World Children’s Day promotes international togetherness and awareness among children worldwide, with an aim to improve children’s welfare. This year has been especially challenging, as the world implemented unprecedented restrictions to contain the spread of COVID-19. Children have had to mentally and physically adapt to a new lifestyle where virtual communication, social distancing and physical isolation has become the new norm. The IFRC Reference Centre for Psychosocial Support has compiled numerous materials and guidances on how to help children understand the coronavirus, and to help them cope with and adjust to a new restricted lifestyle.
It is crucial to involve parents and caregivers throughout this process, and to provide them with guidance on how to communicate about COVID to children, and how to address their new daily routines and habits regarding socialization and physical distance.
Child Friendly Activity Cards Acknowledging the need to provide tools and guidance to children and their parents and caregivers, the IFRC Psychosocial Centre in collaboration with World Vision created a set of Child Friendly Activity Cards, more than 20 activities designed especially for children who are in lock-down or have limited access to school and other institutions. The activities are designed to help children have fun, learn ways to be emotionally healthy, and to practice new skills. All the activities can be done individually or with a small group of 2 to 3 people at home or in any suitable place.
” When disasters happen, the better psychosocial skill you have, the better you cope. Children develop social skill through play and when they share ideas and emotions with others. We hope that these activity cards can help children cope with the challenge of having limited access to friends, school or other recreational institutions they have otherwise been used to in their lives.”, says Ea Suzanne Akasha, Technical Advisor at the IFRC Psychosocial Centre and co-author of the activity cards.
The story of the making of My Hero is You as an animation Movie.
My Hero is You
A story of hope of emerged in the midst of COVID-19. To help children understand, cope and adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings (IASC MHPSS RG) created the children’s book My Hero is You. It started as a book that was based on the feedback of 1700 children, parents, caregivers and teachers from around the world, who shared how they were coping with the pandemic.
It has since been translated into more than 130 languages and adapted into various forms of expressions, such as animated films, puppet show radio adaptations and podcasts. This video highlights the global collaboration that went into the making of My Hero is You, and the positive influence it has had on children around the world who are learning how to cope with the new norms from the coronavirus.
“It’s a publicly owned book that we wanted people to embrace and to adapt it to their particular settings. It doesn’t just exist as a book now, and I think that’s also the beautiful thing about the product. The content is in the book, but there’s been multiple spin-offs.” says Sarah Harrison, technical advisor at the PS Centre, Co-Chair of the IASC Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings and co-author of the book.
Sarah Harrison tells about the making of the children’s book My Hero is You.
‘Moving Towards Children as Partners in Child Protection in COVID-19 Guide: From Participation to Partnerships’ COVID-19 has limited various forms of communication, which has been particularly challenging for child-focused organizations that have been forced to engage with children on virtual platforms. CP AoR, CPC Learning Network, IICRD, IFRC and UNICEF have shared a guide on how to safely and effectively communicate with children throughout the pandemic. This guide initially provides quick tips on how to engage with children in the context of COVID-19.
Despite COVID-related limitations, children have embraced innovative responses and demonstrated leadership through child-adult partnerships. To highlight child-led and child-centric initiatives that have emerged throughout the pandemic, CPC Learning launched the ‘Spotlight Series: Children as Leaders and Partners in COVID-19’. This series of videos portrays creative examples of child-led initiatives during COVID-19. All videos are available with English, Arabic, French, and Spanish captions.
The Simple, Calming Act of Blowing Bubbles For children all over the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has been the source of stress, anxiety and constant uncertainty. Many children face new hardships as they are forced to distance themselves from their friends and loved ones.
When in distress, a simple breathing exercise can ease the mind, and calm a child through the act of blowing soap bubbles. The lungs effortlessly empty and fill up with air by just blowing bubbles. Bubble blowing is associated with fun activities and it keeps the child’s attention on positivity rather than worries and uncertainty.