Hertfordshire head warns parents to limit children’s access to negative news

The headteacher has also advised parents to balance their children’s screen time

The headteacher of an independent day and boarding school in Bushey has spoken out about the need for parents to control how much access children have to negative news stories.

“While staying informed and keeping on top of news headlines is part of everyday life for many adults, for children, too much access to negative, or sensationalised news stories, whether via news sites or social media, can cause panic and increase uncertainty and worry, which in turn, can impact learning and general wellbeing,” said Lara Péchard, head at St Margaret’s School.

She continued: “Many will struggle with their mental health over the coming weeks and it is important that as parents we control how much access our children have to this kind of news on a daily basis.”

Péchard also spoke about the need to balance screen time.

Lara Péchard, head at St Margaret’s School


“As we enter a third lockdown and another period of school closures, the pressure is on for children to learn remotely via computers and other devices. While we are very lucky as a generation to have the advances of technology on our side, it is important that we balance this with the time our children spend in front of screens, as too much screen time in one day can be counterproductive to learning and wellness on a number of levels.”

Péchard is encouraging parents to spend time outdoors with their children on a regular basis in order to “boost mood and energy levels”, which she said will help children “focus academically”.

Furthermore, social time has never been more important, according to Péchard, who said: “Young people naturally crave social interaction both inside and outside of their family unit, and it is important that as parents we help them to recreate this time with their friends, allowing them freedom and space to reconnect with their peers safely.

“Creating a sense of occasion has also been pivotal during lockdowns, whether that is a takeaway, quiz or a movie night. Technology also means we can make these occasions a wider experience by virtually involving friends and family.”

In related news: Independent schools eager to help in vaccination roll-out

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