-19 crisis. Services are gradually finding new ways to carry out and catch up with routine appointments. You don’t need to wait to hear from a service if you have a worry. You can contact them and see how they are able to help during the COVID-19 outbreak.

    Vision and Hearing Tests 

    Children usually have a vision and hearing test in school during Reception year. These have not been possible because of lockdown.

    *Click here* to find out about signs that may mean your child has a hearing difficulty.

    *Click here* to find out about signs that may mean your child has a vision difficulty.

    If you have any worries about your child’s vision or hearing it is important to get these checked via the opticians or your GP. You can call Just One Number to discuss your concerns.

  • National Child Measurement Programme

    Usually in Norfolk children are weighed and measured at school in Reception and Year 6. You can find out more about this *here*. COVID-19 means this is not currently happening.

    Check Your Child's Height and Weight at Home

    You can weigh and measure your child at home - find out how to do this accurately *here*. If you have any concerns about your child’s growth you can call Just One Number. A health professional will be able to discuss this with you.

  • During this time, you may have found it harder to eat well and to choose foods that you know are better for you and your family.

    You may have found you have been using food to help you manage or cope in difficult situations;

    • Sometimes we use food to reward and comfort ourselves.
    • We can eat when we are bored or need distracting.
    • As parents we can use it as a way of showing love to our families.

    The foods we choose for ourselves and our children can make a big difference to how healthy we are physically and mentally.

    Some food and drinks are more likely to be seen as a ‘treat’ and they often contain a lot of sugars, salt and saturated fats. This is ok occasionally but if it is happening every day it can make it harder to change and is likely to lead to low energy levels and weight gain. 

    You might want to look at your eating habits during lockdown. There may be some small changes you would like to make.

    *Click here* for more information about enjoying a healthier diet together.

  • COVID-19 lockdown has reduced the amount of activity that happens in everyday life for a lot of people. We have stayed home more and may have not been able to continue with some of the activities we enjoy.

    Children have not been at school and have not been able to get out and play as much as usual. It is very likely that your family have been spending much more time in front of a screen too. You may be worried how all this is affecting your family’s fitness levels.

    Sometimes, the less we move the less we feel like moving - getting out and about every day when you can will help emotional and physical health, even if it's just 10 minutes at a time.

    If your goal is for you and your family to be more active we have lots of tips and information; *click here* to visit our ‘Move more’ pages.

    If you are having to self-isolate or shield there are ways to be active in your home and garden *here*.

  • Getting enough rest is important for everyone. We need to get enough sleep for our mental and physical health. It is normal for everyone, grown ups and children, to have times when getting to sleep or staying asleep is harder. This can be for any number of reasons. 

    Changes to routines, worries and stress have affected a lot of us during lockdown. It is not surprising if this has affected our sleep patterns too.

    Maybe you have been much more flexible about bedtime routines and the pattern of the day whilst the children have been out of school and usual activities have been on hold.

    You might have noticed that this has affected the behaviour and mood of everyone. Getting back to better sleep patterns can make family life easier during stressful times. *Click Here* for tips and information about sleep. 

  • Children and grown ups all benefit from structure and knowing what to expect from their day. Usually work, school and nursery help with this. The coronavirus has changed that for a lot of us. When things are unsettling and we have worries, children especially, benefit from keeping as many of the rules and patterns to their lives as is possible.

    Getting up and going to bed and eating at regular times, help children feel more able to cope with other changes that might be happening. Children and young people feel safer knowing that mums and dads are still in charge; even if they sometimes make a fuss about it. Having a few family rules about behaviour and things like screen time give a clear message that family life is still the same and can be relied on. 

    Getting ready to go back to school might be causing you and your children some anxiety after such along time away from school. *Click here* to take a look at our ‘getting back to school routines’ page.

  • Everyone has been affected by the COVID-19. Some people will have found the changes and worries it has caused easier to deal with than others. Resilience gives us the inner strength to believe we can get through hard times. We can learn how to be more resilient. This is useful for the challenges that life will sometimes bring to everyone.

    Maybe you feel you and your family would benefit from becoming more resilient. *Click here* for some ideas on how to help build resilience.

  • Some children and young people have more confidence and self esteem than others. Being away from school and friends will have made some people feel anxious and worried about getting back to more normal life. They may not have been in touch much with friends and worry about fitting back in.

    *Click here* for information and advice about how to help your child feel more confident.

  • Family life can be stressful at times. The coronavirus outbreak may have put a strain on you and your family. Families have had to spend a lot of time together. Many people are having to cope with home schooling and work, money and health worries.

    It is important to take care of yourself when dealing with big challenges. You and your children will all benefit when you find ways to manage your stress healthily. *Click here* to take a look at our page about coping with stress.

  • If you are a smoker you may have found that the coronavirus lockdown has given you time to think about quitting.

    • Stopping smoking is one of the most positive steps you can take for the health of you and your family.
    • It will reduce the risks of being made seriously ill with COVID-19.
    • It will save you money.
    • It will set a good example for your children (children of smokers are more likely to smoke themselves).

    *Click here* for more information about stopping smoking. 

    If you or someone in your family would like support and advice to help you to quit contact Smokefree Norfolk. The service is still available during the COVID- 19 outbreak.

Making Changes

Deciding that you want to make a change is the most important step. It has not been an easy time and it might take a while to get all the family on board with the positive changes you hope for.

Choose one thing at a time to focus on and make a start. Watch the video below and *Click here* for advice about how to make changes.  

 

Who Can Help?

You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

If you are 11-19 you can text ChatHealth on 07480635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.

You can speak to other Norfolk parents and carers by clicking our online community forum below. 

      

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