Handling COVID-19 information in a healthy manner
Children and adults watching the news, reading content on-line and in newspapers, and overhearing others talk about the current coronavirus pandemic, may feel scared, confused, or anxious. Some may react right away, while others may show signs that they are having a difficult time later. Every person can support wellness and healing by providing, teaching, and implementing the following five resilience strategies:
Sense of Safety
- It is difficult to overcome adversity and achieve success when we are experiencing fear and feel threatened. A sense of safety is not only about being physically safe, it is about physical, emotional, environmental, and financial safety. If we feel as if our loved ones are also threatened, then our sense of safety remains compromised.
- Routines are very important for students. Disasters, forced isolation, and stressful situations often result in disrupted routines. Creating new routines or re-establishing usual routines can help students feel safe.
- Students need to be able to express and communicate their feelings in a safe and supportive environment. Every student has their own way of expressing emotions. Sometimes engaging in a creative activity, such as playing, drawing, or journaling can facilitate this process.
- Maintain a sensitive and caring environment. Students need adult support and further attention during difficult or stressful times.
- Adults can provide comfort, stability, and predictability to students during times of crisis and uncertainty.
Ability to Calm
- Students take their cues from the adults around them. How adults react to a crisis or emergency is important.
- It is important for adults to be aware of their reactions and to be calm, listen to students be compassionate, and offer reassurance.
- Practice taking a deep breath to calm
Self-efficacy and community efficacy
- It is important for students to engage in help-seeking behavior. They need to develop and use this skill. Moreover, it is crucial that students understand that “if something unpredictable happens, I can count on my school community to support and help me heal.”
- Fear and anxiety about communicable diseases can lead to social stigma of people and places. Stopping stigma is important to helping communities and its members withstand and recover from stress.
- A positive relationship with an adult at home and school is one of the most important factors that builds resilience. It develops a sense of belonging, contributes to social-emotional well being, and contributes to academic success.
- Providing opportunities to list and be present for students to express emotions is helpful.
- Minimize exposure to media that might promote fear or panic.
- Provide factual information about what is going on, and how to reduce risk, in age appropriate language.
- Stay informed from credible sources such as, Los Angeles Department of Public Health, and Centers for Disease Control (see resources below).
- Current events may leave many feeling fear, overwhelmed, and vulnerable. The uncertainty may create feelings of desperation and hopelessness for the future.
- Show children how they can play a role in their own safety (e.g., show them effective handwashing, covering their cough, social distancing).
- It is important that adults in schools maintain calm and be optimistic for the future. Allowing students to express themselves and feel empowered in their lives and the decisions they make are important, as well as communicating high expectations for their academic success and well-being.
- LA Department of Public Health
- Centers for Disease Control
- Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope With the Coronavirus Disease 2019
- Safe Kids Inc. COVID-19 H.E.R.O. Companion Guides for Parents
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