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Staying at home with children during coronavirus

Most of us have spent much more time at home than ever this year. We have some advice to help keep you and your children happy and active during this time.

When should my family self-isolate during coronavirus?

You should isolate if ANY of the following apply to you:

  • You or anyone in your household has any of the symptoms of coronavirus. Everyone in the household should isolate until the symptomatic person/people has been tested and has received the results.
  • You or anyone in your household has tested positive for coronavirus. The person with symptoms should continue to isolate for 10 days. Everyone else in the household should also isolate for 10 days and book a test.
  • You are contacted by Test and Protect. If you are contacted by Test and Protect as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for coronavirus, you’ll also be asked to book a test, even if you don’t have any symptoms. Even if you test negative you will still need to isolate for the full 10 days, in case you become infectious after the test (unless you are exempt – you can find out more about this on the gov.scot website). If you test positive, you will need to isolate for a further 10 days from the date of your test.  

If you’re self-isolating, you shouldn’t leave your home at all. You can find out more about what to do when you’re self-isolating on the NHS Inform website.

Support is available to help you to self-isolate. You can either phone the National Coronavirus Helpline on 0800 111 4000 from Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm, or visit the NHS Inform website to find out more. 

If you’ve been told to self-isolate by Test and Protect, you may be eligible for a Self-Isolation Support Grant. On 7 December the rules for claiming this grant changed so that:

  • you can now claim if you are unable to work because one of your children has to self-isolate from school or nursery
  • you can now claim even if you don’t receive universal credit, but your local authority believes you would receive it if you applied for it.

If you're travelling from outside of the Common Travel Area, and you do not qualify under an exemption, you are required to quarantine in managed isolation for 10 days on arrival in Scotland. You can find out more on the Scottish Government website.

What happens about school?

If your family has to self-isolate you should let your child’s school know as soon as possible. The school will let you know how they can support you during this time. For example, they may send them work to be done at home, or include them in online lessons.

If schools need to close or move to a ‘blended learning’ model where not all pupils attend at the same time, they will let you know. They will have plans in place so your children can continue with their schoolwork at home. You can find out more about how to support your child if blended learning is introduced here. Our schools FAQ page has more information about school closures.

You can read our tips for helping support younger kids' and teenagers’ learning here, and we've put together some useful resources for learning at home here.

What happens about work?

If you’re able to work from home, you can find tips on how to balance this with looking after the kids here

If you’ve been told you must self-isolate because you’ve been in contact with someone with coronavirus and you can’t work from home, those who are eligible are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay. There’s more information about this on the ACAS website. You may also be eligible for a Self-Isolation Support Grant.

You can find advice on your rights if you can’t go to work on the Citizens Advice Scotland website.

Tips for making your time at home easier

Looking after yourself

There is no point pretending that self-isolation isn't difficult and frustrating. And you may feel so busy looking after everyone else that you forget to look after yourself. It’s important that you find time for you when possible, and to look after your own wellbeing.

We have some useful advice on looking after you and your child’s mental health during this time:

You can also find advice on the Mind website about coronavirus and your wellbeing.

Time to play

One of the best things you can do for your children just now is give them space to play. Playing is vitally important for their emotional development, keeps them physically healthy, and lets them make sense of the world around them.

You may feel lots of pressure to keep up with their school work and to structure their day around different activities. But giving them freedom to let their imaginations go and to free play is one of the best things for them. They may make a mess and be noisy, but playing is helping their minds and bodies grow. You can even join in!

Our page on helping children through play has more information.

Being a parent is the best job in the world, but it can also be one of the most stressful. There will be days when it all feels a little too much. To help you manage the challenges ahead, Parent Club has some tips on coping with being a parent and keeping calm with your wee one so you can build a rewarding relationship together.

Illustration of a parent getting frustrated

Illustration of a parent getting frustrated