Given the current situation regarding the challenges that COVID-19 pose and the new Government guidelines coming into force, we wanted to update everyone in relation to HAY’s activities. Our priority is the health and wellbeing of our staff, volunteers, children, young people and the families who we work with. As a result, we have taken the decision to close all HAY activity sessions and workshops until further notice.
We will keep you up to date with what decisions HAY makes and the impact on our activities and workshops.
There is a lot of information available about this coronavirus (also known as Covid-19) and not all of it is correct or helpful. Please stick to the official advice from the government about coronavirus and what to do which is updated daily.
There is a lot of talk of older people being the most vulnerable. At the moment, the scientists are telling us that although children and young people aren’t getting very ill with coronavirus, they are still likely to be carriers and therefore could infect vulnerable people. For example, an infected grandchild who doesn’t appear ill, can infect a grandparent who is much more likely to become very ill. Please play your part and ensure that you are following the government advice about social distancing.
We know this is a worrying time for everybody and that you may feel more isolated at this time.
Here are a number of measures you and your family can take to maintain good mental wellbeing during this period:
We at HAY are exploring ways in which we might be able to support children, young people and families remotely during this period and will keep you updated.
Messages & activities for helping children deal with stress during the COVID-19 outbreak
- Encourage active listening and an understanding attitude with the children. Children may respond to a difficult/unsettling situation in different ways: clinging to caregivers, feeling anxious, withdrawing, feeling angry or agitated, having nightmares, bedwetting, frequent mood-changes, etc.
- Children usually feel relieved if they are able to express and communicate their disturbing feelings in a safe and supportive environment. Every child has his/her own way to express emotions. Sometimes engaging in a creative activity, such as playing and drawing can facilitate this process. Help children find positive ways to express disturbing feelings such as anger, fear and sadness.
- Encourage an increased sensitive and caring environment around the child. Children need adults’ love and often more dedicated attention during difficult times.
- Remember that children often take their emotional cues from the important adults in their lives, so how adults respond to the crisis is very important. It’s important that adults manage their own emotions well and remain calm, listen to children’s’ concerns and speak kindly to them and reassure them. If appropriate and depending on the age, encourage parents/caregivers to hug their children and repeat that they love them and are proud of them. This will make them feel better and safer.
- If possible, make opportunities for children to play and relax.
- Keep children close to their parents and family, if considered safe for the child, and avoid separating children and their caregivers as much as possible. If a child needs to be separated from his/her primary caregiver, ensure that appropriate alternative care is provided and that a social worker, or equivalent, will regularly follow up on the child. y If children are separated from their caregivers, ensure regular and frequent contact (e.g. via phone, video calls) and re-assurance. Ensure all child protection and safeguarding measures are addressed.
- Keep regular routines and schedules as much as possible or help create new ones in a new environment, including learning, playing and relaxing. If possible, maintain schoolwork, study or other routine activities that do not endanger children or go against health authorities. Children should continue to attend school if it is not a risk to their health.
- Provide facts about what is going on and give clear child-friendly information about how to reduce risk of infection and stay safe in words they can understand. Demonstrate to children how they can keep themselves safe (e.g., show them effective handwashing)
- Avoid speculating about rumours or unverified information in front of children.
- Provide information about what has happened or could happen in a reassuring, honest and age-appropriate way.
- Support adults/caregivers with activities for children during home isolation/ quarantine. Activities should explain the virus but also keep children active when they are not at school, for example:
- hand washing games with rhymes
- imaginary stories about the virus exploring the body
- make cleaning and disinfecting the house into a fun game
- draw pictures of virus/microbes’ that to be coloured by children
- explain person protective equipment (PPE) to children so that they are not scared
Source: WHO. Helping children cope with stress during the 2019-nCOV outbreak (Handout). WHO: Geneva, 2020.
Please do call the Project Managers who are remotely working and will continue to support you.
Bhavini Kotecha- 07725 858 199
Bijal Karavadra- 07793 210 283