Member launches free Parent Support phone line

Apr 03, 2020

Amid COVID19 crisis, parents find themselves in unusual circumstances, working remotely, home-schooling children, and juggling many more balls in the air than normal.  It is a time when parents of children of all ages need extra advice and guidance.  Fellow member, Sheelagh O’Grady, having retrained as a Parent and Relationship Mentor in UCC now operates a joint private practice with her colleague Aoife Ryan.  Since the crisis unfolded, they have seen a significant increase in the number of parents who are feeling stressed and worried and are now seeking help and support. In response to this, they have launched a free telephone support service for parents. As a member of the Chartered Accountant community, she would like to offer this free service to members, as a source of support and compassion in these challenging times.    

Available 10am-11am and 7pm-8pm Monday-Friday. Simply text Aoife or Sheelagh, stating whether you would like a morning or evening appointment. Sheelagh O’Grady 089 4081313, Aoife Ryan 089 2349339.

In the meantime, see below some tips for keeping the kids content while working from home

Establish a routine.

Children, young and old, thrive on routine.  It gives their day a structure and helps keep boundaries in check.  Let young kids co-create a wall chart that details the daily schedules for all the family. This will help maintain quiet times, family mealtimes, and rest times. It might take a day or two to establish these new routines, but it will be well worth the effort.

Keeping them occupied.

Small children like to feel useful so giving them simple tasks to carry out will keep them happy. 

  • Empty out a kitchen or bedroom drawer and ask them to “sort” the contents out.
  • Setting up treasure hunts in the garden or the local green spaces can help with fitting in exercise and fresh air into the day while using up all their excess energy.
  • Making a den with old sheets and chairs can create a new magical space for them to play. They can hide out here with their toys and their imagination for hours.

There are lots of great websites to help with keeping toddlers and kids of all ages educated and occupied:

  • GoNoodle designed to get kids exercising at home.
  • A good way to explain the virus and the importance of hand washing is to show them this video clip or better still re-create it as an experiment and let them try it out.
  • Marvel artist from Cork, Will Sliney, who has drawn Spider-Man and now works on Star Wars comics set up a new challenge each day on his YouTube channel at 2.00pm WeWilldraw.
  • There are great learning platforms online and one of the biggest is Kahoot which is free to use and gives access to millions of free learning games for the entire family
  • Learning a new skill or language on Youtube is a great way to spend an hour a day for all ages.
  • Lots of museums now offer online tours – what a great way to while away some time while broadening their education. See this one that covers twelve world class museum visits.
  • Is your local library closed? No problem, here’s a great elibrary resource which will provide hours of reading and entertainment to kids of all ages.
  • Be sure to check out the full list of resources at the end of the article.


Connecting with grandparents and other family members, as well as friends, using online technology has never been more important.  Setting up regular “Skype” or “Facetime” chats will benefit all of us and ensure we reduce the feelings of isolation and loneliness communities are facing.  Perhaps grandparents can “Skype” at bedtimes and read goodnight stories each night?  Getting groups of young children to connect with their best friends and peers regularly will help maintain the fun elements of each day and has never been easier to set up. 

 Family time

Creating an hour or two per day for family activities will be a necessary part of any new routine.  Here are some easy ways to have together as a family:

  • Preparing the family meal – getting everyone involved from the choosing of the meal/recipe, chopping the veg, laying the table, and clearing away. Capitalise on the extra time at home to make meal-times count.
  •  Movie night – have regular movie nights and allow each member of the family to pick their favourite.
  •  Board games – now is the time to dust off the Monopoly and Pictionary. Kids love this time with their parents when everyone comes together, and all devices are turned off and put away.

The first few days of this schedule may seem a little awkward as we all get used to our new “normal”, but children are so adaptable and will follow our lead.  Before long, when they see us relax into the new schedule, they will too. This structure of activities and routines will help keep us all productive and appropriately challenged. We may even find we all benefit considerably from this extra time together.

Here at CA Support we are here to support our members and students.  Feel free to get in touch if you need support during this time. We can be contacted by email or call us on (353) 86 024 3294.