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Covid-19 Primary Care Resources

Helping families manage challenging behaviour during the Covid-19 lockdown

Experts provide guidance for GPs and for families

This information is sourced from the Association of Child Mental Health (ACAMH):

The closure of schools and restrictions on movement mean that many families face enormous challenges. Bored children with excess energy not burned off at school, are more likely to play up and cause disruption within the family.

The necessity for parents to home school, or ensure that their child is completing assigned schoolwork at home, is a significant challenge for all parents

Frustrated and worried parents may over-react to these challenges

Very quickly these sorts of behaviours can escalate into repetitive cycles within families leading to the breakdown of relationships and exacerbation of problems

Experts provide eight simple messages designed to provide a pathway to more confident and effective parenting that will help to reduce conflict and promote good behaviour. Themes summarised below, please see link for full information:

  • Message 1: Parents need to keep things in perspective and stay positive; parenting is a real challenge and nobody is perfect
  • Message 2: Every family needs clear house-rules; these give children a sense of confidence in their surroundings
  • Message 3: Children who feel confident in themselves/ their place in the family are less likely to misbehave; parents can promote this with praise and encouragement
  • Message 4: Good parent-child communication (clear/calm/respectful) is the foundation to better child behaviour
  • Message 5: Using rewards selectively can help parents encourage better behaviour in their children
  • Message 6: Common-sense strategies can limit parent-child conflict (not setting too many difficult tasks, using humour/distractions)
  • Message 7: Parents can be helped to avoid over-reacting to children’s misbehaviour (eg take a breath/count to 10/walk away)
  • Message 8: Sanctions, used as a last resort, can be put in place to encourage children to follow rules