The coronavirus (COVID-19) is a major epidemic. Fortunately, few young children have fallen ill. Most of the sick children have had mild cases. However, young children are highly affected by the quarantine and the anxiety of their parents and other adults. Adults may think that children will not notice all the changes and the stress, but they are very sensitive to what is going on.
Children need to understand what's happening in their communities and in the world. It's our responsibility to keep them physically and EMOTIONALLY safe. Covibook, a short story to help families and educators in this process, has been provided to help explain what is going on in the world. Feel free to download and print to go through with your CASA child(ren) or your own children.
There are also other ways you can help your children:
- Routines are very important for young children. Disasters, forced isolation and other traumatic situations often break their usual routines. Creating new routines or re-establishing usual routines can help children feel safe. Keeping regular mealtimes and bedtimes, setting a daily time to play games together, or read to them, or sing songs together all help.
- Support from parents or caregivers is very important during periods of stress and during the time after the acute disaster is over. Parents may be physically present but not available emotionally because they are so stressed themselves. It is important to make time to reassure young children and spend time with them.
- Explain why things are different. Young children may not understand why things have changed (like why they cannot go outside or play with other children) but talking with them will help them feel to feel supported by you. Help the children in a way this is appropriated for their age. Keep explanations simple.
- Take care of yourself. This is very important. Even if young children are not directly exposed to the trauma, they can recognize stress and worry in older children and adults in the house
- If young children have been sent to stay with family members in another city talk to them using electronic means as often as possible during the day and at bedtime. If they are at home, try to arrange for them to see other children using your cell phone.