Organisations exercising responsibilities for caring for children and young people must ensure that a sound approach is used in talking with them about the coronavirus. This includes both initiating conversations and responding to matters that children and young people may raise themselves.
There is already an abundance of resource materials about talking with children and young people that can be discovered by simply undertaking a ‘google search’. Most feature some common themes that will become evident as you review these materials. Some are tailored for particular age groups.
Click on the following links to review the materials and select the approaches that will be of most benefit to the children and young people in your care:
Don’t like reading? Then go the Child Mind Institute website, watch the Talking to Kids about the Coronavirus video and share the link with others.
To obtain some inspiration about creative ways in which you can communicate with children and young people about the Coronavirus, click on Just For Kids: A Comic Exploring The New Coronavirus. Or look at this very clever Hello! I am coronavirus booklet designed by MindHeart.Co to facilitate discussion with children.
Some special considerations that apply to children and young people in care
In addition to making use of these resource materials, there are some other factors that must be taken into account when you consider the ways in which you will communicate with children and young people in care. Beyond the anxieties that most children and young people will be experiencing to a greater or lesser extent, children and young people in care may also have fears for the wellbeing of their parents, their brothers and sisters, grandparents and others – especially if they feel disempowered in being able to help protect them. Some may act out these fears by withdrawing or displaying a range of difficult behaviours. Some may attempt to run away to be with them.
Parents and other family members may similarly be experiencing these fears in relation to their children. It will be important to incorporate recognition of these possible anxieties in the talks you have with children and young people, as well as their parents and others , and work out ways in which they all can be given re-assurance about each other’s well-being.
These are the conversations you should be having now. Your plans for managing the impact of the Coronavirus must include strategies for carrying out these discussions and an identification of the persons who are best placed to initiate them. It is also important to remember however that children and young people will often initiate these discussions themselves whenever and with whomever they choose. It’s essential therefore that all of your staff and carers are well-equipped with the knowledge to respond to them and are comfortable in doing so.
Share your resources and tips
If you have other resource materials you wish to recommend or tips about approaches you are finding useful, please feel free to forward them to Anushri Bellary so that they can also be posted on PeakCare’s website.