Children struggling with life under lockdown are being thrown a lifeline by a woman who provides online meditation classes.
The weekly classes by Helen McConnell, aimed at children aged between six and 13, teach skills on how to cope with missing friends, grandparents, boredom and being confined for long periods at home.
Just six months after she launched her meditation classes at North Star Health and Wellbeing Centre in Eglinton and in some schools, Ms McConnell was forced to rethink how best to reach the children taking part.
She contacted parents about online classes, which are now proving to be very popular.
"Normally classes last an hour but these online classes are just half-an-hour long, which we are finding are working well," Ms McConnell said.
"The classes are for children from primary two to around 12 or 13 and I try and tailor them to the issues they are going through right now because of the coronavirus.
"As the classes are done through Zoom, the parents can participate along with the children, because a relaxed mum is a relaxed child."
Ms McConnell explained how they take a different theme each week.
She added: "This week for example we are dealing with sleep, which parents are telling me is a big issue for their children at this particular time.
"Children are away from their school friends, their home friends, their grandparents, and that is difficult for them, so I teach meditation on how to cope with that.
"This is a time of great uncertainty, so I teach children to meditate on what they can control and how to deal with what they can't control.
"One of their favourites is the 'magic carpet ride', which helps children deal with boredom. Even though we are restricted in where we can go in our everyday life right now, in our imagination we are free to go wherever we like." While delivering her meditation classes online is an unusual way to teach children, Ms McConnell has been pleased at how well the youngsters are adapting.
She added: "Since I started this I haven't had one single child who said they didn't like it, even those who started the class because it was their parents who wanted them to do it. Children are really receptive to meditation, more so even than most adults would be.
"So it is wonderful to be able to help them cope with this very stressful time."
More information can be found on the Facebook page Children's Well-being with Helen