19th May 2020

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Lane Cove Children eases the pressure with yoga, gardening and lots of time outside.

COVID-19 has turned our lives upside down and nobody has escaped the effects. We are all feeling the strangeness of our new world and that includes our youngsters.

With many parents and/or caregivers working from home,  many routines have been thrown out the window.

The truth is children thrive when they have a set routine and know exactly what to expect each day. It provides reassurance and boosts confidence too. Clearly, both of those aspects have taken something of a hit in recent months.

The impact of this should not be overlooked says Clare Stewart, Centre Manager at Guardian Childcare and Education in Lane Cove.

She says that while pandemic itself has not affected kids younger than five the change in their routines has rattled many.

“Many mums and dads are home more often; children aren’t seeing their friends for play dates; they haven’t seen extended families such as grandparents in a little while; or they are no longer doing things they usually do such as a visit to the shops, local cafe etc,” she says.

“By and large it’s the parents that have been impacted juggling the changes at work and that inevitably drives the changes in the child’s routine.

Certainly, within our Centres the children are still socializing (at a distance); Our teachers and educators have been talking to the children about social distancing and the importance of increased hygiene practices such as the regular washing of hands to the tune of Happy Birthday (or a song that is at least 20 seconds long).”

It’s commonly said children are resilient but if you have a little person in your life how might you support them in this time? We put this question to Claire, plus an array of others. Here’s what she had to say:

In what way can we help support the children in our lives during this time?

“Changes in routine can affect children with or without the pandemic. Children can work themselves up sometimes over the littlest of things.

We recommend activities such as yoga. Yoga teaches children balance and flexibility for their physical development.

It also teaches them about the magic and importance of breath, which is key tool in calming a child. These breathing techniques can be used as tools throughout their life. Yoga also offers the children the opportunity to laugh and have fun as they experiment and attempt different poses.

We have also been gardening with the children, which allows them to learn new skills, develop a love and respect for the environment and have fun as they grow and harvest their own fresh produce.

Children enjoy being outdoors and love digging in the soil, getting dirty, creating things, and watching plants grow.”

If children ask questions about the pandemic how should we answer?

“If a child asks questions we endeavor to answer them factually and in a reassuring way so they understand they are safe.

It’s important that we respect their curiosity by answering in a factual way while also discussing the positive stories such as the many acts of kindness that have occurred within our community during this time.”

We’re seeing some positives in our communities. Are there are upsides to COVID-19 in terms of our children?

“We are seeing some of the different age groups mix more due to smaller numbers. We’ve seen the older children taking more of a nurturing role and the younger ones stepping up in order to forge new friendships with the older children.

“Throughout life children will have changing routines and this period is providing an opportunity for them to learn new things and work to a different routine, which naturally builds resilience.”