OPINION: How we're helping children to be generation not defined by Covid

Father walking children to school

The NSPCC and Childline are taking steps to ensure that today's children are happy and free of pandemic-related stress - Credit: Getty Images

With children now back at school, it remains vital that we are still here to support those who are struggling with the impact that the pandemic has had on us all.  

We know that many children are pleased to be back at school as it gives them the chance to catch up and see friends face-to-face again, but others could be finding it difficult to be back for many reasons, including worries about being bullied or not being able to keep up with schoolwork.

This is why it is essential that these children get the support they need and do not become the generation defined by Covid but are the generation who thrive despite the pandemic.

To help us to be here for children and to remind children that Childline, with our counsellors, moderated message boards and resources is a vital source of support that they can turn to, we are asking schools across the country to get involved in the NSPCC’s Number Day.

This is an annual fundraising event in aid of the NSPCC that is based around fun maths activities that can take place in primary and secondary schools across the country - and this year it’s happening on Friday, May 7.

To take part in the day, schools can sign up to enjoy puzzles, games and challenges, which can take place in Covid-secure class bubbles whilst they raise vital funds.  

The activities differ dependant on what key stage class it is for.

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Teachers will also be provided with resources including class lesson plans and online safety quizzes, which are suitable for children of all ages.

We have also included some fundraising tips to help pupils raise money and the packs include useful resources to help with promotion of the day around the school.

We’re going the extra mile this year by introducing a new game called Buddy’s Key Challenge.

Buddy is our friendly speech bubble mascot who visits schools as part of our Speak out, Stay safe assemblies.

Pupils can complete maths puzzles to create a key, which can then unlock a door so Buddy can visit their school.

After such a momentous year for all of us, but especially for children who have unfortunately been the hidden victims of this pandemic, we hope Number Day will provide children and teachers a fun-filled educational day to look forward to.

All of this activity planned for Number Day will enable the Childline service to continue to be there for children.

We have heard from thousands of children who have found this last year very difficult with many feeling overwhelmed from home schooling and struggling to access their learning due to a lack of technology.

As well as missing friends and family many have also seen their mental health deteriorate with our Childline counsellors delivering over 61,000 counselling sessions on mental health alone from April 2020 – January 2021.

One particular part of our Childline website has proved particularly popular, and that is the Calm Zone, an ideal place to find mindfulness activities to help them manage any overwhelming emotions that they may have.

It is vital that our children feel heard and understood.

As parents we like to think that our children will always come to us with their worries but for some children, for whatever reason, that isn’t always an option. Childline is here and the money raised from Number Day will help the NSPCC in its mission to make 2021 a better year for children.

To sign up, visit the NSPCC’s website at www.nspcc.org and search for Number Day and fill in the school’s details using the registration form.

We also encourage all those schools interested in taking part to remind their pupils that if there is anything that is worrying or upsetting them that Childline is here and that no worry is ever too small.

Children can call Childline on 0800 111 or visit childline.org.uk.

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