The coronavirus has impacted the world like no other disease in recent history. Thousands of people have contracted the disease with many dying in the most horrible way possible. There are shortages of supplies and have been systematic hoarding of grocery items and toilet paper.
While the media has mainly focused on the highest impacted, those over the age of sixty or who have a pre-existing disorder, what about the children of Covid19.
This article will focus on the fear children may be having in this season of pandemic and how that fear can become traumatizing without adult intervention
The Media Can Be Frightening
Children are exposed to the media in a myriad of ways nowadays. Social media, television, and the internet are full of stories of the dangers of covid19 and rightly so. The disease is murdering people all around the globe.
On top of the news of sickness and death, children, like the rest of us, are bombarded with orders to shelter in place, remain distant from others, and wash our hands frequently. To children, these instructions might remind them of a horror movie and these thoughts are perpetuated by kids spreading rumors through social media.
It is vital in this time of uncertainty that children are limited in how much exposure they receive from the media. Turn off the WIFI if you must, but it is imperative to protect the children from fear.
Trauma and the Children of Covid19
Trauma is defined as a deeply distressing or disturbing experience and if parents and caregivers aren’t careful, the events surrounding covid19 could traumatize and effect children their entire lives.
Children need to be aware that they will not be going to school and that they cannot play with their friends. However, it is also vital that parents and caregivers remember to spend time reassuring them.
Sit with your children and talk with them honestly without frightening them answering their questions simply. Younger children will not need or want complicated explanations they just need reassurance that life will return to normal once the virus has run its course.
Children Need Routine
Children have a limited capacity to understand what they are seeing and reading and hearing in the media and from family and friends. However, there are some things parents and caregivers can do to mitigate the effects the disease is having on their kids.
The children of covid19 have had their routine severely interrupted with school closures plus not being able to go out to play as they once did.
Kids thrive on routine without it they can become anxious and act out their feelings. Two ideas to keep the schedule of the children as normal as possible are to homeschool them approximately as long as they would have been in school.
Another idea is to play games with them and take them into the back yard to play. They will need supervision in the yard to maintain social distancing from neighbor children. Playing is a marvelous way for children to not only exert extra energy but to work out in play their emotions and fears.
It Is Not The Children’s Fault
This article would not be complete if it did not include a note on the prevention of child abuse in these days where emotions are high and substance abuse may be soaring.
This is a vital piece of information.
The fact it is not the fault of your children that the economy is suffering nor is it their fault that you are worried. Please, if you feel overwhelmed by what is going on and are afraid you will traumatize your children in some way, call for help. Don’t hesitate because your children’s present and future lives depend on it.
There are hotlines to call, (listed below) to talk to people who understand where you are in your desperation. If necessary, hospitals, fire departments, and police stations are places you can leave your child for their protection, no questions asked.
We Are All In This Together
This piece wouldn’t be complete if it didn’t add some words of comfort to parents and caregivers. Please remember, we are all in this together.
Reassurance isn’t only needed for children right now. Many parents are left with a household of bored children and may have been laid off from their job to shelter in place. These two factors and others combined can leave parents full of anxiety and fear for the future.
The virus will eventually either run its course or be defeated. Scientists and medical professionals all around the globe are working day and night to find a vaccine to end this nightmare. Things will eventually return to normal and you and your family will survive and perhaps even become closer because of the virus.
“Pain is a pesky part of being human, I’ve learned it feels like a stab wound to the heart, something I wish we could all do without, in our lives here. Pain is a sudden hurt that can’t be escaped. But then I have also learned that because of pain, I can feel the beauty, tenderness, and freedom of healing. Pain feels like a fast stab wound to the heart. But then healing feels like the wind against your face when you are spreading your wings and flying through the air! We may not have wings growing out of our backs, but healing is the closest thing that will give us that wind against our faces.” ~ C. Joybell C.
Some of the hotlines below are not strictly for parents or caregivers who are worried about the safety of their children. However, they may still be relevant to your situation.
Phone: 800.4.A.CHILD (800.422.4453)
People They Help: Child abuse victims, parents, concerned individuals
Child Sexual Abuse
Darkness to Light
Phone: 866.FOR.LIGHT (866.367.5444)
People They Help: Children and adults needing local information or resources about sexual abuse
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Phone: 800.799.SAFE (800.799.7233)
Video Phone Only for Deaf Callers: 206.518.9361
People They Help: Children, parents, friends, offenders
Help for Parents
National Parent Helpline®
Phone: 855.4APARENT (855.427.2736) (available 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., PST, weekdays)
People They Help: Parents and caregivers needing emotional support and links to resources
National Human Trafficking Hotline
People They Help: Victims of human trafficking and those reporting potential trafficking situations
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Phone: 800.950.NAMI (800.950.6264) (available 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., ET, weekdays)
People They Help: Individuals, families, professionals
Child Find of America—Mediation
Phone: 800.A.WAY.OUT (800.292.9688)
People They Help: Parents (abduction, prevention, child custody issues)
Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN)
Phone: 800.656.HOPE (800.656.4673)
People They Help: Rape and incest victims, media, policymakers, concerned individuals
National Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Information Center
People They Help: Families, professionals, media, policymakers, concerned individuals
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Phone: 800.273.TALK (800.273.8255)
TTY: 800.799.4TTY (800.799.4889)
People They Help: Families, concerned individuals