School of Education

A smiling Dr Jool Page

Let’s shield our children from COVID-19 anxiety

In a recent interview with Nursery World, Senior Early Years Lecturer, Dr Jools Page has urged that carers “Be mindful of what you say in children’s earshot and keep news bulletins to a minimum.”

Young children should be protected from seeing high levels of distress wherever possible during the Coronavirus pandemic.

In the interview, she said: “‘Children need to know that those they love and trust to provide them with reassurance and security during times of uncertainty will continue to do exactly that.

“However, it can be easier said than done as the adults around them will be trying to come to terms with these strange new circumstances we are all in.”

Dr Page advised adults to use simple language to respond to children’s questions, which may be multiple, in a way that is not alarming: “Don’t be afraid to say if you don’t know the answer, or find it out together.”

Dr Page said young children have always relied on their key adults to support them through their life transitions and to be their constant source of reassurance through periods of uncertainty – a fact that remains right now.

“Children may feel a sense of loss that they are not seeing grandparents, friends or carers, but parents should talk about them and reassure them they are still there. Children are very adaptable when they feel safe, secure and loved, so when physical contact from trusted adults beyond the immediate household is in short supply, then young children need to know that those important people remain in their lives and that they still love them and hold them in mind even when they are not together.

“Even though we may be physically distanced, we can still be socially connected and present for each other and for young children by communicating via online mediums.

“It is absolutely true to say we are living in unprecedented times, but in many ways the more things change, the more children stay the same. Young children have always relied on their key adults to support them through their life transitions and to be their constant source of reassurance through periods of uncertainty – a fact that remains right now.”

Christina Camm • April 21, 2020


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