Continuing the Conversation on Caring for Children During COVID-19 and Other Emergencies

Whether you and your family are still working and attending school from home, going in for only a few days out of the week and have a new hybrid model, or are back to heading into the office or school full time, each of our professional and personal lives has been fundamentally transformed this year. The ways we work with others, provide support and communicate changes each day. And with each new day, we continue to adapt and learn both in our own lives and in our interactions with others.

COVID-19 is just one of the disasters and hazards families and communities are now facing. The Military Families Learning Network has been creating programming dedicated to these major changes, and our recently launched Military Family Readiness Academy focuses on strengthening families for disaster and hazard readiness.  A recent blog post from Military Caregiving, “Dealing with Hazards & Disaster: Lessons from the Military Family Readiness Academy” shares key takeaways from the first webinar session in our 2020 inaugural MFRA. 

Our Family Development and Family Transitions teams recently collaborated with Sesame Street in Communities for a podcast and webinar to explore resources and strategies to best support children and their families during COVID-19 and other emergencies. For our podcast episode, “Sesame Street: Traumatic Experiences and Resilience with Rocio Galarza| Anchored Episode 21,” our conversation focused on resilience and traumatic experiences, and the current work Sesame Street is doing to support families and children.

Our 90-minute webinar session, “Sesame Street and You: Caring for Each Other During COVID-19 and Other Emergencies,” explored how providers and caregivers can approach current challenges with trauma-informed care by using Sesame Street resources and strategies. The key concepts discussed focused on prevention, learning from home, and providing emotional support.

Sesame Street in Communities

Prevention

Having conversations with children about prioritizing their own health and wellness creates opportunities to teach some best prevention strategies. Discussing actions like washing hands often and being mindful around others, especially when sneezing and coughing, can empower children on what actions they can take to help maintain the health of themselves and those around them. As Sabrina notes in the webinar, “when you take care of yourself, you’re taking care of others.”

Learning at Home

As the delivery of education has shifted and the lines of home and school have blurred, parents have also taken on new roles. A major strategy for successfully learning at home is to keep routines. Designating a space just for learning and working together to figure out a schedule that works best for every person in the family can help in creating and keeping routines. Discussing what each member of the family needs and checking in often builds comfort for each family member.

Emotional Support

Figuring out how to best offer support to children is different for each of the roles in one’s life. When you get online and turn on the radio or television, the messaging and news can be scary. Meeting children at their level by finding developmentally appropriate ways to talk to them is the best way to approach these big topics. Doing simple actions with them, like taking deep breaths or wrapping their arms around themselves, can create small ways to help calm and provide comfort to children.

Utilizing Sesame Street’s Resources 

Watch the archived recording of the webinar to learn how Sesame Street’s array of resources can be used to address each of these concepts. For providers working on professional development, continuing education credits are still available for the “Sesame Street and You: Caring for Each Other During COVID-19 and Other Emergencies” webinar!

Join MFLN as we continue to build on the foundational concept of readiness during times of crisis and disasters by RSVP’ing for our October 28th webinar, “Impacts and Responses in Disaster and Hazard Readiness.” You can also watch the first MFRA webinar, “Disaster and Hazard Readiness 101,” and obtain CE credit for that session now. As we continue the MFRA in winter of 2020 and into 2021, sign up for our MFRA mailing list so you don’t miss the professional development opportunities we will continue to provide!

Photo: Sesame Street in Communities 

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