Newsletter – July 2020
We at Child Health Connection know how hard you work and want to thank you for all you are doing to provide a safe environment for the children in your community. You deserve recognition for the impact the early childhood education industry brings to our way of living, the economy, and society as a whole. Without you, our children would not have important opportunities for education, socialization, and growth development. We know this has not been easy with all of the COVID-19 requirements you are asked to follow. You are doing an amazing job and it is our honor to help you in your efforts. We want to focus this month’s newsletter on mental health and wellbeing and hope you find the following information and resources helpful.
Yours in Health,
Owner – Child Health Connection
Mental Health and Wellbeing of Children and Staff
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recently acknowledged the importance of children returning to school. “Schools are fundamental to child and adolescent development and well-being and provide our children and adolescents with academic instruction, social and emotional skills, safety, reliable nutrition, physical/speech and mental health therapy, and opportunities for physical activity, among other benefits.”
The AAP strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.
While we understand this important stance taken by the AAP, this statement comes with the realization that there is a heavy burden you are being asked to carry. Some of these measures you are required to take such as, social distancing, masking, and daily health checks, are taking their toll on the overall well-being of your children and staff. Additionally, enrollments are down and the fiscal health of your business has been affected. We have been hearing your concerns and share your worry.
It is difficult to hear stories of children crying when they see their beloved teacher in a mask or having nightmares about a masked monster coming to get them. Teachers also have expressed anxiety in keeping up with the changing guidance, especially wearing masks and other requirements. A director recently shared, “Dealing with this virus in childcare is like working 24 hour days, everyday, 7 days a week. We’re all exhausted.” This truly can be a stressful time for your staff, families, and children.
Child Health Connection would like to share the following thoughts to help your program manage stress during these trying times:
- Do not deny how tough this really is. Sometimes we think that with perseverance, we will get through this. However, this white-knuckled approach is not often sustainable. Talk about your struggles, acknowledge when you’re having a stressful day, and reach out to others when it starts feeling overwhelming.
- It is okay to walk away. Even if it is for 15 minutes. Go outside, take your mask off, and breathe.
- Silence is golden. If you are able, create a quiet space where staff can chill out and get away from everything for a few minutes.
- Nourish your bodies. Limit caffeine, salt, sugar, and processed food. All of these can contribute to inflammation in an already stressed-out body and make you feel run down. Remember to get plenty of rest, take probiotics, multivitamins, and drink lots of water.
- Be kind: set boundaries. Many people are experiencing high levels of stress which can cause them to unintentionally take it out on you. It is ok to stop a conversation that is not going in a positive direction and come back to it at a later time. Resume the conversation when both parties agree to speak to one another rationally and calmly. Kindness is not allowing others to act out their bad behavior on you. You do not deserve to be someone else’s punching bag.
- Reach out to the specialists. The Office of Early Childhood has Mental Health Specialists that can be helpful during these trying times. Click on this link to find your county’s mental health partner: Colorado Office of Early Childhood | Oec_partners
Some additional resources that you may find helpful:
Supporting Young Children During Covid-19 – Resource for Families
How to Talk to Children
Strategies to help prevent Challenging Behaviors