Resiliency in children has been identified as one of the most important skills they need growing up to face their challenges, and not only to survive, but ultimately to thrive in life.
In myriad ways, COVID has been, to say the least, an unprecedented challenge for everyone – including children, who may not have wholly understood and processed their feelings during these past 14 months, let alone its emotional fallout.
To help these children, Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services has released the My COVID-19 Resilience Workbook, a free, inclusive tool for kids ages 5 to 10, that can help teach them valuable socioemotional skills to leverage during the pandemic and beyond.
“Our approach has always been prevention to help elevate the quality of life,” said Tzivy Reiter, director of children’s services for Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services, who co-authored the book with Naomi Baum.
Children learn ways to cope with their emotions not only now, but throughout their lives, she said.
“Social and emotional skills are known to be a greater predictor of academic success than IQ,” Ms. Reiter said, and learning how to identify, process and regulate feelings are part of that important skill set.
To date, the 40-page workbook from Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services has been downloaded in more seven different countries and is being used as a resource in more than 400 schools, both Jewish and secular schools.
The book, a COVID-specific iteration of an earlier Ohel workbook that has been used to help children for several years, serves many purposes, said Reiter.
It helps give children a focus for their emotional expression. It helps to clarify questions that they may have about the pandemic. It gives the parent, teacher, or caregiver a way in which to work with the child and discuss these things. It helps to validate the child’s feelings, and it also gives them a way to process those feelings and learn to regulate them.
“We have found that kids have had a lot of worries,” she said. “They were scared that a parent might die of COVID. They were scared that they would get sick. They have all kinds of fears. This really helps to explain things and gives a safe space in which to do so. And it gives the adults a forum to clarify the children’s concerns.”
The key to building resiliency in children is to teach youngsters them how to self-regulate their emotions, to have a supportive adult, to make sure they feel that they are in a safe environment, to learn how develop feelings of gratitude, and to be of service to others.
For more than 50 years, Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services has provided transformative social services to communities in the New York metro region and across the United States. Today, Ohel cares for more than 20,000 individuals with services including trauma resources for schools, mental health counseling, and more.
To download the free workbook: https://www.ohelfamily.org/workbook/