2020 applicants

Parents' Support Network

Our Parents' Support Network is a group of working parents with shared interests and responsibilities who offer each other informal peer support on topics, such as managing the transition back to work and the challenges of being a working parent. All parents are welcome, including parents-to-be and grandparents.

Interested in joining us?

If you'd like to join the Parents' Support Network, and receive regular updates on upcoming events, please subscribe to our mailing list.

What we do

At this current time when parents have been thrown into an unprecedented situation, there are more and more demands on our time. We want to be able to work, whilst also supporting our families both educationally and emotionally. Now, more than ever, we need to support each other to tackle what will no doubt be a challenging few months. This is exactly what the Parents Network stands for and we are proud to say that colleagues from across the University have come forward with their ideas and suggestions which may just help to lighten the load.

We are always considering new ways to bring parents and carers together - to share thoughts, experiences, stories, resources and hopefully even the odd laugh. If you have ideas or suggestions that would help you navigate these challenging times, please email them to alex@essex.ac.uk.

Let’s grow our community and make it stronger than ever in a time when we need it the most. And remember, you are not alone - we are all in this together!

Home learning resources

Thanks to your great suggestions we have been able to pull together some online resources that may be useful over the coming weeks. But this is just a beginning. We are keen to grow this list to equip you with activities that really work, and we would love to hear from you! Do you know of any exciting virtual events for children coming up? Share them with us and we will spread the word! If you have anything you would like to add to this list, please email alex@essex.ac.uk.

General

English

Science

Coding

Sport/Wellbeing/Dance

History

Maths

Art/Culture

Wildlife

Events

Networking

Whilst we cannot meet up at the moment, we have created a weekly session called Zooming Fun which aims to provide parents with an opportunity to share ideas and talk about the parenting challenges related to lockdown. Simultaneously, the session provides the children with an opportunity to meet other children and join in with activities e.g. colouring, Play-doh sculpture etc. All members of the Parents Network will be emailed on Monday of each week with the details of the next session.

Supporting your children

Lockdown has introduced a new set of challenges for families having to navigate government guidance around self-isolation and social contact. Household routines have been disrupted during the pandemic. So, at a time when our children need stability and a calm environment, how can we strike the right balance?

  • Find common ground. If appropriate, have a family discussion about the lockdown. Share concerns and agree how you can help one another to reduce stress in your household.
  • Be truthful. Try to answer questions your children have about the virus. Rumours and speculation can fuel anxiety, so try to source answers from creditable sources. Consider limiting the time spent watching or listening to news programmes, if you feel this is causing anxiety for you or other members of your family.
  • Provide a structure. Children need structure and predictability, so negotiate a routine with them (including outside time and time off-screen). Don’t worry if children aren’t keeping up with schoolwork - view the enforced break as an opportunity for some child-led, individualised learning.
  • Keep moving. There are currently lots of exercise sessions available online and you can also be creative: creating an obstacle course in the garden is one example.
  • Get things done. Accomplishing activities that are long overdue will improve wellbeing for families. Include long-avoided chores, repairs or tasks. Families should also consider things they can do together.
  • Give each other space. As well as family activities it is also important to have time set aside for yourself, to do things you enjoy and to rest.
  • Stay in touch. Make time to contact friends and family whether via Zoom or social media.

If you are you having a problem explaining the situation to your child? We hope this book and video will help with that.

Most importantly, if you are worried about your wellbeing, or that of a member of your family, seek help.

Working effectively from home

Some of us will be more experienced at working from home than others. It is natural that you may at times feel isolated, disconnected and even lonely. Some of us will be trying to balance our work with other personal and family responsibilities. However, there is a great deal that can be put in place to make working from home easier and enjoyable. There is not a one size fits all approach but our advice and guidance for staff working from home below may help you find out what works best for you.

The Parent Network and Workplace Wellbeing team have jointly created a guide for parents during lockdown, providing advice and signposting on the following areas:

  • Reducing disruption and easing pressures at home
  • Providing resources to support having a conversation with your child about the virus
  • Parent and child support services
  • Wellbeing resources

Building Resilience guidance has recently been published on the staff directory to support your wellbeing.

Wellbeing support for everyone whilst at home.

Advice for staff

We suggest you familiarise yourself with the key government guidance regarding staying at home and the Government’s guidance on social distancing. For COVID-19 related enquiries, please contact our dedicated team at covid19@essex.ac.uk. HR queries should be directed to staffing@essex.ac.uk. Questions about Coronavirus? Take a look at our guidance for staff.

Contact us
Contact us
Organisational Development
Telephone: 01206 873506