You read Anna and the Germ that Came to Visit, now continue the conversation with these free resources for children...
Join the Facebook Group: Helping Parents, Kids, and Teachers- Coronavirus and Beyond
"Draw Your Feelings With Anna"
Downloadable Coloring Pages
"Dance in the Kitchen" With Anna
Listen to the Song Inspired by the Book
"Hey, Germ...Go Away!"
by The Zibbitzz
20 Second "Wash Your Hands" Mix
Sing Along with Anna as You Wash Your Hands
How to Help Children Cope Through the Pandemic
First and foremost, Remember that the most important thing you can do for your child is create a feeling of safety!
1. Control your own anxiety- Children are emotional sponges. They will pick up your feelings as parents: anxiety, fear, frustration, irritability, sadness, boredom and confusion. They won’t have the cognitive ability to understand it, or the language to describe what they are feeling. They may act out the emotions they pick up from you.
2. Keep them in contact with loved ones virtually.
3. Take care of them physically. Make sure they get adequate sleep, healthy nutrition, and exercise. Educate them to hand washing (20 seconds- you can use the handwashing song on this page). Teach them not to touch their face, eyes, nose, and mouth.
4. Keep routines and schedules as normal as possible. Waking, sleeping, bath time, mealtime, schoolwork, phone calls, and time together as a family.
5. Ask children what they know, have heard and what they are concerned about.
6. Be open and honest with children. Modify what you share so it is age appropriate.
7. Validate their feelings and concerns. Identify what they are feeling, normalize their feelings, encourage them and reassure them. They will be grieving losses. Loss of connection to friends, loved ones/grandparents, playtime outside of the home, school, teachers, and normalcy they are used to. It will be normal to feel : bored, sad, scared, confused, mad, lonely, and happy at times.
8. Model behavior for them. Examples: Washing hands, wearing masks, talking about feelings.
9. Give lots of affection, reassurance, and positive reinforcement.
10. Spend quality time with them. Be creative with play, family time, camping in the backyard, picnics in the backyard, making meals together, playing games together, fun art projects. Include the children in coming up with creative ways to spend time alone and as a family.
Young children may show signs of regressive behavior.
They may act out their anxiety. They may be more clingy and needy. They may need more nurturing. Be patient. Provide positive reinforcement. Teach them how to wash their hands. Provide structure and routine.
School age children will have better understanding but may still be confused.
Provide structure, schedules and routine. Keep communication lines open. Validate and reassure them. They may not open up about how they are feeling. Don’t assume that because they aren’t talking about their feelings, they are not experiencing anxiety. Spend one on one special time with them. Provide positive reinforcement. They may also show signs of regressive behavior.
Teens may become more irritable.
Be patient and understanding. Encourage them to talk about what they are feeling and how it is impacting their life. Allow them to stay in contact with peers online and by phone. Be more lenient on limits on their electronic time. Their social connection is very important at this age. Encourage they stick to schedules and routines as well. Provide positive reinforcement. Encourage healthy nutrition, sleep schedules, and meals with family.
How to Stay Mentally Healthy While Staying at Home
A. Be aware of "stressors". These "stressors" are what most people are struggling with now. Understand these are normal and most will be temporary:
1. Infection fears
2. Financial loss/ loss of job
3. Inadequate supplies
4. Children and partners at home 24/7
5. Feeling powerless/helpless
7. Lack of routine/schedule
8. Homeschooling children
9. Concern for loved ones - Especially elderly friends and relatives and those living alone
B. What look for in yourself and loved ones
1. Increased symptoms of anxiety
2. Increased emotional reactivity/irritability/frustration/ aggression/arguing
3. Changes in sleep patterns- too much or too little
4. Increased signs of depression
5. Social isolation (not staying connected by phone or virtually to friends and loved ones)
6. Signs of PTSD
7. Disruption of routine
8. Vicarious trauma from all the images and news reports
9. Boredom / lack of interest
C. What you can do to help yourself
1. Focus on your physical health and keep your immune system strong Eat healthy and take vitamins and supplements as prescribed; get adequate sleep; get some exercise -can use TV, video games, you tube ;find ways to stay centered - yoga, meditation, music
2. Stick to a routine and schedule as much as possibIe Sleep; mealtimes; school work for children; if working from home, hours you work and timing for breaks
3. Plan things to do daily - Be creative! Work on projects you didn’t have time for before; art projects; Gardening; Organizing; Fun things to do with the kids; Paperwork
4. Limit exposure to the News or negative information from others
5. Stay socially connected to loved ones - Virtually by phone; FaceTime; Skype; Facebook; virtual Happy hours; virtual parties; brunches
6. Watch your level of irritability/ frustration/emotional reactivity
7. Be creative with family and children (and include them in planning!) Camping in the backyard; picnics in the backyard; take walks in the neighborhood; play board games; create skits; water play in the backyard; make meals together
8. Watch the use of Alcohol, tobacco and drugs to cope
9. Contact a professional if you don’t feel you are able to cope, feel overwhelmed, can’t manage your emotions, or signs of depression or anxiety last longer than two weeks.
The CDC has noted the people should lookout for the following signs of distressed mental health:
*Increased fear and worry about your own health or that of your family and friends
*Changes in sleep or eating habits
*Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
*Worsening of chronic health problems
*Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
Research studies of quarantined patients during the SARS epidemic showed that between 10-29% of that population suffered from PTSD.
Information contained anywhere on this website or in the book, "Anna and the Germ that Came to Visit" is meant to be informational only, and not meant to diagnose or treat any medical or mental health condition. Consult a medical or mental health professional for help whenever necessary. Please see our disclaimer for more information.