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Helping children during COVID-19 containment period

19th March 2020 Blog

There is a lot happening in our world right now that can cause many of us to feel anxious, especially the current Coronavirus (Covid 19).

Children and young people may be feeling scared or confused by all the changes happening to their routine, which can be unsettling. So with the help from our friends at Aspire Adoption Services and national charity Childline, we’ve listed some of the ways we can help our young people feel a little safer at this time.

Ways to support children during uncertain times in a trauma informed way

Don’t ignore what’s happening, because your children – especially those with histories of trauma – will pick up on the fact that things are unexpectedly different in their worlds. Be calm and clear in any explanations.

A good message is to talk about the virus and how “we’re working together to keep more people from getting sick by reducing some activities … and people are working to help one another out!”

Talk to your children on the things that WILL stay the same … the little things; you’ll still get up and eat breakfast every morning, you’ll still have lunch, you’ll still sleep in your bed, etc. Give a nice long list.

If you sense a child is becoming anxious about it, call it out casually: “I noticed you might be a bit anxious about something…I’m wondering if it has anything to do with XYZ?”

Provide visual structure for your children. Make a visual plan for the day, introduce it in the morning, and work your way through it during the day – it’s fun to ‘cross things off’ as you go. This is containing for the child. It will take extra effort on your part but will help them to manage their anxiety.

Safe outdoor play, baths, sensory play, etc. will be helpful activities. Walks, beach and forest trips or nature trails are suggested.

Contact relatives and friends via WhatsApp or Skype, so they can see them, or a phone call is good too.

Remember that unexpected change, loss of routine and structure, and increased stress in the world will be HUGE triggers for many of your kids. Focus on co-regulation, keep expectations appropriate. Be kind and considerate when you can. Not just practical tasks but understanding that in unpredictable times of change we can all feel anxious too.

There is lots more advice and ways to help ease the worries for children on the Childline website.

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