We are unashamed advocates for the power of play in learning. The Philosophy and programs at Flinders are built on a foundation of play, which is supported by the Early Years Learning Framework, the National Quality Standard, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Given this, it is unsurprising that our answer to the questions; “How do I help my child manage their stress during the COVID-19 outbreak?” is “Let them play”. Play is widely recognised as an important physical, cognitive and emotional coping mechanism for children. Children are designed to play, and through play they learn many important ways of managing stress, develop resilience, and process difficult circumstances. Child-led play can be a powerful tool for supporting children’s wellbeing during this period of time. You can learn more about the power of play by listening to this podcast from Emerging Minds.
As much as we try to shelter young children from the stress and anxiety we may be feeling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is nigh on impossible to do so with the intense media saturation and significant day-to-day impacts communities are feeling. Children have found themselves spending more time at home, not seeing their family and friends, no longer participating in activities like swimming or dance, or even just going to the local playground. For many families, changes are more complex and significant. It can be hard to know the best way to manage information at times like this, how best to talk about the subject with children, or if we should at all. Even if we choose not to talk directly about the pandemic with children, they are likely to have recognised the changes and limitations that are occurring in their lives, and may also be overhearing or exposed to snippets of information. It is important to recognise that children do not have the same ability to understand and rationalise the reasons behind limitations placed on us at this time, and that children’s ability to co-regulate or self-regulate is highly dependent on the level of stress their special people are feeling. Emerging Minds is an Australian childhood mental health advocacy organisation, who have released some suggestions for talking about COVID-19 with children. Some of their key suggestions are listed below, and you can read more here and here. As with all resources, it is important toRead more