The topic that Kids Matter has most often been asked to discuss in resonse to coronavirus/lockdown is the impact of Covid-19 on vulnerable children. We’ve found that the discussion naturally evolves into four different sub-topics, which we have formulated into questions: What is the need? What is the opportunity? What is the challenge? What can we do? As you might expect, there is a lot to say! So, we have created a four-part written series to answer these questions, with insights from Dr Eli Gardner – clinical psychologist and director at Kids Matter. This is the second in the series – What is the opportunity, a continuation of What is the need?
In a medical review looking at the psychological impacts of quarantine observed in previous epidemics, the effects included: negative psychological impacts such as post-traumatic stress symptoms, confusion and anger, with key stressors including longer quarantine duration, infection fears, frustration, boredom, inadequate supplies, inadequate information, financial loss, and stigma. Sound familiar?
Whilst we are all likely concerned with key needs, such as our physical health and ensuring the most vulnerable receive basic supplies to survive such as food (as was particularly the case during lockdown), what is clear is that beyond those acute needs is a growing bank of chronic needs: those of our most vulnerable children who may well feel the impact of this crisis for possibly decades to come.
These needs need to be addressed.
But on a positive note, we do also hope that for some families, having extended time together has resulted in finding new ways to be with one another and learn more about each other. Where families have been supported with food and finances, it is more possible for them to have the emotional energy to be with their children and to try and engage in new ways.
What has been good too has been evidence of new joined up ways of working to ensure children get what they need, particularly between the statutory and voluntary sector, which will stand us in good stead going forwards. The pivoting that 80% of family and child interventions have done to Video and digital will reap great rewards going forwards (even in life outside of lockdown) as many more trainings and resources will be available and take up is likely to increase as everyone has become accustomed to using digital format for just about everything.
The importance of Family in general has risen to the centre of our attention as we have all had to engage with our families and we can empathise much more now with other families and parents who may have additional struggles. Plus, the plight of more disadvantaged children and families is much more front and centre, and will only continue to become so as the crisis is prolonged.
There is great opportunity here! To continue this conversation – to figure out how we address the wellbeing of our most vulnerable children – some further questions need to be answered:
What can we do?
CLICK ON THE LINKS to proceed with the discussion!
Kids Matter is a programme that engages with families and young children before crisis point – it strengthens families by giving mums and dads the tools to be competent, confident parents or caregivers. To get involved, as a volunteer or by financially supporting our programme, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org