Coronavirus – Helping Children To Stay Safe

Many children are worried about the Coronavirus (also known as Covid-19), and as parents, other family members, or children’s and youth workers we are likely to be worried about how to keep them safe. Much of the information circulating at the moment is scary and over-hyped and sensationalised and this can really upset children, especially children with additional needs who may struggle to comprehend what they are seeing and hearing. Image what they are thinking when they see people fighting over toilet rolls!

Here are some resources that you can use to help the children that you are in contact with, as well as some information that as adults gives you some background data.

For children (1):
A really helpful social story* resource has been put together by the Triple A Alliance (@TripleAAlliance), a social story that helps us to explain more about how to stay safe from Coronavirus to children:

Coronavirus - staying safe

Coronavirus - staying safe p2

*As with all social stories, those that have been written by others should only be used as a template. Every social story should be personalised for the people they are being written for if possible. If you want to find out more about how to create social stories, visit my friend Lynn McCann’s site here: https://www.reachoutasc.com/resources (scroll to the bottom for links to info on social stories).

For children (2):
For some really great and useful information, social stories, and symbols/graphics from the Widget website about Staying Safe from Germs and Washing Your Hands, click here for a free printable .pdf download:  Widget washing-your-hands

Widget graphicAnd here’s a great Widget resource to help children understand about school being closed:
School closed Widget social storyFor children (3):
And now that children are mostly home from school, here’s a resource to help parents to plan each day with their children through a visual timetable/planner. You can download the free printable .pdf download here:
Our day at home
Our day at home

For children: (4)
A great social story resource from MindHeart (@mindheart.kids) about the coronavirus that helps children to get to know about the virus a little bit.
You can download the free printable .pdf download social story here: Hello I’m Coronavirus
Hello I'm Coronavirus
For adults supporting children (1):
There are inspirational lesson plans, schemes of work, assessment, interactive activities, resource packs, PowerPoints, teaching ideas at Twinkl. Now Twinkl are offering free access to their site and resources to support you as you work with children at home:
Twinkle offer


For adults supporting children (2) (data updated 19-03-20):

There is so much hysteria and scaremongering going on at the moment, both thorough mainstream media channels bit especially on social media. As adults we need some facts that can inform and help us to help the children we are caring for, and so the folk at https://informationisbeautiful.net have put together a coronavirus infographic data pack, gathering the best scientifically-sourced charts in one place (all sources provided) and adding some of their own. This information is dated 31st March but updates are available from their website:
https://informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/covid-19-coronavirus-infographic-datapack/

corona-desktop-1.9-1

For adults supporting children (3):
These are some really helpful resources from the Council for Intellectual Disability in Australia, and are a great way of explaining coronavirus/covid-19 to teenagers or young adults with intellectual/learning disability:

Screenshot 2020-03-18 at 09.45.46
Staying safe from Coronavirus (free printable .pdf download):
Staying-safe-from-Coronavirus-council-intellectual-disability-Mar2020

Viruses and Staying Healthy (free printable .pdf download):
Viruses-staying-healthy-Council-Intellectual-Disability

For adults supporting children (4):
There is also an excellent prayer/office including Widget symbols provided by our friends Disability and Jesus, which you might like to look at and use at this time, especially if you are unable to get to church: http://anordinaryoffice.org.uk/index.php/covid-19/

Screenshot 2020-03-15 at 18.54.53I hope these resources and infographics help you to stay informed about coronavirus and to be able to inform and support the children you are engaged with, either as family or as children’s/youth workers, to stay safe and healthy. Let’s keep aware of the facts and look for more ways to protect and help rather than stockpiling toilet roll!

Mark
The Additional Needs Blogfather
11th March 2020, data updated 13th, 15th, 16th, 18th, 20th, 31st March 2020

Further resources are available on the Additional Needs Alliance website. Click here: https://additionalneedsalliance.org.uk/information/ then choose ‘Resources’ and ‘Our Time At Home’

See also:
Post Coronavirus: What Could The ‘New Normal’ Look Like?
https://theadditionalneedsblogfather.com/2020/04/06/new-normal/

Image rights © HeartMind, Triple A Alliance, Widget, Twinkl, informationisbeautiful.net, Council for Intellectual Disability (Australia) and Disability & Jesus

18 thoughts on “Coronavirus – Helping Children To Stay Safe

  1. Thanks Mark. However, I still feel to some extent that these resources perpetuate the attitude “it doesn’t matter because only old and disabled people will die.” When, in reality, it matters because a lot of old and disabled people will die! Likely more than sure to “other colds and flu” due to the lack of immunity in the population and lack of a vaccine at present. These people are vulnerable and we need to act individually and as a society to protect them. While panic and stockpiling doesn’t help anyone, complacency can be dangerous too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. These are just facts, there is no narrative that suggests that old and disabled people don’t matter. Everyone matters. It’s important that we understand the data rather than the hype. It’s the media that is giving people the views that you mention, not the data. The reason I am sharing this is to inform, to help educate, to avoid both hysteria and complacency and to help those of us that work with/are families of children to educate them. I hope that helps. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thing is though, the reassuring things people are putting out there are all “don’t worry, it only affects older people and those with underlying health conditions.” “You don’t need to worry” is very othering, if you are a child with an underlying medical condition.

        It’s not that you (or the facts) are saying the old and the disabled don’t matter. It’s the assumption that it will be reassuring to hear that most people don’t need to worry, when you are one of the people who possibly does need to worry. “Don’t worry, it’ll only affect you, not your friends” isn’t very reassuring.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Tia I understand your point although I don’t think the resources in this blog belittle the impact on e.g. older people, it highlights that they are more likely to be affected. That isn’t the same as saying it doesn’t matter. Overall it is trying to remove worry from children while rightly pointing out that they should ask their caregivers if they are unsure. As caregivers, it’s our job to do the worrying for them, and to reassure them as much as we can. My child is also one who has underlying medical conditions that could make him vulnerable, so I know how hard a line this is to navigate! 🙂

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  2. Thanks for this – especially the data and very much for the info for kids. I’m sending it to my daughter who works with kids and teens, and has a 3 1/2 year old of her own. I think my grandson will like that simple chart for kids and talk about it and understand it along with Mum!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I though part of the major concern is that they do not yet know that it will end in a few months? That they are watching cases in warmer countries try to predict if it will be seasonal. If so we should not be telling children this unless it is fact

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not a medical professional Andrea, and I don’t think even they know (or are telling us) what the longer-term prognosis is for this at the moment, but as a children’s worker I do know that children often struggle to see much beyond the next few days, so worrying them about what may or may not happen in a few months time (when we don’t know) seems unnecessary at this stage. It’s a fine line to walk though, and maybe this social story will need updating further on. As mentioned in the notes below, it’s a template to borrow from rather than a model to use with every child.

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