Supporting Children thru COVID-19
With the ever-changing schedules, routines and every day happenings that are effecting our lives as we cope with COVID-19, you are probably trying to determine how best to help your family and support your children. Your children may be asking you questions, or seeming to struggle from the constant changes in their daily routines, the uncertainty of not knowing when they can return to those routines that provided them comfort. They may be feeling the stresses in their parents due to the constant changes and unknowing. As a parent you may be wondering how you can educate yourself on COVID-19 and stay ‘up to date’ on things while also guarding your children from all the negative media and press. They may turn to you or other trusted adults for support, help, and guidance.
I have summarized the most helpful information from the articles referenced at the end of this blog in hopes that you find it helpful when supporting your children thru these unprecedented times.
Education: Educate your child(ren) on COVID-19; what it is and how to keep themselves and others healthy during these times. Be mindful of age appropriate language and examples when describing to your child what this ‘virus’ is.
- Focus on good health behaviors, such as covering coughs and sneezes with the elbow and washing hands frequently
- Sing a song while washing hands to practice the recommended 20 second duration. – ensure children are washing tops, bottoms and in between fingers; children can “practice” washing their hands when using hand sanitizer.
- Develop a way to track hand washing and reward frequent/timely and correct hand washing.
- Use puppets or dolls to demonstrate symptoms (sneezing, coughing, fever) and what to do if they feel sick (i.e. their head hurts, their stomach hurts, they feel hot or extra tired) and how to comfort someone who is sick (cultivating empathy and safe caring behaviors)
- Have children sit further apart from one another, have them practice stretching their arms out or ‘flap their wings’, they should keep enough space to not touch their friends.
- Have children practice wearing their mask properly, find a mask that fits them and is comfortable. Reward them for appropriate wearing of their mask.
- For a fun and child appropriate about COVID-19 check out these short clips on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVvVTDhGqaA and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSkEwdzGbCA
Support Children By:
- Keeping routines in place
- Be creative about new activities and remember to exercise
- Manage you own anxiety
- Limit your child’s access to news, social media and television viewing (of COVID-19 information)
- Stay in touch virtually (with family and friends)
- Make plans that you can safely do
- Keep children in the loop but keep it simple and appropriate
- Check in with your child frequently
- Take time to talk about concerns
- More information on these tactics can be viewed here: https://childmind.org/article/supporting-kids-during-the-covid-19-crisis/
- Stay calm, listen and offer reassurance to uncertain children
- Be a role model; wear your mask, wash your hands and take all safety precautions we want children to
- Be aware of how you talk about COVID-19 around your child
- Explain Social (physical) distancing
- Demonstrate deep breathing skills
- Focus on the POSITIVE
- Establish/maintain a daily routine
- Identify projects that you can do to help others
- Offer lots of love and attention
- More information on these reminders here: https://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources-and-podcasts/school-climate-safety-and-crisis/health-crisis-resources/helping-children-cope-with-changes-resulting-from-covid-19
As always please let us know if there is anything we at Little Red Schoolhouse can do to help support you or your child during these times. We are always happy to provide more information, support or answer questions to the best of our ability.
Written by: Megan Matza