What happened to my toddler’s behaviour during lockdown?

In such confusing times for our little ones, how do we make sure we support their mental health and wellbeing?


Children’s emotional wellbeing is so important right now – they’ve amazed us all with how well they have adapted to lockdown life and now we ask of them a new challenge as we prepare to start returning to the ‘new normal’ and back to nursery and school life. In this article we’ll explore 3 key ways to support children’s wellbeing during this time and create emotional resilience for life.


1.It’s ok to have feelings

It’s easy for our imaginations to run away with us when we are feeling unsure – both as children and adults. It’s important that we listen to children’s concerns and thoughts and acknowledge the way they feel.

By doing this we teach our children that it is ok to have feelings and to talk about them – a valuable skill for managing these feelings when they are older. Try to:

  • Practice active listening and encourage children to talk about it
  • Label the feeling to help them identify it in the future
  • Acknowledge the way they feel before responding so we don’t dismiss it


Like this:

Your little one is throwing their toys and shouting because they can’t go to their Grandma’s house to see her. Give them time to explore the feeling and say what they need to say.  You could say: ‘I understand that you feel angry and sad right now because you can’t see Grandma, but throwing your toys is not going to make that feeling go away. Remember we can’t see Grandma because we are keeping her safe from the germs. Why don’t we video call Grandma so you can see her and feel happy again?’

It’s easy for our imaginations to run away with us when we are feeling unsure – both as children and adults. It’s important that we listen to children’s concerns and thoughts and acknowledge the way they feel. Click To Tweet

2.Use stories to explore

Stories and books provide a really good starting point for talking about an issue. They can often put into words and pictures thoughts and feelings that a child is not able to and provide a ‘distance’ from the topic to make it easier to explore. A good example is the story about a little elf who misses his birthday party which explores feelings of resilience and hope through a time or worry and provides some great questions for discussion afterwards.

There are lots of stories about Coronavirus that are written with children in mind, including ones explaining about the virus to help talk about the topic of the pandemic. Some of the changes the children have experienced, such as people wearing face masks and not being able to hug their family and friends, can be scary for children and it is vital that we keep open communication for them to be able to talk about these. The British Psychological Society give some great advice around talking about the coronavirus with young children.


3.Your wellbeing

Recent events around the world have caused a huge strain on us as adults, particularly as parents, and it is important we settle our own anxieties too. Children can easily sense your feelings and this can lead to feelings of anxiety and unrest in them if we forget to tend to our own self-care needs too.


Mind gives some great ideas such as:

  • Try to stick to a routine – get up at your usual time and try to go to bed on time. If you’re not happy with your normal routine now could be a great opportunity to develop a new one
  • Stay active – enjoy being outside and move as much as possible
  • Be careful with the news – it is important to stay up to date, but too much news can be overwhelming. Try to limit how much you view the news each day.

If you would like to read more about looking after your health and wellbeing or would like support, there are some useful links at the end of this post.



So much in our worlds are unrecognisable at the moment and this has been and emotional challenge for us all. But by being more aware of our own self-care and supporting our little ones to understand, express and process their feelings we can turn this into an opportunity to nurture resilient, communicative and secure children in this generation.


What have you found the most challenging aspect of lockdown parenting? Let us know in the comments below!


Useful links:

BPS – coronavirus support and advice

UNICEF – how to talk to your child about coronavirus

Partnership for children – children’s wellbeing activities

Mind – information, support and helplines


lockdown recipes

3 Recipes to curb lockdown boredom with your little one

lockdown recipes

Running out of ideas to pass lockdown with your little one? Why not try one of these fun recipes:

  1. Yummy Hummus

  2. Wicked Wrap Pizza

  3. Magic Mug Cake


Spending so much time at home staying safe with young children has presented parents of the nation with a whole new set of challenges – how do we keep them occupied all the time?! Here at Hamilton Nursery we have lots of ideas, so in this article we will explore 3 great recipe ideas that can easily be made together with your little ones to pass the time and create tasty and healthy treats.

Running out of ideas to pass lockdown? Give these fun recipes a try!

Yummy Hummus

This is a great opportunity for the children to weigh and measure their own ingredients, an important aspect of our curriculum and can be served in so many different ways. Our hummus is always a hit with our Pre-School children!


1 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon tahini paste

The juice of half a lemon

1 clove of garlic

Half a teaspoon of cumin

Black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons of olive oil


  1. Add all the ingredients into a blender and blend away! Keep going until a smooth paste forms. If needed add a little more oil to loosen the mixture up.

Our hummus is great served as a dip with vegetable sticks, as a sandwich filler or stuffed in peppers or portobello mushrooms!

TOP TIP: Try different variations when making our hummus, add beetroot for a delightful bright pink version or roasted red peppers for sweetness. You can even add cocoa powder and honey for a sugar free sweet dessert version!

Wicked wrap pizzas

Get that takeaway feel but with an easy to make and healthier alternative! For more about healthy eating for your little one check out our food and nutrition blog post.

Serves 4


4 wholemeal wraps

4 tablespoons of tomato puree

100g of grated cheese of your choice – we like a mix of cheddar and mozzarella!

Half a red pepper, diced

Half a red onion, diced

Half a courgette, diced

1 low salt vegetable stock cube

Sprinkle of mixed herbs


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees
  2. Heat a frying pan on a medium heat and add a little oil. Put the pepper, onion and courgette in the pan and sprinkle over the stock cube. Fry until the veg is soft.
  3. Place each wrap on grease proof paper on a baking sheet. Mix the tomato puree with a little water and the herbs and spread it over each wrap in a thin layer.
  4. Evenly distribute the cooked veg over each pizza and sprinkle on the cheese
  5. Bake in the oven for approximately 8 minutes until the cheese melts and the edges crisp up
TOP TIP: support your little one to have a go at chopping their own vegetables, the more ownership they have over preparing the meal the more likely they are to eat it!

Magic mug cake

A simple sweet treat for after dinner – and it’s low in sugar too!

Makes one mug cake


30g all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

¼ teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon of honey or maple syrup

Tiny pinch of salt

60 ml milk

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

A few drops of vanilla extract

A few chocolate chips (optional)


  1. Grease the inside of a mug with cooking spray or a little oil
  2. In a mixing bowl mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder until well combined. Add the milk, honey or syrup, oil and vanilla extract and mix until fully combined.
  3. Pour the batter into the mug and sprinkle with chocolate chips if using these.
  4. Put the mug in the microwave and microwave in 30 second intervals until the cake is just set
  5. Remove from the microwave (WARNING: the mug will be hot), allow to cool a little and enjoy!

TOP TIP: Try different types of mug cake using the same basic recipe, maybe take out the cocoa powder and add cinnamon or maybe grated carrot and ginger for a carrot cake.

Interested to know how we are preparing for life after the pandemic, see some of the steps we are taking.

Are you looking for more recipe ideas for your little ones? We love these ideas from the National Childbirth Trust!


By Rachael Atkins

Contact Nursery Image


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If you would like to know more about meals in Hamilton Nursery or if you are looking for a place, we are open and would love to hear from you.  Please call 0116 274 3090