#Resources 49: COVID-19 Psychologists preparing to work online

As we are all coming to terms to the high possibility of working from home or supporting clients needing to self-isolate, many questions have come up on professional groups and in the workplace. Additionally, the announcement in Australia of funding for Telehealth for those affected has also sparked the need for different ways of working. This is where some information is needed to be fully equipped either in terms of skills, possible issues, peer support or online professional development. I already do lots of consultations of online (webinars, group and individual supervisions) and also familiar with this mode of communication due to my global migration journey. I have been fascinated to hear about questions from colleagues so, in the last few days, I collated a number of resources, links and information which I thought would be helpful to share.

Ready to move, be prepared

A number of countries have already taken measures to be working in different ways with many self-isolated. With many school closures abroad, it will also impact on the way parents work. There is no doubt that our ways of working will change so we better be prepared rather than sorry, having all the skills, resources and support to face this challenge.

Issues to Think About

There is quite a lot to think about such as security, confidentiality, privacy, case notes, client’s participation and engagement with an online method. Equipment is vital to be able to get the technology right. Modality such as the type of therapy that can be delivered online also needs some careful thinking. Similarly not all can be done online and some clear communication with the clients may need to take place to inform them of that.

Furthermore, insurance covering and possible restrictions to working online as a psychologist need careful attention as not all is possible. For example, some insurances do not cover from work in other countries. Similarly some countries only allow work online if you are specifically registered in that country. Better check before you launch yourself in this type of work. The Australian Psychological Society (APS) is clear that it is your responsibility as a psychologist to look into all of this before committing to working in the online space.


A must: A reliable device (computer, laptop, phone, iPad), stable internet connection, video camera, videoconferencing software, headsets, etc. (see APS, guidelines).

I am familiar with Zoom and have a group and webinar subscription. It is free for one to one consultation, and groups up to 3. When a fourth person joins in to a group consultation, it is then that it starts to have a cost. Webinars need another type of subscription. I enjoy the Zoom platform for a number of reasons. It is easy to use and has a number of features that are helpful. For example it allows sharing of documents, gives you a chat room to provide links to the client and a waiting room feature. I also recently plugged in my business Google Drive an ‘add conferencing’ feature so that I can send an invite prior to the consultation with the link. It also has a whiteboard function if accessed from an ipad/pen device.

Headsets have helped on some occasions but have not been necessary all the time. With a reliable internet and device, it has not felt vital. I always put the headsets on if I am more in a listening mode such as watching a webinar or a group consultation and I have people in the house as I conscious of people overhearing what is happening online. If I am on my own in the house, I don’t necessarily put headphones on.

I was interested to hear from Dr Stephen Goss about the privacy issues with Skype who claim they can own the data and therefore the data is not yours, bringing privacy issues. In an interview the Good Enough Counsellors and Therapists, Dr Goss explained that Zoom is good and that VSEE is also great as they agree to not share information, see link below for both platforms.

Standards of Professional Practice

Working from home may feel slightly more relaxed, but it does not mean that we should reduce professional standards. Have a think about people may see in the room and also you may need to think about the privacy of the room you are working in. Similarly, working in pyjamas may not be that ideal either so thinking about what you are wearing and how this may be perceived is also important. Have a good think about whether you will be moving during the session and if so what it looks like when you get up and down from the chair. I got caught not looking my best a couple of times on the webinars I lead!

You may want to consider the lighting in the room and the sunlight depending on the time of the day so that you can be well seen without sunshine on the screen. Again I am speaking from a webinar I did where the sunshine was reflecting in the screen and no one could see what I was presenting.

It is just a word of caution and of course some flexibility will be needed along the way as both parties are working from home and there may be unexpected disruptions like the dog barking, the postman or a delivery coming at the door, etc.

Outside could also be considered for a consultation, but again with a need to be mindful as to whether you can be heard (big enough garden or not), the wind, birds and nature, although can be peaceful, can also be unpredictable. It is also being mindful about how the other person will feel if you are outside in a lovely environment and they are not. Perhaps this would need to be discussed beforehand. I am on a 2/3 of an acre and a consultation outside would be possible, but rarely happens due to logistics, shade, weather, etc.

Working With Children Online

This is an interesting area and would love to think about developing this area further in my practice. Children are now digitally native and therefore know devices, technology, etc. so this is an interesting space to work in. However, there are also a number of important considerations to be thinking about. I highlight a few here. There may be many more.

Depending on the age of the child, the ability to comprehend the reasoning behind the session, age of consent, parent in the room and also someone they know or not on a screen and not in the room needs attention. For a child to engage in a consultation online, it is important to consider their developmental stage and cognitive/language ability knowledge and this would be a must before agreeing to sessions online. Having a previous relationship, face to face, may help the child conceptualise the need for a consultation online such as needing to catch up, setting goals, seeing how things are going. It may also be of benefit to share interests and key points from a session before as it may help ground the session and guide the unusual nature of it. Similarly, a young person may need reminders about their right to confidentiality and privacy and how to implement this in their environment- private environment, no distractions, etc. Some issues about who is the client may also emerge so better having some scripts and ground rule/discussions from the onset.

An important issue here is to be able to establish whether the age and abilities of the child allows for an understanding of the purpose of a therapeutic space with a device. There are used to play games or watch something, this is what they know, they are digitally native. Does the child understand the difference between speaking to a relative online or speaking to a psychologist online? Additionally, does the child understand the concept of not being in a room at the same time as another person? For example, I have three children and my husband worked abroad, all our families were living abroad, we have had devices in the house and online chats for a long time. At some specific stages of their development like under 6 or 7 (makes sense with concrete vs abstract thinking and Piaget’s theory), they were unable to detect the other person on the other hand of the device/phone i.e. “just saying look what I have, look what I did today”…and unable to reflect about what I am doing here, how is the other person, it was more about showing what I see, what is in my world. In a therapeutic format, it may be more tricky to engage younger children knowing the stages of cognitive development, as they are in the concrete stage. This may bring the complexity of knowing how to approach a situation and communicate with a client whether it is possible to do online support or not.

What can’t be done online?

As above some support can be offered online and particularly valuable. However, not all can be done online. For example, psychoeducational or neuropsychological assessments may need lots of thinking about completing online as it required a face to face participation. Companies are working on this to me it possible, but there is little research in online test administration. As above, depending on the age of the child, it may be more difficult to engage with younger children. Clinical interviews and diagnostic assessments will also be difficult online as it is important to gain a full understating of behavioural observations and presentation, although some screeners could be done by online questionnaires. Clients should be aware of these limitations so it may be worth having some information on the topic at the ready.

It may also be worth considering rigorous risk assessment processes for online consultations and whether more acute support is needed. Consent forms, contact details, etc. should all be completed beforehand to ensure continuity of care if needed.

What Else Can be Done if Online Therapy is not Appropriate?

Not being able to see someone because of participation and engagement issues as presented above does not mean that support should stop there. Of course, referring to another service may be appropriate, but the support may also need to be slightly changed and be helpful. For example, supporting a parent struggling to understand a child’s needs may be highly beneficial. Similarly, supporting a parent who is finding it difficult to implement a home routine during a a self-isolation context may also be highly relevant. Helping drawing up a behavioural plan, an individualised learning plan, goal setting, monitoring changes, step backs and gains, eliciting views from all involved, are all part of valued and helpful support. Empowering parents and teachers that are assisting the daily routines to support a child is also part of the work of the psychologist.

Working online can be highly valuable and rewarding and offer other opportunities such as suggesting Youtube videos for mindfulness, Zones of Regulation, or Apps to follow up from a consultation. Similarly, developing group support and training programs are an interesting way forward in designing a therapeutic space, and research in this space fascinating. Evidence is emerging and will definitely continue to grow.

Self-Care for the Therapist

  • between sessions, ensure you take a break and standing up, help yourself to a drink
  • take a bigger break for lunch (I forgot a few times!)
  • ensure you have a good night sleep as listening online can be demanding
  • unwind at the end of the day with a self-care activity, a walk outside or a creative activity, depending on your interests. It can be intense to listen and contribute for a long of time so also be mindful of your wellbeing, particularly if this becomes an ongoing method of working.
  • Working online can be isolating so ensure you engage in group supervision or peer support to discuss cases, ways of working, reflections on professional practice, etc.

Maximising Time at Home for Learning, CPD and Peer support

It is possible that many of us may be required to work from home so it is also a time where one can maximise professional development. I provide below some links to online training programs for psychologists and professionals working in a helping relationship. Similarly make sure you are connected with peers for support and discussions to avoid isolation and loneliness. It is also a good time to catch up with a few things like some accounting, logbooks or building a resource library. It could also bring some new projects your way such as collaborating in writing an article, writing a book review, designing a training course or setting up a professional network group…a challenging situation bringing lots of opportunities…


There may be lots of links that I have missed. I am sure there is so much more out there. Hopefully this will give you a baseline to start preparing for the coming weeks and support you in implementing a few ways of working so that you are ready.

Additional Resources

References and Further Readings






Dr Stephen Goss, Online Therapy Institute, https://www.onlinetherapyinstitute.com/

Good Enough Counsellors and Therapists (Facebook) https://www.facebook.com/groups/goodenoughcounsellors/



Online Counselling Platform


Apps and Resources for Parents

Information on coronavirus for children- https://660919d3-b85b-43c3-a3ad-3de6a9d37099.filesusr.com/ugd/64c685_319c5acf38d34604b537ac9fae37fc80.pdf

Information for parents of how to support children though COVID19https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/helping-children-cope-with-stress-print.pdf?sfvrsn=f3a063ff_2https://www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/2020/03/17/supporting-children-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/

Information for those struggling with OCD www.ocduk.org/ocd-and-coronavirus-top-tips

General information for young people about managing their mental health www.youngminds.org.uk/blog/what-to-do-if-you-re-anxious-about-coronavirus

Information for those with sensory difficulties who struggle with handwashing https://www.sensoryintegration.org.uk/News/8821506




www.twikl – free resource for parents and teachers currently


Online Training and Peer Support



Families in Global Transition group (FIGT), Counselling and Coaching Affiliate https://www.figt.org

www.3ppsychologies.com -Child/School Psychology Resources Webinars Series 1 and 2; Global Migration Training Package; Monthly Group Supervision and Support via Facebook group; Individual Supervision for professionals working with children, families and schools, psychologists including educational and developmental psychology endorsement. Online consultations for parents and teachers are also available. To register to the Working Online Webinars Series, follow the link here

#Resources 48: Covid-19 survival tips for parents – 10 activities for home

I am reading lots of different posts and news from around the globe, and although the situation with school closures has not hit Australia yet, parents may be listening to all these news and wonder what they will do in the event. Friends and family are also in a situation of self-isolation where many schools, workplaces, activities and childcare centres are all closed and need to regroup and think about their next few weeks. I provide a few top tips with 10 activities that can be done with your children during this period of time.

The news come: 2 or 3 weeks off school, may be 6 in some areas…what to do how to organise the household? Self-isolation, what to do with that? Of course it will depend of the age of the children as to how the household is organised and activities set up, but overall there are some principles that can be implemented straight away to support a smooth transition to this way of life. Here are some preparation top tips:

  1. Setting Up a Family Meeting – calling a family meeting is important to set ground rules and expectations for the duration of this situation. Ask all to participate and look into what is their understanding of the situation, what this means and why are we doing this…it will give everyone a sense of purpose and meaning. Validate emotions as children may feel like things are not fair. Write together a poster with ground rules, decide of the ground rules together, like how many hours of devices and games for example, chores, cooking and ask everyone’s contribution to family household. Why not take this opportunity to reorganise drawers, desks, cupboards and do a clear out! or even redecorate a room, providing you have everything you need.
  2. Setting Up a Schedule – Having a calendar or a schedule outlining different activities will help create a routine and establish predictability. It can be done visually using colour coded signs, see picture above. Although not necessarily needing to be equally disperse across the day, deciding on a schedule together will help family functioning.
  3. Deciding on Different Activities – When discussing different activities, it is important to ensure that all family members’ needs are met. For younger children, this may need play and unstructured times, as for older children, it may mean learning online with structured educational activities set by the school. For parents, it may need some time to work and communicate with colleagues. Remember it is also important to allow for self-care and time for you, like putting the oxygen mask on you before someone else! What activities can we do from home? You may think it will be a long haul! Here are some ideas of different educational, cognitive and creative activities that can be done at home…

10 Activities for Home

  1. Setting Up a Den in the house or a Camp in the garden – This activity can be useful to create a safe place for children and a place they know they can have some quiet time such as reading a book, playing with little people, teddies or puppets. You can ask them to contribute to set it up with you, make decorations, put up lights and a sign. Children will find this fun and different. It can create an imaginative world for the child.
  2. Setting Up a Learning Place in the house and Do Learning Together – It is important that children feel they have an allocated space in the house where they can concentrate and focus on learning. It does not have to be a big space and can even be a shared space. It is more about how we use this space and what we do when we are learning. Setting up some ground rules for this will also be helpful. With a schedule, allocate time to learning in short and fruitful bursts, it is more about the quality and the positive experience of learning rather the quantity and speed at which we do these learning tasks. When you are noticing that learning is no longer fruitful, have a short break, a snack, a glass of water, some movement breaks. Family learning can be rich as we can all learn together and share understanding, problem-solving and information.
  3. Cooking Together – Cooking is great as it also includes literacy and numeracy tasks such as reading recipe or counting and measuring ingredients. Involving children in cooking can be fun and full of joy as they are involved in producing a tangible product at the end. You can also ask the children to finish off the cookies, cake, etc. by decorating them, lots of time can be spent on this.
  4. Puzzle, Lego, Visual-Spatial Activities – These activities tend to be calming as the brain focuses on putting things together rather than verbal or emotional demanding tasks. Offering these activities in the house will be of benefit to everyone as it will help all involved to be grounded and calm. You can leave a puzzle out of the kitchen table, put a table clothe over it and take it off when you are wanting to complete the puzzle. Lego are also such as great activity to do together.
  5. Setting Up a Fun Project – It is important to vary activities, like a carousel. We start with one and move on to the next. When activities are designed to promote different areas of development, children will find this more engaging than if it is tapping in the same type of skills so it is important to also have something creative, a fun project you will enjoy doing together. A fun project could be: making a scrapbook of different drawings, paintings, making characters out of modelling clay, picking up leaves from the garden and finding the name of the tree online, taking photographs of wildlife in the garden such as birds, animals, painting rocks with emojis on them, drawing a cartoon strip or writing a collection of short stories, inventing characters and drawing these, so many things that can be done. Some children may like the challenge of a research project in addition to work set by the school.
  6. Starting a Collection, Playing Board Games – As a child, I remember having an extensive stamp collection. We used to spend hours looking at the stamps. What about a stones, leaves, seashells collection or other collections. Board games are also a go too. Lots of literacy, numeracy and oral expression skills toe be developed with these games. Scrabble, Boggle, Scattegories are great for building literacy skills. You can make your own snake and ladder game using templates on the web.
  7. Sending Messages, Letters and Postcards to Family and Friends Abroad – Keep in touch with your social networks via different communication modes either video call or messaging. Why not take the time to write a letter or a postcards to mail at a later date. Lots of literacy and oral expression skills in these activities!
  8. Learning a New Skill Together and/or Teaching a New Skill – What an amazing opportunity to take a new hobby as a family or teach you children a skill. There are lots of youtube videos nowadays that can teach skills step by step. Learn to say words in a different language, learn how to do sewing, knitting, crochet, slime, scrapbooking, photography. If your children are older, you can design a webpage together or you can have a special projects designing cards online.
  9. Implementing Routines for Self-care and Mindfulness – It’s ok for all involved to feel this is not a normal situation. It can create some anxiety and stress to see parents, the world being particularly different. It is important to keep communicating, being transparent, responding to questions, presenting the facts as well as not bombarding with facts. Children are curious and like to find out about the world so it is a good opportunity to open their thinking by sharing information, exploring maps, countries. It is also important we are aware of our feelings and able to recognise sensations, feelings and actions. It can be helpful to open up conversations about explaining bodily sensations that are linked to feelings. Some children don’t always know the link between sensations and feelings and will call it like “I feel hurt in my tummy”. You can make a set of cards together or create a poster for a central point in the house with explanation of different calming activities. Implement some self-care activities together such as doing a calming activity together, reading a book, relaxing, watching a film. Take the time to point to your children feelings in the here and now, and describe what it feels like. For example, “I like when we are together, reading a book, it makes me feel calm”.
  10. Exercising – Don’t forget to move and for the full family to move. You can set up some an obstacle course in the garden for example. This can be done using household items like a skipping rope, bottles, a ball. Like do 10 jumps, 10 skips, 10 hoops in the basketball hoop, knock 3 bottles down, etc. You can set up a challenge and time them going through the parcours. Children can invent it, but will also need support to think about it. Fine motor skills gym trails can also be helpful such as having lots of different activities promoting finger movement like threading, developing pincer grip activities. Walking the dog, playing with an animal can also be part of the routine.

Overall, it feels like there is a lot to do! I sincerely wish you all the good luck with your time off. Enjoy a slower pace of life, perhaps it will eventually feel a much needed time to pause, reflect, regroup and slow down.


Additional Resources

#FIGT2020: Global Migration Resources, Tools and Reflections for Education, Coaching and Counselling Professionals

I will be presenting at the Families in Global Transition Conference in Bangkok in March 2020. A synopsis for the session can be found at the following link.


#Resource Diary Entry 47: #Bushfires support

It is absolutely heartbreaking what has been happening in Australia over the Christmas and New Year Period. We are with all who are needing support and recover from the devastating events.

The Australian Psychological Society School Interest Group has published a list of helpful resources including resources for children and adolescents.

Australian Psychological Society – bushfires

·   https://www.psychology.org.au/for-the-public/Psychology-topics/Disasters/Bushfires/Preparing-for-bushfires

·   https://www.psychology.org.au/for-the-public/Psychology-topics/Disasters/Bushfires/Recovering-from-bushfires

Beyond Blue – bushfires

·   https://www.beyondblue.org.au/docs/default-source/default-document-library/child-and-adolescent-bushfire-disaster-response-faqs.pdf?sfvrsn=0

Emerging Minds – Tool Kit 

·    https://emergingminds.com.au/resources/toolkits/community-trauma-toolkit/immediate/

·    https://emergingminds.com.au/resources/toolkits/community-trauma-toolkit/

Headspace – Drought

·    https://headspace.org.au/eheadspace/group-chat/coping-with-stress-from-the-drought/

Lifeline – general & drought

·    https://www.lifeline.org.au/about-lifeline/media-centre/natural-disaster-support

·    https://www.lifeline.org.au/static/uploads/files/20180815-drought-tool-kit-final-wfuzfopvpfgu.pdf

National Association of School Psychologists in the USA – bushfires

·   https://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources-and-podcasts/school-climate-safety-and-crisis/natural-disaster-resources/helping-children-after-a-wildfire-tips-for-parents-and-teachers

NALAG – drought

·   https://www.nalag.org.au/ourshout

QLD Government – general

·    https://www.childrens.health.qld.gov.au/chq/our-services/mental-health-services/qcpimh/natural-disaster-resources/storybooks/?fbclid=IwAR1mhkOQ8lRPMVdjFrifBjM8cb7wHq8e2B72qiZKil16Z_zOmUuvanL7R_0

The Australian Child & Adolescent Trauma, Loss & Grief Network – bushfires 

·    https://earlytraumagrief.anu.edu.au/resource-centre/disasters-bushfire-resources

Victorian Government – bushfires



The following link contains a social story:

Some News from 3P!

Life is always busy, but the last few months have been particularly busy with lots of exciting developments and opportunities…These are all the projects I am involved in, with many fantastic collaborators…

  • We completed this week Webinar 7 for the Child/School Psychology Resources Webinars. I have received lovely comments about how these have been helpful for participants. I am glad these are helpful. The lovely Kate joined me for a Webinar around Learning Difficulties and it was so great to share and bounce ideas together.
  • I am launching Series 2 with lots of different new topics. Don’t miss out! I will be looking for collaborators too. I have also plans for other Series.
  • I have a group supervision running monthly for qualified psychologists working in schools, early intervention programs or private practice, particularly those working with children, families and schools.
  • I continue to offer supervision for the Ed and Dev endorsement program via Zoom. The lovely Coco, my new Labradoodle, cheers up sessions and sits at my feet! Do not hesitate to contact me, should you wish to set up supervision sessions.
  • We continue to answer lots of queries at the UK/Overseas Psychologists in Australia where people are asking questions and supporting one and another about settling as a psychologist in Australia. We have over 7oo members. Although Christie and I have never met, I am so grateful for her presence and support. I may need to go up North soon for the warmth and lots of people I met up there.
  • I started a new Facebook group aiming to support psychologists experiencing global migration. You can find the group at ‘A Psych Moving Abroad’. I am starting some podcasts which will aim to capture many stories of psychologists moving abroad (https://www.facebook.com/groups/345531216361735/). We have just reached 400 members in just a few weeks.
  • Bangkok and Oxford are part of plans for the new year. I will be attending the Families in Global Transition again. I will also be presenting at a Conference in Oxford, UK, entitled ‘Children On the Move’ (https://www.bera.ac.uk/event/childhood-on-the-move).
  • Our Application to start an Affiliate in Melbourne for the Families in Global Transition (FIGT) organisation has been accepted and work is underway to launch the Affiliate. More about FIGT at this website (https://www.figt.org). I am delighted to embark this journey with the lovely Sara.
  • I have been a guest blogger for Expat Parenting Abroad and the lovely Emily.
  • I went to a talk from Brenee Brown and felt invigorated by her message of leading with vulnerability and courage. It has really helped conceptualise my presence in my new role at one of the clinic where I work.
  • Finally, I supervise a research project on girls and ASD. We have had a great response and currently analysing results. I am also collaborating on other projects around ASD.

This is all in the background whilst working in two clinics as well, supporting children and parents and supervising provisional psychologists on placement!

Very busy indeed and lots of exciting projects!

Launching Child/School psychology resources webinars series 2

Following interests and demand, we are launching Webinars Series 2. Find the topics to be discussed below. As per Series 1, webinars will be running every two weeks on Fridays 12pm. Guest speakers will also be invited to join me in presenting different resources and discussing the specific topics.

Webinar 11Consultation model and professional practice in schools
Webinar 12Parental separation and divorce
Webinar 13Social skills and friendship 
Webinar 14School refusal
Webinar 15Global migration, cross-culture issues, transitions
Webinar 16Sleeping and toileting issues
Webinar 17Trauma
Webinar 18Loss and grief 
Webinar 19Speech and language issues and selective mutism 
Webinar 20Wellbeing, strengths and resilience 

If you are interested in these webinars, email at info@3ppsychologies.com or complete the payment form in this website.

#Resource 46: hope, resilience, Playground, ability, socialisation

A lovely video about resilience, determination, hope, acceptance, ability and socialisation in playground situations…This video addresses clearly the significant challenges a child with needs face in terms of inclusion and acceptance. The emotions are vividly presented and expressed.

This video could be shown as a part of a project on respect, acceptance and inclusion. It could also be presented to teachers as part of a training workshop to elicit challenges, attitudes, support for children with needs.


As the season of holidays and travelling is coming up for the summer in the Northern Hemisphere, I thought I would share this text I wrote a few years ago (at pascaleparadis.org) about top tips when travelling with children.

Sitting on our flight Melbourne to Los Angeles (July 2016) and thought I would jot down a few points…my persistent mistakes and some helpful ideas!

It is the first time we leave Australia. We are travelling from Melbourne to Los Angeles, Los Angeles to New York, New York to Montreal…a long journey…We have done much shorter journeys over the last 13 years such as London to Montreal, but recently our migration has meant that we are much further away. We did London, Abu Dhabi, Melbourne last time, this time it is a little longer with an extra stop. We are also flying going east which means that we will live the same day twice!

Children got packing yesterday, although they were particularly excited and somehow difficult to manage, I was pretty impressed with their packing skills. I thought to myself that perhaps, over the years, I have given them some good tips and they are now able to pack without thinking about it…it has just become natural…First flights with an infant or a young child are pretty daunting, as children grow older, they learn what to expect, prepare and live on the plane, again it becomes routine…Here are some top tips, tips we have experienced over the years and feel are working well.

Involving the children in packing their bag

I have always packed the children’s cabin luggage and suitcase with them, up to the age of 8-9. Now, we are at a stage where the older two pack all their luggage alone and I check it afterwards to add any items they forgot. In the packing stage, I give them some small and measurable tasks such as “pack 7 pair of pants”. It was beautiful yesterday to see my daughter helping our 3 years old pack his cabin luggage. She knew exactly what to bring, what to think about and what he would need. Involving them means that they know what they have in their luggage for when they get on the plane and during the holiday or at their destination. This really helps them being independent.

Basic essentials in hand luggage

We have experienced a number of situations over the years, lost luggage, delayed flights, delayed or cancelled connection, children being sick on us, spilling food or drinks on us. When experiencing cancellations or delays, we had to stay in a hotel for the night until the next flight. I always pack a t-shirt, some underwear and some basic essentials in my bag and the children’s bag such as a toothbrush and under 100ml basic products so that we are prepared for different situations. I am still luggage less after four days at our destination, my extra t-shirt has been particularly welcomed!

Preparing for a carousel of activities:

Preparing for diverse activities helps when planning the cabin bags and informs my few next points. The journey can be long so the idea of having different and diverse activities helps the children feel stimulated as well as feeling they are passing time having fun. The carousel idea is that you present one activity, this activity lasts around 10-20 minutes, complete the activity when the child is still interested, but when you can see interest is going down slightly, put it away, bring another activity out. Alternate activities, re-introduce earlier activities, also include eating, toilet and self-care, sleeping.

Electronic devices such as DS, Ipad and tablets: 

We always bring these. The evolution of this technology has changed our lives. We upload some television programmes and games before travelling. This helps when waiting or for long journeys. It provides an alternative activity/station to the ones available on the flight such as movies, games on the screen, eating, sleeping.

The cabin bag: Books, a bag of little people, colouring pencils, a colouring book, a sticker book

These ‘toys’ are particularly helpful for children 2-7 years old. Many children I know absolutely love ‘sticker books’. A bag of little people also helps bringing diversity to the carousel of activities available to a more imaginative play, a very welcomed change.

Talking about the journey ahead

Reading a book about airports and planes with a young child can help them develop the language related to airports and the journey. I never tell the children (2-7 years old) too long in advance our itinerary and plan to travel so that they do not create weeks of anticipation and expectations. When they become a bit older, I tend to have it on the calendar so that they know when it comes, can prepare, ask questions. I suppose there is a transition here to be made between the younger children becoming able to talk about it and anticipate the event without too much excitement. Telling the children too much in advance make and create lots of feelings and then behaviours that are tricky to manage in the run up of the event. Really everyone wants their sleep and continue the routines as much as possible until the event. Less disruptions will help cope with the journey.

Living on a plane: Snacks, Eating, Sleeping

As my oldest two are older now, I have not thought about bringing snacks for a while. Really I should because it can take a while to be served the first meal on the plane. Really we have needed it. Some flight companies are better than others at providing child friendly foods so having a little reserve of little snacks can help complement the meals. Some sweeties and chewing gums can help children when taking off and landing. It helps stimulate the swallowing reflexes and clear their ears. Similarly, for infants, I have found it very helpful to feed (bottle or breast) them during take off and landing for the same reasons.

For late flights such as leaving Montreal at 7 to 10pm arriving in London at 7am, over the years, we decided to feed the children before we get on the plane and just completely ignore service, buckle our seatbelt over our blankets, so that we all get a night sleep straight as we get on the plane.

Our routines have changed now that we do very long haul flights. For flights to and from Australia to the Northern Hemisphere, we have found that we just need to sleep, eat and relax as much as possible. There is plenty of time to settle in the flight, watch films and sleep. It is important that the children feel relaxed as much as possible so that the journey feels pleasant enough. When they are relaxed and at ease on the flight, it helps them stay on their seat and enjoy their ‘seat environment’ instead of feeling they need to explore the plane.

Establish routines and encourage positive behaviours and manners

Children need to learn the routines of a long flight and the need to relax, take it easy. For the first few journeys, this may take a little more help by talking to them about the routines, model the routines, encourage them to observe others. Soon enough, children realise what to do. I also insist on implementing positive behaviours such as respecting other people’s seat (not kicking the seat in front of them). I also encourage them to be independent. There is not much that can happen on a place so I encourage them to go to the toilet on their own, ask for help independently if they need to.

When travelling as a family, it becomes easier to establish ‘a seat environment’ where children feel they can move, play together, invade each other’s places if needed. I remember travelling with one child on my own and being particularly conscious of disturbing others around me, with cries, or space. Now that we travel 5 of us, we tend to set up a space where the children feel comfortable. We allow them to sleep close to each other, lifting arm rests, and lying down on seats, etc. Basically, they now use the space in their own way, respecting others around, and this helps them feel settle during the flight.

As parents, we relay each other in supporting the younger children, allowing one parent to sleep. We also find it helpful to settle everyone and then sleep when the children sleep.

Encouraging observations

In airports, flights and during the journey, we encourage children to look at their surrounding, talk about what they see and observe, identify similarities and differences with previous flights and airports. We also encourage them to observe others, think about others’ behaviours so that they feel more confident about being a competent traveller. For example, in the last few flights we experienced, my daughter insisted on going to the toilet when everyone is waiting in line to exit the plane, but this created chaos as she tried to move around the aisles. We discussed best times for going to the toilet, i.e. as they announce preparation for landing, usually half an hour before landing.

The aftermath…

There is no doubt that after a long journey, there is a recovery period. Over the years, we have found that the easiest way to recover is to get into the routines of the final destination as soon as possible, such as respecting activities and time of sleeping and eating patterns of the time zone. Having social activities organised in the country of destination also help get back into the routine. We have also enjoyed journeys ending in the evening which means that when arriving at the final destination, it is night time, and after some wind down time, everyone goes to bed for a good night sleep.

There is also a need to expect some disruptions to bodily routines, feeling hungry and feeling sleepy at odd times of the day. Children may feel the jet lag and experience disrupted or shorter sleep patterns. Although difficult, we have found that establishing some ‘after flights’ routines also help. For example, when children get up very early, we tend to insist that this time is a quiet time with low key television and a light breakfast. I insist in helping children understand that ‘it is not fun time’ because it is too early for that. As parents, we relay each other in getting up early when needed, or going for a light nap in the afternoon.

Over time, families adjust to travelling and develop strategies to cope with these adventures. It is important to keep an open mind, try different strategies and be positive about all these global adventures…it is a particularly enriching gift to give to the children.

We are going live!

I am so excited to be launching the School Psychology Resources Webinars Series 1!!!

Webinars are going live, tomorrow, Friday 7th June at 12pm. Two weekly after that.

An hour webinar of 10 different topics and specific to school psychology resources.

Series 2 and 3 to follow later in August.

Recordings and resources (references, ideas, handouts) will be available long after the event. You can continue to register after the launch of the first webinar.

A Facebook group has been created for all participants to connect and support one and other.

Register with payment button as soon as possible so that you can be included in the webinars links.

We are going live!!!

someone said to my kids I was becoming a ‘youtuber’, you should have seen their face!

6 sleeps to go until the first webinar!

So exciting to launch the School Psychology Resources Webinars! Just in time for winter when the weather feels like needing a coffee or a cup of tea, curled up in front of the fire…If you are somewhere else on the planet, you can take this time to reflect, pause and think about professional practice in a more summer feel, when we have more time…

Looking forward to connect with you all and learn from many people…

A great opportunity to build an amazing toolkit!

This is an example of a sitewide notice - you can change or remove this text in the Customizer under "Store Notice" Dismiss