The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has upended life around the world with school closures, remote work arrangements, and physical distancing.
The crisis is a lot to navigate for everyone—including students, particularly children, who have a lot of questions and concerns about what’s happening.
Here are some tips from Unicef on how to help young students cope with the COVID-19 crisis:
- Talk about COVID-19
- Be willing to talk about the pandemic. Students already have heard something and honesty and openness will help them cope better. Provide them with facts about the disease, and tell them how staying at home and practicing proper hygiene can help. Refusing to discuss or recognize the pandemic will only make the situation more stressful for students.
2. Provide mental and psychological support
- Encourage children to discuss their questions and concerns. Explain that it is normal to have different reactions and encourage students to talk to teachers. For teachers, provide information in an honest, age-appropriate manner.
3. Be sensitive to vulnerable populations
- Consider the specific needs of children with disabilities, and how children from poor families may be feeling the effects of the pandemic harder than the others.
4. Teach and model good hygiene practices
- Teach children to practice good hygiene and guidelines from the World Health Organization such as frequent and proper handwashing, using alcohol-based sanitizers, wearing face masks, and eating healthy.
5. Encourage routines
- Keep regular routines and schedules as much as possible, or create new ones under the “new normal.” This would help ease and manage stress. Share information about what could happen in a reassuring way.
The pandemic is difficult for everyone, but talking to each other about it can help ease the fear and grief over uncertainty.
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