Calming Children’s Fears During Movement Control

Calming Children’s Fears During Movement Control

May 6, 2020

By Leigh Brannigan

As the current Year 2 teacher and Head of Teaching and Learning in MIS Primary, Leigh monitors and speaks with children each day as she conducts online learning and video conferences through Google Classroom and Google Meet. Having worked with children in the UK from a variety of backgrounds, working with external agencies, Leigh has supported children who experience anxiety and difficulties in managing their emotions. She is extremely aware of the fact that many children are having to find new ways to navigate their learning and emotional wellbeing and she has drawn upon the support she has received from contacts across the world.

During this time of COVID-19 and the Movement Control Order, parents are finding ways to cope and to manage life under restrictions. For many reasons, it is challenging and, at times, extremely stressful. Many are also experiencing the impact that anxiety and confusion can have on children. They may wonder how they can help to support and calm their children.

Children have experienced school closures, separation from friends and family members. Children deal with their emotions in a variety of ways, but all children will feel the need for reassurance and stability at this time. 


Here are some ways that parents can show their love and support at this time:

1. Make the child understand what is happening

Explain calmly what is happening and the importance of knowing how to keep safe.

Children can feel confused. Their whole life has changed, they may not fully understand why. It is helpful to explain calmly what is going on. We want to protect children but they should understand all of the ways that they can keep themselves healthy. They are able to understand that washing their hands carefully and staying at home, not only protects themselves, but allows them to help keep their community safe. Children like to contribute and giving them a focus, also gives them a purpose and a sense of control over the situation. 

2. Schedule and plan the activities 

Children should have a structure to their day. They need to know what to expect. They should be involved in planning this schedule, which may include learning, mealtimes, chores and time for play. There should be technology-free time. The structure will look different for each family and that is ok, the important thing is that children know what to expect each day. Allowing a child to help plan this daily schedule helps them to take ownership of their day.

3. Allow children to feel and express their emotions.

Children are sad about missing events, missing their friends, missing family members. They are confused, they are even bored at times. Let them feel these emotions and talk about them when and if they want to. Don’t be afraid to let them know that you also have emotions, while at the same time, letting them know that you are there to support and care for them. Of course, children listen and absorb the behaviours of the adults around them. As a parent, it is vitally important to be aware of your own behaviours around the children. Of course, it is normal to feel anxiety and uncertainty, but what we should not do is overshare those fears with the children. More than ever, they need us to make them feel safe and secure. 

4. Arrange interesting activities which can distract their attention.

The school is offering, in addition to online learning, activities and challenges for students, to give them a focus and outlet for their creative energy. There are many resources available at the moment which can help to provide some active time or even relaxation and calm.  This article includes some examples of activities that are enjoyable and do not involve screen time, as we are aware that much of the learning time at the present moment requires a large amount of time online. 

Follow or create your own activity schedule:

Here are other interesting resources for parents to jump on to learn a new thing or use it as engagement tools with the kids:

1. E-Books

Stay Home Superheroes e-book

2. Resources and References for parents

The anxious child – a booklet for parents and carers

Keeping your cool: advice for parents on managing stress and anger

Living with worry and anxiety amidst global uncertainty 

Kids have stress too

3. Mindful colouring for adults and children

Mindful Coloring – Adults

MINDFUL COLOURING – Young People and children

4. ThinkNinja – an app for young people from 10 – 18 years old.

Thinking Traps Video – ThinkNinja

ThinkNinja – App for young people 

*Free during Covid-19 period, designed for  10-18year olds.

Leigh Brannigan comes from Scotland and is the Head of Teaching and Learning in MIS Primary. She holds a Bachelor of Education in Primary Education with 6 years of teaching experience in the UK and Malaysia. Leigh is one of the supportive and active teachers and has been with Matrix Global Schools for nearly 3 years.