Unpacking feelings with kids around COVID-19

This is scary and confusing times. The impact on adults is huge and kids are not immune to this.

Our coordinator for emergency services chaplaincy explained some key differences like this; during an ordinary disaster – people pull together, people see where it is coming from (fire for example), people fear the disaster, people congregate, community is built. During a pandemic – people are forced apart, people can’t see it, people fear people, people isolate, community is broken.

This breakdown in community and trust of others exacerbates our anxiety and breeds fear. Children can be just as affected as we are.

David Goodwin from Kidsreach has been working with children who have been dealing with trauma for years. His work has led him to create a series of resources to help people – teachers, parents, support people, to support children who are surviving trauma.

This week they will be launching a new resource online that you can download for free to help children process what is happening in regards to COVID-19. This is like a first-aid resource to support children initially work through what is going on. Of course counselling may be needed as well to help in the processing!

All the resources come with a leaders guide. David says, “The workbook is designed for children to do with a listening adult, who will help the child talk about what is happening and how they feel.”

There are 10 steps for children to work through with an adult. Some key themes include: acknowledging that how they (young people) feel is OK; telling the truth is important; they need to feel safe; remember the good things; and doing things for others helps to build resilience.

For more details check out their site www.kidsreach.org.au.

Karen Mitchell-Lambert is ordained in the ministry of Deacon and is the team leader of PULSE.

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