The world situation nowadays is full of uncertainties ; the information is lacking and it is hard to predict the evolution and consequences of the crisis. This can be an important source of anxiety and misunderstanding for your children
How to address this issue with them ?
Yapouni’s team decided to browse a great number of articles on the subject (links). Here is our selection of recommendations and suggestions :
The first thing to do is open the discussion with your child and listen carefully without anticipating. He might be worried, or not, it is better not to presume. Your child might have a lot of questions. It is advised to have concrete and straightforward answers, in a language that is adapted to your child’s age and needs. It is important not to mimize or dramatize the situation and how your child feels.
If your child is in early infancy (6 years or less), it is still a good idea to probe how they are managing the situation. Even if they don’t grasp everything that is going on, they can sense the changes and the worry surrounding them. Various behaviours can indicate your infant child is worried : appetite change, sleep change, wetting the bed again, fear of being alone, nightmares, increase in cries and tantrums, speech difficulties. It’s important to be on the lookout !
It is recommended to remind them that the situation is temporary and that they are safe. Children can imagine a lot of things regarding the seriousness and consequences of the crisis we are facing. Taking the time to explain what’s true or false is paramount.
In conclusion, the two main elements to keep in mind are : to keep a routine and encourage the expression of their emotions.
In this climate of uncertainty, a routine helps to maintain a sense of predictability and trust in a child’s environment. Furthermore, the expression and the validation of emotions allow children to be more calm and have a better grasp on their own experience. Validation and comfort are often seen as similar things, but it’s not the case. Validation is the idea of reflecting the emotion your child is feeling. The difference between comfort and validation is the difference in the reaction you can have when faced with a child scared by a spider : « oh it seems this spider is frightening you ! » (validation) and « This spider can’t do you any harm, everything is fine, you don’t have to be scared » (comfort).
Comfort is very important but if it comes to early in the process, we are not allowing our children to acknowledge the emotion he is feeling. Usually, it is best to validate first and comfort after that if needed.
In order to help you to settle in the new routine at home, we are making our Yapouni toolbox with two colourful activities available for free downloading :
The Quarantine Routine
(print and assemble)
By assembling their new routine with you, your child can anticipate and feel reassured facing the changes and events of his everyday life.
An educational Poster on the Good gestures
This tool is meant to help your child assimilate the right gestures to adopt (washing their hands, sneezing in their elbow etc.) in a fun way, with Poulpi, a character he might already be familiar with. It will make it easier for you to remind them of these gestures and to refer to them when needed.
The ressources we recommend for more information :
Do you need other educational tools, drawings to print or games to help explain the coronavirus or quarantine to your children ?
Send us your requests and feedbacks !