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Supporting children during the Covid-19 virus

A colleague of mine explained the corona virus as a rollercoaster ride. This metaphor took me back to all roller-coaster rides in my life. Imagine for a moment that you are in a theme park and you end up on this rollercoaster ride without realising what the ride really is: You get in your seat, get strapped in and the ride starts moving slowly uphill, after which you are faced with a huge fall. While you’re on the rollercoaster, you’re dreading the fall. You’re hearing the click click click sound of the ride on the track ringing in your ears with each elevated foot. You will feel a nervous energy building in your stomach, burning inside.

As the ride crests down the hill, there is a moment where you seem to be suspended, paused. I always wish in that split second that I could just stay there, forever if needed, without going down. In that instance, I realise that I do not want to experience the drop. But then, I am falling, and I wish that it could stop there and then. But I can’t, I do not have any control. But in the end, when the ride finally arrives to a stop, I am relieved. After all this heart aching journey, I look back and I realise how resilient and strong I was to be able to endure this journey.

Thus, in relation to this metaphor, we are fully aware that this Covid-19 virus is creating a lot of anxieties and insecurities among you and your children. So, by creating some guidelines, I am hoping to help you to be able to support your children to deal with these current issues.

  1. It is important to find out what children already know. Some children may want to spend time talking about how they are feeling and discuss what is happening around them.
  2. By offering comfort and honesty it will help children feel safe and secure.
  3. If children ask something, and as caregivers you don’t know the answer, don’t be afraid to say so. Use these questions as an opportunity to find out together from relevant sources.
  4. Speak calmly and in a reassuring manner. Children will pick up when their caregivers are worried.
  5. Give children space and time to share their fears.
  6. Give children specific things to feel in control. For example, teach children that by getting a lot of sleep they will improve their immune system. Also teach children how to wash their hands and tell them that this will help them keep safe and healthy.
  7. Put news stories in context.
  8. Children often worry about their caregivers and elderly. Help children to keep in contact with the outside world by using Skype, WhatsApp, messenger and other means of communication.
  9. Reassure children that it is normal to feel stressed out at times. Everyone does. By recognising these feelings and knowing that stressful times pass, in the end, it can help children build resilience.
  10. Keep conversations going and check with children from time to time about how they are doing.

What you can do at home together as a family:

  1. Design cards and later give them to friends or other family members
  2. Play and create dough sculptures
  3. Dance
  4. Make sock puppets and create stories with them
  5. Paint with sponges on rocks, plates and paper
  6. Create something from a box
  7. Build with blocks
  8. Take photos
  9. Record videos
  10. Write a poem
  11. Make bookmarks
  12. Build a fort with cushions
  13. Play a card game and board games
  14. Have paper races
  15. Put a puzzle together
  16. Play school/farm/family/zoo
  17. Bake or cook together
  18. Write a journal
  19. Read a book or magazine
  20. Tell or write a story

Take this opportunity to connect as a family.

Maria Mifsud

About Maria Mifsud

Maria graduated with a Bachelor of Psychology (Hons) in 2008, then went on to read for a Masters in Probation Services at the University of Malta. After years of being part of the Government workforce, she realised that to better understand her clients and be more equipped, she had to further her studies by enrolling in a Masters in Systemic and Family Psychotherapy with IFT-Malta. Some years later, she continued to pursue her studies in Clinical Supervision with IFT-Malta. Maria is also a qualified Victim Offender Mediator.

TherapyPacks Terms and Conditions

1. TherapyPacks come in bundles of 5 or 10 sessions. Prices of bundles:

  • 5 sessions – €270 – must be utilised within 3 months from date of purchase
  • 10 sessions – €520 – must be utilised within 6 months from date of purchase

2. Bundles are not transferable. This means they cannot be used by, or gifted to, anyone else but the person whose name is listed as the TherapyPacks bundle holder.

3. Bundles which are purchased for Couples Therapy and Family Therapy can only be used by members of the couple or family with one therapist. If members of a couple or family decide to take up individual therapy with another therapist, the bundle will only apply to sessions with the therapist originally referred and cannot be also used for the individual sessions with another therapist. Exceptions will be made if the original therapist is unable to see the client or family and the couple or family are referred to another therapist. After referral, the same conditions will apply.

4. Bundles are valid for a limited time period, as listed above. This means that the bundles will expire once the respective time period has elapsed. Any sessions not utilised within this period will be lost. This means that a refund will not be given for unused sessions. Start date commences on date of purchase of bundles.

5. Bundles are only valid for full price sessions (charged at €60) and not for sessions with trainee psychotherapists, reports or assessments.

6. Full payment needs to be made on purchase, via bank transfer, cash or credit card.

7. Management reserves the right to terminate or suspend the use of the bundles. Reasons for such are at the discretion of the clinic.

8. Refunds or extensions of time period within which bundles may be used is at the discretion of management and will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.

9. Management reserves the right to modify or replace the terms and conditions. In such circumstances, clients will be given adequate notice and time to adhere to such.

10. The clinic’s cancellation policy is applicable also to bundles. Late cancellations or no shows will result in the forfeit of a session within the bundle allocation.

11. Responsibility for ensuring timely use of session bundles remains that of the TherapyPacks bundle holder or, in the case of a minor, their carer/legal guardian.