Covid-19 Losses for Children and Young People
All children and young people will have seen huge changes in their everyday lives, which will have resulted in losses. The type of loss will vary, as will the way in which it affects individuals, but everyone will be impacted in some way.
Some of the children and young people you are working with may, tragically, have experienced the death of a loved one during the pandemic. Their loss will have been made even more challenging if they have not been able to grieve in the way that their families and communities are accustomed to doing.
For some children, the losses experienced due to Covid-19 will be compounding other losses they previously were, and are, experiencing: the loss of a member of their family due to illness or other circumstances; loss of home due to domestic abuse, financial problems, family conflict. Some children may have had to leave their country of birth because they or their families were suffering.
Children may have layers of loss: loss upon loss upon loss.
Children and young people may also be anxious about potential loss in their lives: the fear that there may be more deaths that affect their families and people they know, as a result of another spike; they may fear that there will be another total lockdown which means losing face to face contact with friends and not being able to go to school again. This is called ‘anticipatory grief.’
Children and young people may relate to feelings of loss about a whole range of aspects of their lives: loss of routine, the opportunities to celebrate the end of the school year, exam results, special events such as birthdays;
The importance of enabling children and young people to grieve for their losses is crucial. Individuals will each respond in their own unique way to loss and their attachment style will have an important bearing upon how they do that.
Whatever their style, it doesn’t mean they will be ready, or want to, talk – child-centred, non-verbal opportunities can provide time and space for children and young people who have experienced loss to express feelings and emotions.
Your education setting may have changed how it is doing things since September, in response to the pandemic. There may be greater space within the curriculum for play, which reduces stress and anxiety in children, young people and adults, and enables children to connect with others.
The institution/organization you work within may already have a framework that is used to support children and young people’s mental health and well-being, or you may be in the process of developing a new approach and have undertaken professional development as a whole setting.
Resources for children and young people
The following resources was written for children and young people to access during lockdown – you may find it helpful to flag it up to the children and young people you are working with as much is still pertinent.
- Childline: Coping with loss https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_XVBDhYuR0
Resources for parents
You may also find this information helpful in the ongoing situation: