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Staying at home with children during coronavirus

We know it isn't easy if you need to stay at home and self-isolate. But there are things you can do to make it a little better.

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 aged 5 or over 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 who tested positive must self-isolate for 10 days from when their symptoms started or from the date of their test, if they don’t have symptoms. Everyone else in the household should also isolate and book a test. If the result is positive, they must self-isolate for 10 days from when they took the test. If the result is negative, they may only leave self-isolation if they remain free of symptoms and are fully vaccinated, with at least 14 days since the second dose of the vaccine. They can also leave self-isolation if they’re aged 5-17 and test negative and remain symptom free. If anyone develops symptoms after receiving a negative results, they must self-isolate and book another PCR test. Children under the age of 5 who are close contacts are also encouraged to take a PCR test, but we understand that children under this age find it more difficult to tolerate the test. However they must take a test if they display any of the symptoms of the virus.
  • 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 should self-isolate and book a PCR test straightaway, even if you don’t have any symptoms (see 'What if I've been in close contact with someone with symptoms?' below).

If you're not sure, this guide from NHS Inform can help you work out when you need to self-isolate and for how long.

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.

If you’ve been told to self-isolate by Test and Protect, you may be eligible for a Self-Isolation Support Grant

You may also need to quarantine if you’ve been abroad. You can find out more on the Scottish Government website.

What happens about school if my child needs to self-isolate?

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.

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