COVID-19 Resources for Children/Families
 
 
Thank You Notes for Pre-School Teachers
Download here
 
Thank You Notes for Teachers
Download here
 

They're Not Too Young To Talk About Race
Download here
 

Discussing Current Events With Children 
From @coronamorah 

Wearing a Mask – Social Story from ASERT – Autism Services, Education, Resources & Training

Social story regarding wearing a face mask
Download here
Available in Chinese, Russian, Spanish, & other languages here:  
https://paautism.org/resource/wearing-mask-social-story/
 

 
Save-A-Life: Safety Activity Book by Jack Jaffa & Associates
Virtual Book- Stay at Home Coloring Book
English Version: download here
Spanish and other language versions: https://www.dalmaus.com/mision-quedarse-en-casa
 
 
Staying Home Can Be Fun:  Social Story by Perry Binet of The Yaldeinu School
 
The Story of the Oyster and the Butterfly: The Corona Virus and Me – by Ana Gomez
It incorporates a message of post traumatic growth. It also includes the idea that this affects us all, connects us all, and that we are agents of and need co- regulation. 
 
 
Trinka and Sam:  Fighting the Big Virus by The National Child Traumatic Stress Network 

https://piploproductions.com/trinka-and-sam-virus/
Also Translated into Spanish (Chinese translation in process)

 
COVIBOOK- to support and reassure children about Covid-19.  By Manuel Molina and MindHeart Kids

download in English here
https://www.mindheart.co/descargables
Translated into multiple languages, including Spanish, Hebrew, Chinese and Russian
 
 
First Aid for Feelings, produced by Scholastic

 
Coping during the COVID-19 Pandemic- A Guide for Families with Children with Autism
 

Resources for Mental Health Professionals
Guidelines for Tele-health Play Therapy

By Raizel Keilson, Clinical Supervisor, OHEL
download here
 

 
Ten Tips to Reduce Isolation, Promote Connection
and Make the Pesach of COVID-19 Special at Home
By: Tzivy Reiter, LCSW
Director of Children’s Services, OHEL
 
These are extraordinary times.  We are all celebrating a Pesach that we never imagined was possible.  A Seder table without grandparents, a chol hamoed without trips, a Yom Tov that has been preceded with unimaginable stress and pain.  Yet Pesach is upon us.  Our children are watching, listening and expecting us to show them the way.  How can we make this Pesach special, despite all the stress and uncertainty?  How can we include our grandparents, relatives and friends in our Yom Tov celebrations, even though we are forced apart?   Here are Ten Tips to make this Pesach special and keep us connected to our loved ones during the Pesach of Covid-19. 
 
  1. Make an early virtual Seder with young children and grandparents isolated at home. Consider it a dress rehearsal for the highlights of the Seder.   Let the grandparents see their kids in their yom tov clothes, hear the Ma Nishtana, and have a memory to draw upon when they have to do it later that night alone.
 
  1. Send a care package to grandparents in advance of the Seder.  Include drawings, letters, divrei torah, even Pesach jokes that they can read at their actual Seder.  You can email this if it can’t be delivered.
 
  1. Have an extended family zoom call on Erev Pesach, giving chizuk to those alone and sending them extra love and care to sustain them throughout the first days of the Chag
 
  1. Place a photo of loved ones at your table so they can be represented even though they can’t be there physically. Talk about a memory of when they participated in Seder’s past.  Ask them to write you a message that you can read at the Seder    Let your kids know that just because someone is not there physically, they are still very much a part of your family and a part of your Seder 
 
  1. Practice gratitude:  Print out OHEL’s Smile Club printables, including Magical Matzohs, which prompts kids to list 3 things they’re grateful for.  Read them at the Seder  https://www.wizadjournal.com/ohel-covid19/?id=4770
 
  1. For the little ones:  Read books with your children like “The Invisible String” by Patrice Karst, that teaches the idea that we are connected by invisible strings of love that are much more powerful than anything tangible. 
 
  1. Prepare some photo albums to look at over Yom Tov.  Kids love to look at pictures of themselves as babies, and of their parents and grandparents when they were younger.  This is something we rarely have the time to do.  It’s a great way to pass the time, and gives the opportunity to relate family stories and anecdotes around the photos.  More importantly, it will create feelings of connection and positivity that your children will cherish for years to come.
 
  1. Give your children something new and exciting to look forward to each day.  This can be a new game or toy that you will play together, or a Yom Tov Party with a snack they haven’t tasted before. 
 
  1. There are many wonderful virtual entertainment options that have been widely circulated.  There are lots of opportunities, for virtual trips to the zoo, the aquarium, farm, concerts and more.  Or you can do something simple such as going camping in your living room or doing a family Chopped challenge.  Be creative and model for your children that you are capable of making lemonade out of lemons.  More important than the actual entertainment venue, is the art of presence.   They will long remember the family hunkered down together at home, spending attuned and focused time together, more than the actual activity.
 
  1.   Create a jar, for each member of your family to place a “coupon” for one activity, outing or trip they would like to take.  Let them know that this coupon will be redeemed as soon as you are able to.  This gives kids hope and reminds them that every crisis has a beginning, a middle and an end.  Covid-19, too, will have an end.  Better todays will come again.
 

 
 
Dr. Norman Blumenthal, the Zachter Family Chair in Trauma and Crisis Response for OHEL, is offering the following summary of his recent webinars on maintaining and imparting appropriate levels of alarm and managing confinement.  
 
MANAGING ANXIETY AND WORRY
  • Your anxiety should be commensurate with the risk that exists and mobilized to take responsible action
  • You should be in control of your anxiety and not your anxiety in control of you.
  • Be properly informed screening for both alarmist and minimizing messages and postings.
  • Make sure you have a handle on the situation before you address it with your children
  • Be aware that scared children, especially young, are more responsive to your body language and voice tone than what you say. Impart caution but control by how you communicate not just words you use
  • Model proper caution and hygiene
  • Avoid cynical remarks or jokes that would diminish the importance of this current crisis
  • Do not get overly angry or overwrought if a child fails to practice proper hygiene or precaution but gently remind
  • Remind yourself and family that, as has been the case with comparable communal emergencies, this will likely have a beginning, middle and end. It will not last forever.
  • Try to extract from this hardship lessons in life, future resolutions or other potential sources of growth in order to at least diminish the tension and pain.
 
PRE-SCHOOL AGED CHILDREN
  • Children under six are most likely to touch one’s face and mouth without washing their hands.
  • Teach them proper hygiene in a more playful fashion using mnemonics, jingles or many of the coloring book or cartoon like publications that promote such practices.
  • Walk them through and dress rehearse proper hand washing, use of tissues and the like.
  • Children this age do not need more than minimal explanations or rationales for these instructions since they are used to adults demanding of them cooperation for behaviors that don’t necessarily make much sense to them.
  • Heap praise for proper behavior since parental approval is more important to them than the particular reasons for these behaviors.
  • It probably makes little sense to suggest that something is “rare” since these children lack the awareness of the breadth of time and space to understand
 
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AGED CHILDREN
  • Children about 6-12 can understand the reason for these new precautions and the idea of something being rare but rapidly contagious posing a potential risk.
  • Most should comply with hygienic practices with some exceptions (see below)
  • They are often most interested in facts and details which is age typical and should be addressed to the extent that they ask.
  • They also should be assured that there were no culprits or ill-intended individuals who caused this to occur since that would also be typical for this age
 
TEENAGERS
  • Teens will probably be well informed and mature enough to be self-motivated regarding hygienic practices.
  • They in particular need to be reminded to keep a perspective on what they read on the internet and social media. They should be cautioned to only trust responsible sources and avoid a hysteria that can be fostered by the relentless repetition and escalation that social media propagates.
  • They may approach the alarming approach with cynicism or doubts. It is best not to get into lengthy debates or arguments but simply highlight the urgency of these times.
  • Tending to be idealistic, they may resonate well with the notion that much of what we are doing is to protect some of the more vulnerable members of our community.
  • It is probably ill-advised to cast this crisis as divine retribution or in a political template as teens may be inclined to do. If they present with such perspectives, it may be best to suggest that such insight is usually best acquired when the crisis subsides.
 
CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL CONSIDERATION
  • Children with impulsive tendencies (e.g. ADHD) will have a harder time with confinement and remembering to pause and apply necessary hygienic practices. For them repeated simple instruction and role playing would be indicated.
  • Anxious children or those with obsessive compulsive tendencies may exhibit excessive worry or relentless precautionary measures (e.g. hand washing) that are not only unnecessary but even harmful. They have to be strongly curtailed and more assured of the relative safety that still exists.
  • Oppositional children or those not receptive to fear or intimidation, need to have the potential dangers and risks more highlighted.
  • Unique situations such as cognitively challenged children or those on the autistic spectrum should consult with their treatment personnel and experts.
 
QUARANTINE:
  • Research demonstrates that confinement is a stressful situation the effects of which can linger beyond the isolation.
  • Stimulation and social interaction is a basic human need the deprivation of which is potentially harmful
  • Families should try to maintain as much routine, structure and remote interpersonal contact as possible.
  • A schedule should be established with planned activities, on-line school instruction, interspersed with times for unstructured play, exercise, yoga. reading or the like.
  • Without minimizing the actual hardship and concern, try to maintain an upbeat and loving atmosphere in the home with no more chores or schoolwork than had previously in place.
  • Both adults and children should have scheduled on line gatherings during which they can reconnect, share ideas for activities and even compare art projects and the like.
  • There have been many suggested activities and literature posted on line which families should readily but judiciously access.
  • Pre-existing conditions or inclinations such as anxiety can get exacerbated by the stress of confinement. Similarly, interpersonal friction such as sibling rivalry can reach a feverish pitch when people are confined. A period of crisis is not a time to cure or remediate these problems. Managing such challenges until the crisis has subsided is recommended which can include keeping family members separated, temporarily introducing medication or forms of stress inoculation that can be rapidly and effectively implemented.
 
OHEL is providing remote crisis counseling that can be scheduled by writing to copingwithcovid19@ohelfamily.org .  
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