Young people—including infants and toddlers—are keen observers of people and environments, noticing and reacting in response to stress in their parents, caregivers, peers and their community at large. They may ask direct questions about what is happening now or what will happen in the future and may behave differently in reaction to strong feelings like fear, worry, sadness and anger. Children can also worry about their own safety and the safety of their loved ones, how they will get their basic needs met, and the uncertainties with respect to the future beyond times of crisis.
What follows here is a road-map to this kind of release of stress and tension using practical activities that parents can add to their parental toolkit. Each short video incorporates ‘a call for playful action’, where opportunities for play, using ordinary household and store-cupboard materials such as cotton wool, newspapers, toilet roll, flour and rice, become the means through which each of the identified themes / challenges of the crisis can be met,
Video 1. Series Introduction Coping with Corona Coronavirus anxiety and how to talk about COVID-19 to children and teens
News of Coronavirus is everywhere, and understandably parents are concerned about how they can discuss the pandemic in a way that reassures rather than worries their children. In this video we help parents to identify how they can resource and regulate themselves so as to be available to co-regulate their own children’s experiences in challenging times like these. We will discuss the importance of initiating conversations with children and young people about the pandemic as a means of alleviating their concerns.
VIDEO 2. Alone, Together Creating opportunities for familial connection while keeping our distance
This video explores creative and playful ways for families to keep in touch during times of separation by acknowledging our innate desire for social connection. By acknowledging how social isolation can impact negatively on our mental health and wellbeing, we will look at strategies to support one another, stay connected with loved ones, within the family, and with those at a distance (grandparents, friends, significant others), while demonstrating how social connectedness improves children’s capacity for resilience in the face of adversity.
VIDEO 3. Challenging behaviour at Challenging Times The meaning beneath the behaviour
This video explores how children and young people’s challenging behaviours during times of crisis, can be linked to their body’s response to stress, and why this behaviour shouldn't be confused with intentional misbehaviour or defiance. We will explore the impact of stress in a practical and accessible way, and become curious behavioural detectives as we unearthing the true meaning and communication behind what is presented as challenging behaviour. We will find out what these kinds of behaviour can tell us about our child’s emotional state and how we can best support them, and us, in managing these overwhelming feelings.
VIDEO 4. The Comfort of Routine How to provide stability and consistency through playful presence in uncertain times. Children and young people can struggle with significant adjustments to their routines - such as creche, pre-school and school closures, social distancing, home confinement - which can interfere with their sense of structure, predictability and security.
This video will explore how the presence of a sensitive and responsive caregiver can support the repair of ruptures in routine Our primary message here is focused on creating a sense of felt safety for children. This basically means, how to provide reassurance in a doing rather than saying way. This type of play that creates felt safety reassures children that they can exhale and relax because there is someone bigger, stronger, wiser and kind who will take care of the big stuff for them.
VIDEO 5. Weathering the Storm - The Importance of nurture and the healing power of touch in parent-child relationships
This video focuses on the importance of human touch and nurturing as a means of deepening and sustaining important relationships through stressful events and circumstances. It’s a time to BE rather than DO - where we are offered a rare opportunity to strengthen connections within our families as ‘to do’ lists are shorter and there are less jobs to do like running kids to school or extracurricular activities and sports. We will focus on how this time creates potential to discover simple ways to reconnect with our children at any age.
VIDEO 6. Minding the Minder Self-care for parents in challenging times
This video will explore the ways in which parents can make use of the supports, resources and opportunities available them to ‘fill their emotional cup’. With many juggling work commitments alongside parenting responsibilities in the home. We look at the importance of establishing boundaried routines and making space for rest, restorative activities and relational connections to support parental wellbeing during this most demanding of times.
For more on Playful Parenting, ACTIVITIES we have 5 videos to show you how to make coloured rice; scented doughs; sensory slime; glitter globes and balloon squishies. Click here to watch.
For information on Dublin City South CYPSC Click here.