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Helping families have a happy Christmas Ollee-day

According to the well-known song, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. But there are many reasons why for children – and families – it may feel anything but. 

It’s not unusual to find the festive period stressful, with extra pressures and expectations. YouGov research found that 2 in 5 adults have felt stressed at Christmas, and a quarter of the population finds the period more difficult than the rest of the year. 

Children can pick up on this tension, on top of feeling uncertain or confused about things – especially if affected by Covid-led illness or bereavement, financial difficulties or isolation. The festive holidays can also last a long time for a child, especially if unable to connect with friends and family. 

This can lead to difficult feelings and emotions – or not knowing how to express them. And that’s where Ollee comes in. 

Simple, tailored advice

Ollee is a virtual friend, created by Parent Zone and funded by BBC Children in Need’s A Million & Me initiative. 

Ollee helps children aged eight to 11 start conversations with a parent or trusted adult about how they’re feeling on a range of issues – including school, friends, family and the world. The Ollee app can be accessed in a web browser, and is free to download from the App Store or Google Play store. 

Ollee’s simple prompts and pathways can help children understand and process how they’re feeling, and find simple, tailored advice to support them. They can choose from a range of emotions including angry, sad or worried, as well as an “I don’t know how I feel” option. 

Children and parents can open and link accounts to share advice directly, helping them to open up if there is something on their mind. 

Download the Ollee app 

      Download on the App Store    Get it on Google Play

5 ways Ollee can help families at Christmas

  1. Identifying how you feel 

Children can struggle to explain or express their emotions to others. Ollee uses child-friendly descriptions and visual prompts to help them explore emotional literacy skills in a relaxed and engaging way – even if they don’t always have the words to help describe. 

  1. Connecting together

Ollee also supports parents to understand how their child is feeling and find tailored advice to help them start a conversation. Parents and children can create their own Ollee accounts by signing up with an email address in order to find and save specific information and support. By connecting accounts, they can share advice cards and conversation starters. When subjects are difficult to approach, this feature is a great tool for support.

  1. Ollee Help Hubs

If parents want to seek further help, Ollee offers a Help Hub with a directory of services and organisations to provide specialist support. This can be found via the app and is organised by subject, so they can easily find the help they need. It also includes emergency contacts and crisis lines. There is a specific Help Hub for children too. 

  1. Wellbeing videos

Ollee includes a range of video clips designed to support childrens’ wellbeing. These provide simple mindful activities, to help them feel calmer during times of stress or upset. They include breathing exercises, mindful drawing and positive visualisation. 

Families can try these activities together via the Ollee app, or also in the Ollee Hub

  1. Help with a changing world

The news cycle can feel unsettling and confusing. Ollee has specific advice around the Covid-19 pandemic, ways to deal with loneliness or isolation, plus help for parents to identify when more serious emotional help might be needed. 

 Sharing Ollee with others can help to bring people together – a great gift for any family finding things difficult this Christmas.