Consider the soundscape that your child hears at the moment. What sounds do they hear when they wake up? What narrative is present in the background of their day?
The news is not prone to rationalise or give a positive aspect to any situation and fake news spreads across social media. As we continue to share the drama within this crisis, we need to consider the impact on the emotional growth of the children we care for. In times of crisis, the soundscape changes from day to day rituals and routines to one of changing plans and uncertainty. The tone of adult voices, the urgency and words we use are filling the heads of our children as they listen and absorb the narratives presented through radio, television and adults talking about social media content (that may be true or false).
For many young children they internalise situations that are in fact far away from their reality, possibilities become realities in their minds, and they do not use the adult rational thinking process that filters reality and nonsense.
Emergencies and disasters are stressful for everyone including children and infants. They depend on the adults around them for safety and security, they will need reassurance, care and opportunities to talk through the situation in a rational way.
The reality of our current situation is not to be minimised as it does affect our global population, but there are a few obvious points to explain to children that some adults may consider too simple to say.
- Most people who get the virus get better.
- It might make us feel poorly for a few days, but those days will pass.
- Washing our hands will reduce the way the virus spreads around.
- The adults at the nursery/school will miss them, but they look forward to them coming back.
Having a positive mind set and adding hope into conversations can be very impactful. This runs through everything we do in the settings we work with. It’s helpful to acknowledge that it feels unsettling and a bit strange, but these feelings will pass. In any emergency we need to look to precautions and solutions but we should also look to the fact that time passes through good times and bad.