Six ways to talk to Children about COVID-19
It may not always seem obvious, but children, like adults, experience fear and anxiety over the current situation. These children who have to stay at home, cannot go to school, and cannot play with their friends may experience distress. Save the Children Philippines calls on parents and guardians to observe and talk to children during this time as they may also experience fear or anxiety that manifests in many ways depending on their stage of development. Some of the common reactions of children to a stressful event are: clinging to parents or guardians; regression to younger behavior like thumb sucking or bedwetting; disturbances in sleeping or eating patterns; increased crying and irritability; and becoming withdrawn or hyperactive. Alberto Muyot, chief executive officer of Save the Children Philippines, said children have the right to age-appropriate information about the COVID-19 pandemic to help them understand the reason for the community quarantine that limits their mobility and to ease anxieties that they might be experiencing. “Sharing age-appropriate information about the COVID-19 pandemic will also help children understand that complying with mitigation measures will contribute to the national and global efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19,” he said. “While local government units implement precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19, these measures must be implemented with the best interest of the child in mind,” Muyot said as he called on the Department of Education and LGUs to implement comprehensive plans to enable remote learning for students who miss out on school, and ensure children will have access to appropriate care such as routine healthcare services in the event an adult caregiver requires hospitalization. Save the Children is conducting online consultations with children in resettlement sites in Pasay, Tanay, Rizal and Naic, Cavite to understand how mitigation measures such as class suspensions, community quarantine, and physical distancing are affecting their lives. The consultation will also promote awareness on personal hygiene, physical distancing, cough etiquette to children and their families to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.