Here is an article from the National Association of School Psychologists.

Families across the country are adapting to the evolving changes in daily life caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Most schools, places of public gathering, and nonessential businesses are closed, and parents and other caregivers are faced with helping their families adjust to the new normal. This includes trying to keep children occupied, feeling safe, and attempting to keep up with schoolwork as best as possible. None of this easy, but it helps to stay focused on what is possible in order to reinforce a sense of control and to reassure children that they are okay, and that the situation will get better.

It is very important to remember that children look to adults for guidance on how to react to stressful events. Acknowledging some level of concern, without panicking, is appropriate and can result in taking the necessary actions that reduce the risk of illness. Teaching children positive preventive measures, talking with them about their fears, and giving them a sense of some control over their risk of infection can help reduce anxiety. This is also a tremendous opportunity for adults to model for children problem-solving, flexibility, and compassion as we all work through adjustmenting daily schedules, balancing work and other activities, getting creative about how we spend time, processing new information from authorities, and connecting and supporting friends and family members in new ways. The following tips can help.

STAY CALM, LISTEN, AND OFFER REASSURANCE

* Be a role model. Children will react to and follow your reactions. They learn from your example.
* Be aware of how you talk about COVID-19. Your discussion about COVID-19 can increase or decrease your child's fear. If true, remind your child that your family is healthy, and you are going to do everything within your power to keep loved ones safe and well. Carefully listen or have them draw or write out their thoughts and feelings and respond with truth and reassurance.
* Explain social distancing. Children probably don’t fully understand why parents/guardians aren’t allowing them to be with friends. Tell your child that your family is following the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which include social distancing. Social distancing means staying away from others until the risk of contracting COVID-19 is under control. Showing older children the "flatten the curve" charts will help them grasp the significance of social distancing. Explain that while we don't know how long it will take to "flatten the curve" to reduce the number of those infected, we do know that this is a critical time—we must follow the guidelines of health experts to do our part.
* Demonstrate deep breathing. Deep breathing is a valuable tool for calming the nervous system. Do breathing exercises with your children.
* Focus on the positive. Celebrate having more time to spend as a family. Make it as fun as possible. Do family projects. Organize belongings, create masterpieces. Sing, laugh, and go outside, if possible, to connect with nature and get needed exercise. Allow older children to connect with their friends virtually.
* Establish and maintain a daily routine. Keeping a regular schedule provides a sense of control, predictability, calm, and well-being. It also helps children and other family members respect others’ need for quiet or uninterrupted time and when they can connect with friends virtually.
* Identify projects that might help others. This could include: writing letters to the neighbors or others who might be stuck at home alone or to healthcare workers; sending positive messages over social media; or reading a favorite children’s book on a social media platform for younger children to hear.
* Offer lots of love and affection.

MONITOR TELEVISION VIEWING AND SOCIAL MEDIA

* Parents/guardians should monitor television, internet, and social media viewing—both for themselves and their children. Watching continual updates on COVID-19 may increase fear and anxiety. Developmentally inappropriate information, or information designed for adults, can also cause anxiety or confusion, particularly in young children.
* Dispel rumors and inaccurate information. Explain to your child that many stories about COVID-19 on the internet may include rumors and inaccurate information. Older children, in particular, may be accessing a great deal of information online and from friends that contains inaccuracies. Talk to your child about factual disease information.
* Provide alternatives. Engage your child in games or other exciting activities instead.

TAKE TIME TO TALK

* Let your children's questions guide you. Answer their questions truthfully, but don't offer unnecessary details or facts. Don't avoid giving them the information that experts indicate as crucial to your children's well-being. Often, children and youth do not talk about their concerns because they are confused or don't want to worry loved ones. Younger children absorb scary information in waves. They ask questions, listen, play, and then repeat the cycle. Children always feel empowered if they can control some aspects of their life. A sense of control reduces fear.

BE HONEST AND ACCURATE

* Correct misinformation. Children often imagine situations worse than reality; therefore, offering developmentally appropriate facts can reduce fears.
* Explain simple safety steps. Tell your child this disease spreads between people who are in close contact with one another, when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or when one touches infected objects or surfaces.
* Stay up-to-date on the facts. Go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.htmlfor additional factual information.

KEEP EXPLANATIONS AGE-APPROPRIATE

* Early elementary school children. Provide brief, simple information that balances COVID-19 facts with appropriate reassurances that adults are there to help keep them healthy and to take care of them if they do get sick. Give simple examples of the steps people make every day to stop germs and stay healthy, such as washing hands. Use language such as "adults are working hard to keep you safe."
* Upper elementary and early middle school children. This age group often is more vocal in asking questions about whether they indeed are safe and what will happen if COVID-19 spreads in their area. They may need assistance separating reality from rumor and fantasy. Discuss the efforts national, state, and community leaders are doing to prevent germs from spreading.
* Upper middle and high school students. Issues can be discussed in more depth. Refer them to appropriate sources of COVID-19 facts. Provide honest, accurate, and factual information about the current status of COVID-19. Engage them in decision-making about family plans, scheduling, and helping with chores at home.
* For all children, encourage them to verbalize their thoughts and feelings. Be a good listener!

STAY CONNECTED TO SCHOOL

* Locate learning resources. Schools’ capacity to conduct virtual learning experiences will vary greatly, but most schools are providing lessons and learning activities for children to do. Take advantage of the many companies and online platforms currently offering free learning opportunities.
* Identify additional resources. Know if your school or district is providing additional resources, such meals, or technology, such as a laptop or tablet.
* Stay in touch. Find out how the school is communicating with families and students. Be sure to read any communications you receive. Check with you children, particularly older ones, as they may be receiving information directly that would be helpful for you to know.
* Connect with school staff. Reach out to your child’s teacher and other relevant school staff if you have concerns about their coping and keeping up with assignments or activities.

KNOW THE SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19

* According to the CDC, symptoms of fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath appear within 14 days after being exposed to the disease.
* For some people, the symptoms are similar to having a cold; for others, they are more severe or even life threatening.

MODEL BASIC HYGIENE AND HEALTHY LIFESTYLE PRACTICES

* Practice daily good hygiene. Encourage your child to practice these simple steps to prevent spreading the virus.

* Wash your hands multiple times a day for 20 seconds. Signing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” or “Happy Birthday” twice is about 20 seconds.
* Compliment your children when they use a Kleenex or sneeze or cough into the bend of their elbow. Teach them the importance of throwing away used tissues immediately after sneezing or coughing.
* Sadly, handshakes and hugs need to be limited to immediate family members, at least for now.

* Foster a sense of control. Offering guidance on what your child/children can do to prevent infection offers them a greater sense of control, which reduces anxiety.
* Build the immune system. Encourage your child to eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly; this will help them develop a robust immune system to fight off illness.

BE AWARE OF YOUR CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH

Most children will manage well with the support of parents and other family members, even if showing signs of some anxiety or concerns, such as difficulty sleeping or concentrating. Some children, however, may have risk factors for more intense reactions, including severe anxiety, depression, and suicidal behaviors. Risk factors can include a pre-existing mental health problem, prior traumatic experiences or abuse, family instability, or the loss of a loved one. Parents and caregivers should contact a professional if children exhibit significant changes in behavior or any of the following symptoms for more than 2 weeks.

Preschoolers—thumb sucking, bedwetting, clinging to parents, sleep disturbances, loss of appetite, fear of the dark, regression in behavior, and withdrawal.

Elementary school children—irritability, aggressiveness, clinginess, nightmares, school avoidance, poor concentration, and withdrawal from activities and friends.

Adolescents—sleeping and eating disturbances, agitation, increase in conflicts, physical complaints, delinquent behavior, and poor concentration.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

* Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/children.html
* Handwashing and Hand Sanitizer Use at Home, at Play, and Out and About, https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/pdf/hand-sanitizer-factsheet.pdf
* NASP COVID-19 Resource Center, https://www.nasponline.org/COVID-19

For more information related to schools and physical and mental health, visit www.nasponline.org<http://www.nasponline.org> and www.nasn.org<http://www.nasn.org>.

Adapted from, Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource, National Association of School Psychologists and National Association of School Nurses, NASP, 2020.

Contributor: School Psychologist Kathy Sievering

© 2020, National Association of School Psychologists, 4340 East West Highway, Suite 402, Bethesda, MD 20814, 301-657-0270<tel:301-657-0270>

Related COVID-19 Resources

© 2019 National Association of School Psychologists

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Losing income? Here are some tips.

We know that many people in our community are experiencing a loss of income due to closures of schools, child care centers and businesses. Here are a few resources that might help:
 
New York Unemployment Benefits
For people out of work due to coronavirus closures or quarantines, the 7-day waiting period to apply for benefits is waived.
 
Click here to file a claim. 
 
If you are unclear on how to follow the steps, here are instructions:
 
Be proactive lenders and creditors
If you're not able to pay your bills on time, contact your lenders and servicers to let them know about your situation. Being behind on your payments can have a lasting impact on your credit. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and other financial regulators have encouraged financial institutions to work with their customers to meet their community needs.

Credit card companies and lenders may be able to offer you a number of options to help you. This could include waiving certain fees like ATM, overpayments, and late fees, as well as allowing you to delay, adjust, or skip some payments.
When contacting your lenders, be prepared to explain:
  • Your situation
  • How much you can afford to pay
  • When you're likely to be able to restart regular payments
  • In the case of mortgages, be prepared to discuss your income, expenses and assets
Be Aware of Scammers
Scammers are at work! This is the perfect time to take advantage of vulnerable individuals, especially during times of emergencies or natural disasters. Be cautious of emails, texts, or social media posts that may be selling fake products or information about emerging coronavirus cases.
Click here for tips on how to avoid scammers.

Food Distribution Locations
Feeding Westchester has various food distribution sites throughout the county. 
Please contact your local municipality for additional locations in your area. 
 
FAQ for Businesses
Empire State Development (ESD) has created a page of resources and frequently asked questions to offer information to businesses regarding State regulations and general guidance related to the coronavirus. 

FAQ for Businesses

From the NYS Office of Children & Family Services

Frequently Asked Questions for Child Care Programs
Updated 3/23/2020

Q. Are child care programs being ordered to close?
A. Child care programs are NOT being ordered to close. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Governor Cuomo
and his administration consider child care to be an essential function critical to enabling parents to go to
work.

Q. Who can order an child care program to close due to COVID-19?
A. In certain circumstances, local authorities, mainly local Departments of Health, have the authority
to direct programs to close under quarantine or other emergency orders. In addition, child care
programs are business entities and can voluntarily close the program.

Q. Have the requirements regarding staff/child ratios been lifted?
A. OCFS has been granted the authority to waive select regulatory requirements in order to meet
the need for child care services. Staff/child ratio is one such requirement. You may contact your regulator and submit a waiver request. For the duration of this emergency, there may be flexibility regarding certain regulatory requirements.

Q. Have the regulations regarding comprehensive background clearance checks been lifted?
A. OCFS has been granted the authority to waive select regulatory requirements in order to meet
the need for child care services. Comprehensive background clearance checks are one such requirement. You may contact your regulator and submit a waiver request. For the duration of this emergency, there may be flexibility regarding certain regulatory requirements.

Q. How do child care programs maintain a perimeter of 6 feet while caring for them?
A. Adults must be in close proximity to young children in order to provide proper care. It is important to take universal precautions. Ensure handwashing strategies are being followed including washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When soap and water are not available individual wipes may be used in combination with hand sanitizer. Also, be sure to perform routine substantial cleaning of the childcare program.

Q. Are child care programs required to maintain a group size of 10 or less?
A. The Centers for Disease Control, in its guidance on events and mass gatherings recommends group size to ten or fewer and therefore we ask providers to reconfigure space to limit overall density of rooms to ten or fewer children. See https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/large-events/index.html.
Your licensed/registered capacity, however, remains in effect unless you’ve been approved for a waiver by OCFS as there may be ways for you to serve a greater number of children while continuing to prioritize their health and safety and that of your employees.

Q. Why haven’t child care programs been closed?
A. Child care is considered an essential service. In a time of crisis, other essential professionals must be able to go to work and have safe and suitable child care available to their children. If you have openings in your program, please use those openings to serve the children of employees who are unable to work from home and must continue to report to their work location. Please reach out to your local Child Care Resource and Referral agency and make them aware of any slots you have available.

Q. How do programs limit access to the program and try to reduce exposure to COVID-19?
A. Programs are encouraged to utilize these screening questions:

1.Within the last 14 days, have you traveled to a country that
the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
should be avoided for nonessential travel or where travelers
should practice enhanced precautions?
(China, Iran, Italy, South Korea, Japan)

2. Have you had contact with any person with known
COVID-19 or person under investigation for COVID-19?

3. Do you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection (e.g.,
cough, sore throat, fever, shortness of breath)?

4. Are you or anyone in your home in active quarantine status?

If an individual responds “yes” to any of the above, do not allow that individual to enter the program. Where staffing allows, programs can implement strategies to reduce traffic in the program including meeting children at the door.

 

 

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

FREE food is available!

The Child Care Council of Westchester will distribute food on behalf of Feeding Westchester!

This Friday afternoon, March 20th, from noon until 4 PM, volunteers will distribute 14-pound bags of shelf durable goods to those in need at no cost.

The distribution will take place in the parking lot in the back of the Child Care Council's office at 313 Central Park Avenue, Scarsdale. Those arriving to pick up food should drive up the hill to the back of the building and follow posted signs.

In the interest of proper social distancing, we ask those arriving to remain in their car and open the trunk for a volunteer to place a bag inside. We will need to know the size of the family for which you are picking up the food, but we will not be asking for names or identification.

If you have any questions, please call the Child Care Council of Westchester at (914) 761-3456 x104.

Special thanks to the following for making this food distribution possible - it takes a village!

Page 3 of 24

Connect

Contact Us

Child Care Council of Westchester, Inc.

313 Central Park Avenue
Scarsdale, New York 10583

Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm
Child Care Specialists extended hours are available on Tuesdays until 7pm to help you make an informed decision about child care.

Phone: (914) 761-3456
Toll-Free: 1 (844) 387-7525

Fax: (914) 761-1957

Email us

handicap icon    se habla espanol