Young people have also been unable to participate in team sports and other group activities that may have previously played a vital part in their lives, which has contributed to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Although lockdown measures are now gradually being relaxed, there is still a way to go before normal life resumes fully. This year’s National Children’s Day, which takes place on 16th May, is therefore particularly poignant, as it aims to emphasise the importance not only of looking after children’s health and wellbeing, but also protecting their rights and freedoms.
The main focus of the day will be on how the pandemic and lockdown measures have impacted children, and what support is available for young people still trying to navigate their way through these challenges. It provides groups involved in helping children, such as clubs, community groups, councils and local services, with the opportunity to raise awareness of what they offer, where they are and how children and their parents can access them.
You can find out more about the day at NationalChildrensDayUK.com. This year, they have partnered with TheChildrensVoice.net, a website which aims to gives young people the opportunity to make a difference, by sharing their thoughts, ideas and insights. This input is then fed back to policy makers, organisations and people that can make some of these ideas a reality.
Other sources of helpThere are lots of places to turn to for help if your child is struggling or unwell, but many people might not realise their protection policies can provide some of them.
Many insurers offer additional benefits alongside their protection policies, which often include access to vital support services. For example, if you have life cover or any other protection plan, your policy may provide access to a 24-hour online GP or nurse helpline. This can prove extremely helpful if your child falls ill during a weekend or at night, or any other time when it’s not possible to access your usual medical practice.
These helplines can often provide mental health support too, with counselling sessions available both to adult policyholders and their children. Specialist services may be available too if, for example, your child is struggling to cope with a bereavement and would like to talk to someone who isn’t a member of their family.
Cover specifically for childrenSome adult protection policies also offer the option to include cover specifically for children, so that financial support can be provided if your child is diagnosed with a specified critical illness during the term of the policy.
Whilst no-one wants to think of this happening to their child, sadly young people can be affected by serious illness or accidents too. Although no amount of money can ever compensate for seeing your child unwell, having cover can provide valuable peace of mind that should the worst happen, you’d be able to stop work and be there for your child when you need to be. It can relieve some of the financial pressure at what’s likely to be an extremely difficult and emotional time, and can be used to help with various practicalities, such as funding hotel stays where treatment is not local.
Children’s critical illness cover is included as standard by some providers, or it may be offered as an optional extra. If it is provided by your insurer, or you want to add it to your policy, check the small print so you know what is and isn’t covered. For example, some policies cover children-specific conditions, whilst others do not. It’s also worth checking what age cover is provided up to. Certain policies cover children to the age of 18, but others will continue to provide cover while they are in higher education.
Protecting your children if you’re no longer aroundIf you want to provide your children with financial support long term in the event of your death, family income benefit is one option that might be worth considering.
Whereas standard life assurance policies pay out a lump sum if you die during the policy term, with family income benefit, your beneficiaries receive a monthly or quarterly payment for a specified period. For example, you might want your policy to pay out £1,000 a month until your child reaches the age of 21, so that any costs incurred while they are growing up can be covered. Payments can be inflation-proofed too, to ensure that they keep pace with rising living costs.
Family income benefit policies start from just a few pounds a month depending on the level of cover you want, and are usually quick and easy to arrange. If you’re considering reviewing any existing protection policies you have, it’s worth finding out whether you might be able to get more family benefits for your money. You can find out more about how family income benefit works in our guide to What is family income benefit insurance?