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Questions frequently asked by children during the state of alarm due to Covid-19

#Covid19

A number of professional associations, agencies and public administrations with shared concerns for children and young people have joined together to develop a project that takes a multidisciplinary and cross-discipline approach, aimed at finding out what questions children are asking themselves during this lockdown period. This collaborative initiative aims to create a resource focusing on children’s needs during these difficult months, and on the doubts, the concerns and the curiosity they may have with regard to the current situation during the state of alarm triggered by Covid-19.

Answers to their most frequent questions have been compiled based on contributions from the project’s steering group, made up of COPC, COPEC, CEESC, TSCAT, EATAF (Justice Department, Government of Catalonia) and Barcelona City Council, gathered from a variety of sources related to childhood and adolescence.

This joint project aims to provide children throughout the territory with a space where they can directly ask their questions and receive answers from experts in different disciplines such as psychology, education and educational psychology, social work and social education.

Children, are you thinking that you’re not really sure exactly what’s happening?

Keep on reading, and we’ll answer all your questions! You can write to us at this email address estimatdiari@bcn.cat and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

Coronavirus

  • Viruses are tiny organisms that cause certain illnesses. And coronavirus is one that’s very contagious. It started in China, and it’s now spread more or less all over the world, carried by people as they travel to different places.

    The symptoms of this virus are a cough, high temperature and breathing difficulties, but as you’ve probably heard, it affects some people more than others.

    Latest update 14/05/2020

  • Coronavirus can be spread through tiny droplets of saliva. This is why it’s important to be really careful when you cough or sneeze, and even when you touch other people or things like handles when you’re on the bus, door knobs, or buttons that other people – who might be infected – have touched before you.

    To avoid getting coronavirus, there are some rules to follow. We all need to:

    • Try to keep away from people who are ill and could give us the virus.
    • Wash our hands very often, and be careful not to touch our faces when our hands are dirty.
    • The best way to keep safe is to stay at home, but if you do have to go out, make sure you don’t get too close to other people, and use things like masks to protect yourself.

    Latest update 14/05/2020

  • For two main reasons. Firstly, because it’s a new disease and our bodies aren’t used to it yet. Usually, when we get an illness caused by a virus, our bodies create a defence against it. This is why we often only get an illness once, because the second time our bodies know how to fight it off. Coronavirus is new, though, so it’s not surprising that it’s making more people sick.

    But hey, the good news is that the vast majority of people who catch it get better! Experts tell us that 8 out of 10 people who get it only get a little bit ill, which means that in 80% of cases they hardly even notice that they’re sick.

    The second reason is that, precisely because it’s a very new illness, there isn’t any treatment for it yet. What this means is that we don’t have any specific medicines or vaccines to protect us against coronavirus. Some people are more vulnerable to this illness than others, especially the elderly or those who already have another disease. But we want you to know that scientists and doctors are working really hard to find a vaccine and medicines that can help to cure people.

    Latest update 14/05/2020

  • This virus has spread very widely for two main reasons:

    • Because it’s highly contagious. Unlike other viruses we already know, such as flu, this one is capable of infecting a lot more people. The experts tell us that, while somebody who has flu passes it on to one or two other people, a person with coronavirus infects two or three.
    • Because there are people who are infected with coronavirus but don’t show any symptoms for a few days, and others who never have any symptoms at all, they don’t realise they’ve got it. When doctors realised that this was happening, their advice was that we should all stay at home for a while to prevent more people from getting infected.

    Latest update 14/05/2020

  • Yes, possibly, although staying at home and not going to school make it a lot less likely, and so do the other safety measures like washing your hands often, making sure you don’t touch your face after touching things, and staying a safe distance away from other people.

    Anyway, the experts say that children usually get over the virus more easily than grown-ups, and some of you might even catch it without even realising that you’re sick at all.

    Latest update 14/05/2020

  • We know that one of the best ways to avoid getting infected is to stay away from people who are sick, and it’s important to follow this advice when it’s someone in our own family too.

    But this doesn’t mean you can’t see them, talk to them or send them a message! You can do this with a voice or a video call, or through somebody else. If this is worrying you, talk to your family about it. Together, you’re sure to find a way to check on your family member without going to visit them. Just ask – everyone will understand that you’re worried, and that they need to let you know how that person you love so much is getting on.

    Latest update 14/05/2020

Family and friends

  • Yes, it’s true. No doubt they’ve told you how this virus spreads, so you’ll already know that one of the most common ways is when people touch one another. That’s why we have to keep a certain distance from others, especially when we start going out. This is what’s called ‘social distancing’ and you’ve probably heard of it. We know that it’s hard for you, and that sometimes it makes you sad. Talk about it with someone close to you, and ask for lots of hugs and kisses from the people you live with.

    While we have to stick to these rules, think about different ways of showing affection: draw a picture of that hug, or maybe create a special hug that has wings so that when you blow it’ll fly all the way to that person you want to send it to. And we bet you’ll come up with some ideas of your own too!

    Latest update 14/05/2020

  • After this crisis, a lot of companies are bound to consider it, and others will do it more often. If not every day, then maybe a few days a week, now that we’ve discovered that some jobs can be done from home. That said, it won’t always be possible, and sometimes work will go on in the usual way. For example, doctors need to be with their patients.

    Latest update 14/05/2020

  • We know how hard it is for you not to be able to play with your friends like you did before, and that you miss being with them in the park, on the street or in the playground, but we can’t leave the house yet. You and your friends are sure to have been finding ways to play together during this period – with video calls, video games, WhatsApp, etc. OK, so It’s not the same as playing together in the street or wherever it is you usually play, but you can take advantage of this situation to invent new ways to play. Video calls can be great for this. You can ask your mum or dad for help with making them, and you can play together for a while. If you play video games then you already have a way to connect, but make sure there’s always a grown-up around to supervise you.

    Latest update 14/05/2020

Easing of lockdown and going out

Have you heard that kids can go out now? Yippee! But do remember that you have to be careful and follow the rules to protect yourself and those you love. How do you do that? Don’t worry, we’re going to explain it all now! Remember that you must follow some really important rules:

  • If you’re over 3 years old, you must wear a face mask.
  • If you live in a flat, it’s best to take the stairs and not to use the lift.
  • Don’t touch the stair rails, handles or buttons in the lift. And you absolutely mustn’t touch your face afterwards if you do!
  • Keep a distance of about 2 metres between yourself and other people.
  • Remember that you can only go out for a while, and always with a grown-up!
  • There’s one thing that all of us, young and old, have to get used to doing, and that’s keeping our distance from other people we meet in the street. Not being able to get close to a friend or classmate is bound to be difficult, but it’s very important.

    And you might need to wear a face mask when you go out, too. You must have seen lots of these lately. It’s true that wearing a face mask for a long time can be a pain, but wearing one just for a while when you go out might even be fun. A bit like fancy dress!

    Latest update 14/05/2020

  • SeNo doubt at home everybody’s sticking to the recommendations that we all need to follow to stop us catching the virus. So you’re already doing everything you can to stop it from happening. But if it did happen, you’d all have to follow the doctors’ advice to try to stop anyone else from catching the disease. If both of your parents were to get sick, they’d be very well looked after either by others in your family, or by people who know how to take care of those who are ill, and you’d be able to talk to them from time to time to see how they’re getting on, and cheer them up. In the meantime, obviously you wouldn’t be able to stay at home on your own, so you’d need to go and live with other children, or another member of your family until you could go back home.

    Latest update 14/05/2020.

So what now? Worries, big and small

  • There are lots of things that can make us feel sad at the moment: being stuck at home without seeing friends or family, someone you love being ill, or even having to say goodbye to somebody who’s died. Sadness isn’t a very nice emotion, but we have to accept it because it means that we’re aware of things that are happening around us, and that are important to us. Feeling sad isn’t something to worry about.

    If you feel sad, the best thing to do is talk about it with someone you love. Your mum or dad, gran or grandad, a friend, the people who look after you or someone you trust. Putting your sadness into words or expressing how you feel in drawings will help a lot.

    You might feel like crying, too. If you want to cry, then do. It’ll make you feel better. Crying is one of the best things for helping us not to feel so sad, especially when you’re with someone who can give you a cuddle. Some grown-ups might tell you not to cry, because it can be hard for grown-ups to see kids feeling unhappy. And you know what? A lot of grown-ups don’t remember too well about needing to cry... Be understanding, but ask them to let you do it. You’ll find that little by little you’ll start to feel better, and you can be happy again.

    Latest update 14/05/2020.

  • Fear is one of the most useful emotions we have. If we weren’t frightened of anything, we’d have some big problems. Can you imagine what would happen if you weren’t scared of crossing the road when the traffic lights are against you? Or if you weren’t frightened of diving into a swimming pool without knowing how to swim?

    Being afraid of dangerous things is important, because it helps us to avoid them, or to take precautions to stop them from being dangerous. But then sometimes, we can be scared of things that aren’t really dangerous at all, like the dark, mice, ghosts and things like that. In these cases, being scared can be a bit of a pain. If you want to stop feeling afraid, you need to face your fears and do whatever it is you need to do, even if you are scared. This way, you’ll gradually build up your courage, and your fears will go away.

    Remember: if something is dangerous, we avoid it. If it isn’t, we stand up to it, even if we are scared. If you’re not too sure whether something’s dangerous or not, ask a grown-up you trust.

    Latest update 14/05/2020.

  • If you do what your parents or carers tell you to do, there’s no danger in going out for a while, so you don’t need to worry. It’s normal to be scared at first, but you’ll soon see that your fears will go away once you’ve faced up to them, and after a while you’ll feel better.

    Latest update 14/05/2020.

Losing someone you love

  • Saying goodbye to someone who’s died is one of the hardest things of all, because losing someone we love makes us very sad and miss them terribly, grown-ups and children alike. You might have realised that we always hold ceremonies to mark the important events in people’s lives. For example when we get married, receive a prize, or finish school. And of course, the same goes for when we say goodbye to someone who’s died.

    Ceremonies are important. They help us to express respect and love, and make us feel that we’re doing something valuable and meaningful. Normally, when someone dies, there’s a ceremony that brings together everyone who loved them to say goodbye. But now, under lockdown, we can’t hold these ceremonies, because we need to avoid spreading infection.

    However, it’s still important to do something that helps you to say how special that person was for you, and to say goodbye properly. You can do this in lots of ways. One way is to write a really nice letter talking about the good memories you have of that person, and how you feel now that they’re not here any more. And it’s really important to add drawings that you’ve done yourself. Once you’ve written the letter, read it out loud when you’re with your family. If you need to cry, let it all out. Afterwards, fold it into four and roll it up carefully, and then tie a pretty ribbon round it (anything nice you have at home will be fine), and then keep it in your room in that place where you keep all those things that are really important to you. This will be something very special and precious, and it’ll help to comfort you, at least until all the family can get together for a ceremony like the ones we’ve always held when someone dies.

    Latest update 14/05/2020.

  • Death is a part of life. Each day, there are people who are born, and others who die; both of these things are a natural part of life.

    When someone who’s special to us dies it hurts a lot, and we feel sad and worried. We suffer a lot when we lose somebody we love, and at the same time we lose all those things we used to do together: playing games, reading, doing homework, going to and from school, etc. Now we can remember doing all those things with them.

    Latest update 14/05/2020.

  • As the years go by, all human beings die, but sometimes there is a physical reason why the heart stops beating or the lungs stop working, such as an illness, a serious accident or when somebody is very old. At the moment, there are elderly people whose health is very delicate who have become very ill due to Covid-19, as you’re bound to have heard.

    In death, the body doesn’t work any more, which means that it doesn’t see, hear or breathe; it doesn’t feel hunger, cold or heat; it doesn’t think; and it can’t walk. In a nutshell, everything stops. This is why the person who’s died can’t do things with you any more, but you can think about the good times you spent together, and talk about them with your family and friends.

    Latest update 14/05/2020.

  • Sometimes we might be scared when we’re faced with death: maybe we can’t sleep, or we think that it’s our fault that someone has died. But you must remember that the person has died because they couldn’t live any more, or because they were very ill.

    You’ll see lots of people around you crying. It’s normal because this is a separation that lasts forever. They cry because they’re sad, and you can cry with them too. It’s totally OK to express these strong feelings. Your family will look after you, and the person who’s died will stay in your memories.

    There’s something else you need to know that’s very important too, and this is that when people go into hospital it’s not always because they’re going to die. This is not the case at all. We go into hospital so that the doctors and nurses can cure us, but sometimes there are diseases that are very serious that can’t be cured.

    Latest update 14/05/2020.

Institutions responsible for content creation:

  • Catalan Psychologists’ Association (COPC)
  • Catalan Social Workers’ Association (TSCAT)
  • Catalan Social Educators’ Association (CEESC)
  • Catalan Educators’ Association (COPEC)
  • The Family Assessment Team at the Justice Department (EATAF)

Participating administrations:

  • Barcelona City Council (Area for Culture, Education, Science and Community)
  • Government of Catalonia (Justice Department)

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