As UK households come to the end of a second week of living in lock down, new research from Save the Children finds mental health and wellbeing of their children has become a grave concern. More than half of parents (56%) are worried about their child’s mental health, and 85% of 6-18 years olds said they were upset about not seeing friends and relatives.

When asked about their biggest practical concerns with looking after their families, parents said ensuring they have food supplies (48%), helping children with schoolwork (44%) and money (38%). Other issues included job security (20%) and explaining the situation to their child (19%).

6 to 18-years-olds were most concerned about a family member becoming sick (58%), with their other main worries including food running out (25%), not being able to see friends (46%) and keeping up with school work (20%).  A fifth (20%) of children were also worried about their future now the schools have been shut indefinitely.

School closures are also meaning parents are finding themselves balancing caring for their children, working from home and being a teacher. A quarter (25%) are juggling working from home, while 17% have reduced their working hours to take care of their children. A further 12% of parents have been forced to take unpaid leave to look after their kids, while 1 in 10 have had to leave their jobs completely.

The survey comes as Save the Children launches The Coronavirus Appeal for vulnerable children affected by Coronavirus, as well as a series of initiatives throughout the UK to support those children most in need during this unprecedented time of social and economic upheaval.

The children’s charity announced a new emergency grants programme in the UK to respond to the Covid-19 crisis, which aims to reach thousands of struggling families who are feeling the economic effects of the unfolding situation most acutely.

The programme will make sure families have access to early learning resources, as well as goods like tables and beds, to help build home environments in which children can continue learn and thrive. The programme will also support vulnerable families with gifts in kind and food vouchers, to help them make ends meet.

The charity has also set up a free, online resource hub, The Den, which will provide caregivers with a range of creative resources and activities. Featuring some of the UK’s best-loved celebrities and brands, The Den has been made hand in hand with Save the Children’s early learning experts, who have used their knowledge of what works for children at different ages and stages. Resources available will include ideas for keeping children calm and connected, creative play, fitness and food activities, and a corona-free zone including stories of happiness and hope from children across the world.

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