Our Academic Director, Zoila Rugama, took an online training course with World Vision Nicaragua recently. The opening words were from the National Director of World Vision Nicaragua, Oscar Chicas. He spoke of the importance of discussing topics of current interest as it is necessary in providing effective responses to the crisis our children and adolescents are currently living in. How does the pandemic affect children and adolescents?
They perceive it all around us, so explaining it in a creative way and in language they can understand helps them feel more secure. Many have been stressed as a result of what is happening in the world right now, children as well as adults. The children’s worlds have been turned upside down and they don’t always understand why they can’t do simple things like hug, get close to others, or play at the park.
The report offered five tips for dealing with “little” (and even bigger “littles”) and indicated the following:
Emotional Care in Pandemic Times
- Contain: Teach them to express their emotions correctly
- Calm: Help them relax, allowing them to cry or express their pain
- Inform: With simple vocabulary, explain what is happening. It is important they know the difference between real life, what they imagine, their dreams and the fears they face.
- Standardize: Let the child know that he’s not the only one in this situation
- Comfort: Comfort can lead us to a way of reconnection. As the last phase of pain, this will help the child reconnect with himself.
Remember, the very basic ways of care are: Watch-Listen-Connect. These tools can be used in the management of grief with children.
Many children all over the world have been impacted by Covid19 and are struggling from depression, anxiety, fear, and/or loneliness. It is very likely that you either have or know children who are struggling in some way. Maybe these words today will help you and a child that you know to face the uncertainty of the future. These words have helped us to slow down and remember to connect with the hearts of the children we care for and not just teach their minds or feed their bodies.