As COVID-19 pandemic continues to expand in India and in the world, only one thing is certain: the current outbreak will have profound impact not only in the health and economic situation, but also on the psychosocial well-being of societies across nations. It is with the intention of addressing some of the effects of COVID-19 on the well being of the children, that UNICEF with CHILDLINE has worked on this publication, Psychosocial Support for Children during COVID-19 – A Manual for Parents and Caregivers. The purpose of this Manual is to provide parents, caregivers, support persons, and children and adolescent themselves, a tool that will enable them to understand what is COVID-19 and how it can be prevented, help them manage related stress, fear and anxiety, and recognize the increased risk of violence, which can help to them to stay safe. The Manual, which is designed for two different age cohorts: 6to10, and 11 to 19, contains activities and play methods to keep children engaged positively and provide them platforms to express their emotions.
As we have seen across the world in multiple situations of crisis, children being the most vulnerable are often the worst affected. In the context of COVID-19, this manual focuses on psychosocial care of children and prevention of violence in spaces where children stay (child care institutions, families, temporary isolation facilities, NGO shelters, etc.)
It is natural for children to feel stress, anxiety, grief, and worry during an ongoing pandemic like COVID-19. For those children and families who are subjected to quarantine or isolation there may be an increased risk of violence and abuse. When stress levels go up for adults and children, there is a greater risk of gender-based violence and other forms of violence against children.
This manual will help you:
- To understand the implications of the pandemic on the mental health and psychosocial wellbeing of children, including the increased risk of violence and abuse.
- To provide resources for caregivers to help engage with children positively and effectively.