Popularization’s comic book
What we have learned over the past months facing the pandemic is that our little ones are not all equal. Some children tend to wash their hands too often and will be very anxious about all these measures, while others still find it difficult to think about it when in a rush to play.
Why the comic strip?
Coco’s comic book is a popularization tool to:
• Encourage your child to integrate this habit without worrying about it;
• Explore their understanding of the virus since the beginning of the pandemic.
With Coco’s Flight, you are given a framework (a character and a story), which you can adjust according to your child’s needs, fears and behaviours. Thus, depending on your situation, choose the panels to focus on. In turn, by completing this comic, your child will be able to tell you (or draw!) their beliefs and express their fears in a situation where they can understand the issues.
To facilitate the dialogue with them and avoid long-term anxiety issues as much as possible, Yapouni’s illustrator humorously staged the little character of Coco.
Here are a few recommendations to adjust according to your child’s needs:
«My child washes their hands too much»
You can insist on the fact that Coco has only 20 suction cups, hence, it’s useless to take off what’s no longer there!
Here’s a way to explain it to your child:
“20 seconds is enough. You count to 20, then it’s over, no need to rub more! Coco is already gone. He’s full of soap, he can’t stick to anything now! Also, he’s very clean, he’s not dangerous, he can’t make people sick anymore. Besides, if you scrub too much, it hurts your hands!”.
«My child never wash their hands»
You can insist on the fact that Coco’s dirty without making your child anxious. Here is one way to address it to your child:
“Coco, he looks nice, and it’s true he’s not a bad guy, but he’s very very dirty! That’s why he can make people sick and that’s why he needs to be washed.”
«My child is very anxious about the virus, they are scared that it’s everywhere.»
Here’s a proposition to reassure your child:
“Coco, he’s mostly out of the house. If you wash your hands on the way home, it keeps him from holding on to us. We have a house without Coco!”.
Children have a vivid imagination and have surprising theories that adults don’t think about!
You can ask your child what they understood about Coco’s Flight and to share their concerns about the current context. For example, you could ask questions like:
«What did you understand about the story? Are you afraid of Coco? If so, what are you afraid of? »
Try to explore every misunderstanding and surprising ideas your child may have! Take the time to listen carefully to their concerns. Afterwards, you can readjust, it will help them to not overthink and imagine catastrophic scenarios. An unaddressed misunderstanding can have consequences, it is thus essential to have a space to express and clarify it.
*This comic book is intended for young children (7 years old and under), hence, a playful story and allegory has been prioritised over a strict and precise scientific vulgarisation. This has been done because the allegory facilitates identification with the story and guides children towards solutions for their problems.
Iaquinta, A., & Hipsky, S. (2006). Practical bibliotherapy strategies for the inclusive elementary classroom. Early Childhood Education Journal, 34(3), 209-213.
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