As many of you are aware there is little we can do to stop children noticing what is going on at the moment. Educators have reported children using COVID-19 more and more in their play which may seem concerning. However, it is a very natural way for children to express their feelings. In saying this, we still need to be mindful of how this is affecting children and it will affect some more than others.
So what can we do as educators to make sure the children in our care are coping during these difficult times?
One of the main things is to keep communication open with families, this allows us to support them through changes that may be occuring a home. It also allows families and educators to discuss any signs of stress they might be seeing in their children. Childcare can be vital for some families during this time, it keeps a sense of normalcy for the child and can be a place where COVID-19 isn’t such a BIG part of their day.
It may be hard for some families to turn off the TV, but limiting our exposure to the media is not only beneficial for children, it is great for us adults as well.
Talk about emotions! This is an emotional time, children may not even realise why they are feeling like they are. Many families are already in a heightened state due to the recent bushfires, so be gentle during this time. Offer extra hugs, talk about emotions more and let your children know you are here for them. Relationships are KEY.
Some great children’s books that discuss emotions are the “When I’m Feeling” series by Trace Moroney.
And here’s a selection of organisations that will be a wealth of information and assistance to families and children:
Ethnolink – COVID 19 translated resources (resources to support educators and families to understand COVID 19 in 50 community languages)
Raising Children – Coronavirus (COVID-19) and children in Australia
World Health Organisation – Helping children cope with stress during the 2019-nCoV outbreak
Manuela Moina – Children’s book – “Hello! I am the Coronavirus”
(free, in community languages)
UNICEF Australia – How to talk to children about coronavirus
Beyond Blue – Looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak
Early Learning Nation – A parents guide to surviving COVID 19
Emerging Minds – Supporting children during the COVID 19 outbreak
Educators may also be feeling stressed during these uncertain times, it is vital we look after one another. Check-in on your fellow educators and see how they are doing. BE KIND.
Below are some extra resources that you may find helpful:
Be you (Beyond Blue site for educators)
Department of Health – COVID 19 Infection Control Training
*free to complete. New users will need to create an account and register
FairWork Australia – Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws
Australian Childcare Alliance – Update on the coronavirus as it applies to childcare services
Safe Work Australia – Information on COVID 19 and Work Health and Safety
The Sector – Is COVID-19 making children in your care anxious? 8 tips to support, or for an even more comprehensive list please check out The Sector.