Ideas for parents and carers


01 November 2020
image: a mum and daughter baking
We’re all finding ourselves in unusual circumstances right now and it can be hard for everyone at times. 

For children, being out of their usual routine and isolated from friends can be extremely tough. They may also be anxious about the Coronavirus situation and worried about loved ones they’re unable to visit.

If you’re a parent or carer and you don’t have the usual support network of friends and family, it can be incredibly challenging. You may have new responsibilities and are trying to establish routines without any experience or guidance on how to do this. 

At Optivo we’re here to support you in any way we can, and that includes providing ideas and useful resources to make your life a little easier during this challenging time.

Resources, information and further support

We’ve put together a range of resources that you can access. This includes support for your children and teenagers mental health and wellbeing. You’ll also find details of practical activities and educational support materials. We hope you find it useful.

If you have any suggestions or resources you’d like to share with other parents and carers please visit our Facebook page.



We’ve collated some free educational sources that may help you set a daily timetable for your children.

Online safety tips for children

Our Digital Inclusion Manager Nathalie gives her 5 top tips for keeping your kids safe online:


BBC Bitesize image: home schooling

  • A brilliant range of educational resources for every school year including a parents’ toolkit. Three new lessons added every day for every year group. Read more.

image: Brian coxScience

  • The Cosmic Shambles Network is hosting their very own Stay at Home Festival podcast where you can submit questions you’d like answered by their guests or Tweet them during the live shows. Hosted by Professor Brian Cox and Robin Ince, the podcast and videos released as part of the festival explore a wide variety of topics, and include special guests and science experiments you can try for yourself at home. Read more.
  • Great news for any fans of astronomy and space, NASA has made their image and video library available to the public. Featuring a wide assortment of content from manufacturing and inspection to life inside their spacecraft and photography of celestial bodies. With regular new uploads and an archive of images, there’s plenty to see and learn. Read more. 

image: joe wicks working outPhysical Education (P.E.)

  • Joe Wicks, also known as The Body Coach, is known for creating diet and exercise plans for people looking to get healthier. In addition to his usual paid plans and weekly home workouts on YouTube, he’s started adding free physical education (P.E.) classes to his channel at 9am each weekday. His workouts are typically aimed at people of all fitness level, but the P.E. classes are designed to cater for people of all ages, getting the whole family involved. Watch the videos.


  • ‘Countdown’ legend and math whiz, Carol Vorderman, has developed an online learning platform called The Maths Factor designed to support learning in this area. Matched to the national curriculum for children aged 4-12 years, the platform usually costs around £2 per week but is currently being offered for free to support parents and children educating at home. Read more.


  • For bedtime story time, actor, comedian and author David Walliams is releasing weekly readings of his popular children’s books in chapter batches through his website. He’s also been doing extract readings live on Instagram, and taking questions from fans, the videos of which are also available on his website or on YouTube for free. Read more.


  • Curriculum-based YouTube channel Myleene’s Music Klass offers fun music lessons for children without the need for noisy or expensive instruments. These short video lessons include learning how to read music, conducting, major versus minor key signatures, and how to make music at home using drinking glasses (adult supervision recommended!). Watch the video.


  • Former prima ballerina and Strictly Come Dancing judge, Darcy Bussell, has been getting children and adults into dance long before the lockdown with her teaching programme Diverse Dance Mix. The varied dance fitness series hosts Facebook live classes at 1:30pm each day, as well as a variety of classes available to view at your convenience on their YouTube channel. Watch the video.


  • History Hit TV with Dan Snow is a paid subscription service, however they offer a 30 day free trial that might help with the history lessons being held in homes right now. The episodes cover historical lessons starting from the ancient and classical times, right through to the information age, and cover subject matter such as military history, science and technology, and crime and punishment. Read more.
 image: Steve Backshall with an owl


  • Television outdoorsman Steve Backshall is best-known for being on BBC’s ‘Deadly 60’, but he also has his very own YouTube channel. Here, Steve is running a Live Wildlife Homeschool every Wednesday at 9:30am, where he hosts a question and answer session for those burning questions about wildlife and their habitats from children that parents might not quite be able to answer. Watch the video.
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image: a child hugging their parent

Coranavirus and your wellbeing

  • Mental health guidance and support during lockdown from mental health charity, Mind. Read more.


Image: a dad with a crying babyAnxiety support resources

Support is available from organisations such:


Self-harm support

Support is available from organisations such:


Disordered eating support

  • If you have an eating disorder, or are supporting someone who does, you might have specific worries or practical concerns to do with the illness or treatment at this time. Find guidance to the most common queries a Read more.


Transgender youth support and advice

  • Mermaids supports trans and gender diverse children, young people and their families. Their helpline is still available at this time. Read more.


Domestic abuse support

  • Free rail travel to refuges for domestic abuse victims during lock down - Read more.

image: meditation 

Mindfulness and meditation

  • Headspace's resources, exercises and videos to improve happiness and health. Headspace includes a free trial and access to articles. Read more.
  • Relax Kids offer emotional and mental wellbeing for children, relaxation classes, training and resources for parents and workers. Read more. 

General support for mental health

  • Kooth is a mental health and wellbeing online platform for young people aged 10 to 16. It’s a place to get advice, information and support 24/7. Young people can chat to a friendly qualified counsellor Monday to Friday between 12 noon and 10pm and Saturday and Sunday between 6pm and 10pm. The service is free and can be accessed at
  • Text ChatHealth for support around physical and mental health on 07520 618850. The number is monitored Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Young men’s wellbeing zoom sessions.

  • A unique online programme to help young men aged 8-12, including online coaching, activities and support. Read more.
image: a teenager on a computer

Support for residents in Sussex

  • East Sussex Community Hub - If you’re struggling to cope with the effects of Coronavirus on your family, East Sussex Community hub may be able to help. Read more.
  • Sussex Parenting Matters  Resources and support for parents in Sussex. Read more.
  • Hastings Literacy support - The Read Your Way Facebook page is jam packed with useful information that can come in handy during the lock down. Read more.
  • East Sussex Youth Service - A confidential service for young people aged 11-19 who need advice or support about the following: sexual and mental health, drugs and alcohol issues, knife crime, family and relationships. Read more.

For residents in Croydon

  • Croydon Youth Zone - Information, resources and support for young people and parents in Croydon. Read more.

Support for residents with kids in Kent

Fun and learning:
A range of fun resources are available from organisations such:

Kent based support for mental health:
  • If families or children are not sure what support is needed, then they can call the Single Point of Access (SPA) on 0300 123 4496 to talk through what information, advice and support might be appropriate.  This is also the number to call if a child needs urgent mental health support. 
  • For people of all ages needing immediate mental health support, just text the word “Kent” or “Medway” to 85258.  This is a new 24/7 text service provided by SHOUT and the Crisis Text Line as part of the Kent and Medway ‘Release the Pressure’ campaign.
  • Accessing or to learn about mental health and find tips and resources to keep emotionally healthy
  • Self-referral to the Children and Young People’s Counselling Service at
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Cooking & food

  • image: Kids making cakesParenting matters - Lots of resources to support healthy eating for children and families including their handy #MealtimeMonday tips. Read more.

  • Jamie Oliver kids cooking -  TV chef Jamie Oliver offers a specific section of child-friendly recipes on his website for parents and caregivers looking for inspiration on what might convince their children to help with dinner. Taking the opportunity at this time to encourange children to participate in meal preparation is a great way to equip them to with important life skills for their future. Read more.

  • image: a mum and son cookingCookalong - Theo Michaels is running free Instagram live sessions three times a week where you and the family can follow along with him in your own kitchen. These “cookalong” sessions are held at 4pm every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and he provides information on the ingredients you’ll need ahead of time, so you can all be cooking up a storm together. Read more.

  • Chatpatis with Latifs Inspired - this easy & simple recipe will help you to  make some tasty chapatis.  Watch the video.

  • The Y Centre YMCA in Hastings -They show us how to make potato wedges and dips. Watch the video.

  • Netherfield Pre-school - Check out their recipes for a number of sweet treats including flap jacks and cheese cake. Read more.

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Arts & crafts

Spending time crafting and creating can be relaxing and a great way to spend time with your children.

You can often get creative with items you have around the house. We’ve put together a few ideas below, but if you’ve any ideas please share them with us on Facebook.

image: a child painting
  • Crafty birthday creation - We’ll be celebrating our third birthday here at Optivo on Friday 22 May and we’ve got a ‘crafty’ activity that might be fun for the family. We want to see your birthday cards and will be sharing those we get on social media - full details here.

    Origami - The Japanese art of paper folding is a lot of fun. Watch the video.

  • NHS colouring - Get colouring for our amazing carers and stick what you do in your window for your neighbours to see. Read more. 

  • Football shirt colouring - Create and colour in your clubs kit and enter a custom design competition. Read more.

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Careers resources for 14-16 year olds

  • The East Sussex Careers Hub has put together some ideas to help you to think about your future. Read more.
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