With all schools being suspended due to COVID-19 resulting in students staying home,
education experts are encouraging parents and guardians to provide the necessary support to ensure that children feel safe, loved and supported.
“Families are handling the pressure of the pandemic differently, this isn’t the time where our
children need to be keeping up at the highest level of their academics. That is not what they are going to remember. They are going to remember how they felt during this period, if they felt safe, loved and supported,” stated Dr. Kim Scott, director of the Child Resiliency Programme, which is being administered by the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA).
“Yes, we would want them to maintain their academics standard but at the same time we should be realistic with our expectations and parents need to take it down a notch,” expressed Dr. Scott.
She made the suggestions while addressing the VPA’s online discussion entitled, ‘Peace in the Pandemic’, recently where she was a member of a panel. The discussion focused on how persons are coping with the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) as well as sharing positive initiatives locally that are working throughout the worldwide pandemic with regard to conflict resolution.
Under the theme, ‘Coping Mechanisms for Children in COVID-19’, the panel also included
Paul Messam, coordinator of the Child Resiliency Programme at the Young Men’s Christian
Association and Sheena Copeland, coordinator at Boys Town.
Mrs. Copeland, who is also a guidance counsellor, said the academics will come eventually but the stay-at-home requirements of COVID-19 presents a different scenario for learning. She suggests that while children try to keep up with school work, there should be no stress and parents should focus on supporting their children emotionally.
Meanwhile, Mr. Messam provided tips on how parents can assist children to cope with COVID-19, he said children should be encouraged to have a ‘Joy Journal’, where they can record their experiences that will bring them joy; listen to uplifting music; organise board games and bond with their families and think positively, which he said will aid with their mental state.
“Thinking negative can affect their mental health, which can cause anxiety and depression. We encourage them to get adequate rest in order to cope during this period,” he said.
The other ‘Peace in the Pandemic’ session is scheduled for May 27 at 5:00 p.m. The topic that will be explored include how women and men are coping during the pandemic. Persons are encouraged to log on to the VPA’s Facebook page at vpajamaica to listen and participate in the discussion.
Violence Prevention Alliance| Institute for Sustainable Development|3 Gibraltar Camp Way|
UWI, Mona| Kingston 7|Tele/fax: 702-2079| www.childresiliency.org www.vpajamaica.com;
May 21, 2020