Supporting you and your Family during the Winter Months

Photo of a pond in winter

Working whilst taking care of family can be a daunting prospect and finding ways to keep children occupied during the winter months when your usual sources of support may not be available can present another challenge for busy parents.

These are extraordinary circumstances and the expectation is that you should do what you can, when you can. You may need to take a flexible and pragmatic approach as to how you balance your work and home life depending on your personal circumstances.

Do also make use of your annual leave and take breaks to have some time together as a family, it is important that we all take time out from work, especially given the pressures caused by the current situation.

Below we have collated some useful sources of information on activity ideas, homeschooling resources and support, both within the University and the Sheffield area, to help support you and your family during the winter months.

Supporting Children Going Back to School

Many children may be excited at the prospect of going back to school and being able to see their friends again. However, others young people be worried or feel nervous, and it will be a big transition for all. The below resources may be useful for supporting your child's wellbeing:

  • YoungMind's tips for supporting a young person returning to school after lockdown
  • The Mental Health Foundation tips for parents and caregivers on preparing your child to return to school
  • NSPCC advice for supporting children's mental health when transitioning back to school

Child drawing on paper

Winter Activity Ideas

Department for Education - My Activity Passport

My Activity Passport developed by the Department for Education is an editable activity checklist for children under 11. Although social distancing may mean some activities are not currently feasible, you can tailor the remaining activities to suit your child and their interests.

Twinkl - Home Learning Hub

This Hub provides a new set of free, daily activities for every day of the week for children up to 16 that you can access and download whenever you need inspiration.

Woodland Trust - Lockdown Activities for Kids in Winter

The Woodland Trust have put together some ideas to help your family discover nature on your doorstep during lockdown and over the coming months.

Save the Children

Save the Children have put together some ideas to help children get creative and fire up their imaginations while they’re at home.

Graves Park Animal Farm

Graves Park Animal Farm are regularly going 'live' on their Facebook page with videos of the animals and opportunities to ask questions with the farmers.

photo of 2 children playing in snow

Managing Children’s Wellbeing

  • Family Wellbeing Resources - these pages contain information and advice about keeping your family well during the Coronavirus outbreak and beyond.
  • Young Minds have lots of advice, tools and guidance for supporting your child through the Coronavirus pandemic, including a Parent to Parent Advice Guide and a parent helpline.
  • Action for Children have pulled together lots of practical advice on family life and homeschooling including tips for helping your family to cope emotionally with the pandemic and for dealing with parental guilt.

Homeschooling Support

Please check out the sites and links for home learning ideas shared by Sheffield City Council below.

These are not to replace any remote learning put in place by your school but are to provide some extra help should you need it.

Primary age groups
  • BBC Bitesize Primary - ages 3-11
  • Oak National Academy - video lessons in various curriculum linked subjects
  • Oxford Owl - games, advice, educational resources and free eBooks to support children's learning
  • Big Eyed Owl - ideas, resources and information for parents and carers of children aged 5-7
  • BBC Teach - resources for primary school children organised by subject and age group
  • Top Marks - links to articles and games for a variety of subjects
  • Classroom Secrets - free curriculum linked home learning pack downloads
  • TTS - free home learning downloads
Secondary age groups
  • BBC Bitesize Secondary - ages 11-16
  • Oak National Academy - video lessons in various curriculum linked subjects
  • Ted Ed - videos on school subjects and more including social skills, good mental health and information for adults
  • BBC Teach - resources for secondary school children organised by subject and age group
  • Top Marks - links to articles and games for a variety of subjects for children aged 11-14 years
Sites with mixed ages and subjects
  • Sheffield Library - you can apply to join the library for free and then use the e-library during lockdown
  • Sheffield Music Hub - music related YouTube videos to help children learn, play and sing
  • Museums Sheffield - view online collections, photos and other information
  • BBC Teach - free curriculum-mapped videos, arranged by age-group and subject
  • Ted Ed - videos on school subjects and more including social skills, good mental health and information for adults
  • Twinkl Home Learning Hub - the Hub contains a set of free activities for you and your child and is updated daily
  • HSBC Financial Education - resources to help young people of all ages to learn about money
  • DK Find Out - activities and information on a range of subjects including computer coding, dinosaurs and the human body
  • Think! Road Safety - road safety teaching resources for children
  • Fuse School - free animated science and maths videos
  • Book Trust - various reading activities and help finding books that will interest your children
  • The School Run - free English and maths worksheets
  • ICT games - Maths and English games created by a teacher
  • British Council LearnEnglish - free resources on LearnEnglish to help you make progress and improve your language skills
  • Poetry Zone - a site that publishes children's poems
Science and Technology
  • Dr Chris & Dr Xand (from Operation Ouch) Mon-Fri, 2.30pm live science shows on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube
  • Natural History Museum - ideas for learning and resources to support self-led trails around the Museum
  • Science Museum - learning resources and activities
  • Let's Go - YouTube science with Maddie & Greg
  • Wildlife Watch - wildlife activities and information
  • Blockly Games - basic coding games and exercises
Art and Cooking

University Support

The Parents Network

The Parents Network is a support community for parents at our University.

Find out more information, including support and resources for parents and carers working from home and looking after children here.

Employers for Carers

In line with our commitment to provide support for staff who need to balance their working commitments and careers with caring responsibilities outside of work, our University became members of Employers for Carers, Carers UK's business forum, in January 2020.

More information is available here.

Staff Helpline - 0800 028 1947

The staff helpline and counselling service is provided by an independent external provider, Health Assured and is a means for all staff and their immediate families to access practical help, information, advice and support to address and resolve problems and issues they may be facing at home or at work.

The service is free, independent, confidential and available 24 hours a day.

More information is available here.

Government and Local Council Support

Sheffield Positive Parenting - What's On Winter 2021

The Sheffield Parent Hub is continuing to offer support to parents on a range of issues. Support can be offered over the phone or via video chat and a number of the group programmes are being run over July and August via Zoom.

Find more information on available services and download a copy of the What’s On Guide here.

Sheffield Directory

The Sheffield Directory is an online portal for children and family services, events, activities and childcare in the Sheffield area.

Childcare Bubbles

The gorvernment have collated some guidance on forming a childcare bubble with another household here. Childcare bubbles are seperate to support bubbles. You can find government guidance on support bubbles here.