Early Years News and Events
Children’s well-being is without doubt at the core of the Early Years Foundations Stage (EYFS), and certainly a significant issue for all of us. But what does well-being means for children and how this can impact on the way that they develop? It is recognised that well-being in its simplest term as the quality of life, how we perceive ourselves to be coping with situations and how well our lives are going. However, well-being is much more than the quality of life, it also recognises how an individual recognises their own ability to deal with a situation and then to progress with their day after it, there is a mental health capacity towards well-being that can make lasting impressions on children which can move into an adult life with them. Well-being is a crucial element of development that can not necessarily be targeted and that each child may respond to differently, depending on their own development at that point in time. By supporting your child and increasing resilience and emotional development they will begin to recognise how to deal with their own well-being. They will learn techniques that may stay with them into their adult lives and impact on their future lives.
With regard to your child’s well-being and the coronavirus outbreak I thought it may be helpful to highlight the following:
Talking to children about COVID-19
The following information may help children cope with at this difficult time. Children will react to and follow your verbal and non-verbal cues. If you are able to stay informed and realistic, it will be easier for you to reassure children effectively as well. Children need factual, age-appropriate information about COVID-19 so that they can also feel informed and in control. They need to know how they can play a part in avoiding infection and the spread of virus. They also need to feel that any fears that they may have can be talked about and addressed.
Reassure your children
If no one in your family has COVID-19 nor has had close contact with anyone with COVID-19, emphasise to your children that they and your family are fine. Remind them that the right people are working hard to keep us safe. Let your children talk about their feelings, and help reframe their concerns into the appropriate perspective. You know your children best. If they have a lot of questions, consider how much extra information would or wouldn’t be helpful for them to know before replying.
If your child is anxious
- Try offering children simple choices to help give them a feeling of being in control. Would they like to use the red towel or the white towel to dry their hands? Spend some time together – would they like to do a puzzle or listen while you read a story? Make sure that you choose options that are both acceptable for you, so there is no chance of getting into a power struggle.
- Help them do some deep breathing exercises. (This works for adults too.) Gently hold their thumb with your hand, have them breathe slowly in and out, and count out loud, “1”. Move your hand to hold their pointer finger, have them breathe slowly in and out, and count “2”. Move to your hand to hold their middle finger, have them breathe slowly in and out, and count “3”, and so on. You can move across just one hand and count to “5”, or both hands to count to “10”. Can they do it for you? Can they learn to do it for themselves? Can they lie on the floor with their hand on their tummy and feel their breathe move in and out? You can ask your child if there are any other strategies that they know and use.
Making yourself available
- Children may need extra attention from you, and may want to talk about their concerns, fears, and questions. Make time for them.
- Tell them you love them, and give them plenty of affection.
Be patient; children do not always talk about their concerns readily. Watch for clues that they may want to talk, such as hovering around while you do the dishes or work. It is very typical for younger children to ask a few questions, return to playing, then come back to ask more questions. Often they will ask the same questions again and again as they try to make sense of things – keep your answers simple, truthful and age appropriate. Children will be reassured by your consistent responses. When sharing information, provide facts calmly, remind children that adults are working to address this concern, and give children actions they can take to protect themselves.
Maintaining as normal a routine as possible
- Keep to a regular, predictable routine at home to help show your child that nothing changes there.
- Play games with your child, enjoy craft activities and use your garden.
- Use online activities. Twinkl are offering a month’s FREE access, it’s great for good ideas and resources – www.twinkl.co.uk
Review and model basic hygiene and healthy lifestyle practices
- Talk about what you and your children can do to help prevent infection.
- Wash hands multiple times a day for at least 20 seconds each time (singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star or Happy Birthday slowly takes about 20 seconds) and dry hands thoroughly.
- Cover their mouths with a tissue when they sneeze or cough, and throw away the tissue immediately; or have them sneeze or cough into the bend of their elbow.
- Do not share food or drinks.
- Practice giving fist or elbow bumps instead of handshakes. Fewer germs are spread this way.
- Discourage the child from touching their eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Encourage your child to eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly to develop a strong immune system for fighting off illness.
Stay safe everyone, and remember that if we follow the Government guidelines we will beat this pandemic as quickly as we can.