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Ten Tips for Talking with Children about Violence

  1. If you feel uncertain about how to start this conversation with children, practice with adults first. Notice the parts of the conversation where you might need assistance and ask for support from other adults.
  2. Ask children what they know and what they have heard. Listen to the child’s story and follow the child’s lead. Use simple language and correct any misunderstood accounts. Tell a child what they need to know, not all that you know.
  3. Be there and be calm. Monitor your own emotion and tone of voice. Pay attention to your gestures, affect, and voice because children pay special attention to these ways of communicating. Children scan the faces, voices, and movements of others to discern safety. Your presence, voice, words, soft and loving touches, provide each child with the best ways of feeling safe.
  4. Share your feelings. It is okay and important for children to know that the adults in their lives have the same feelings when bad things happen. Ask about their feelings. Often children will experience and express their feelings through their body states. Ask them “what” and “where” they feel (e.g., head, tummy, chest, neck, etc.) as well as “how” do they feel.
  5. Recognize that there are some feelings that we can only share and cannot fix: Children need us to be there with and for them at such times. It’s appropriate to both not have an answer and be with the children in their sadness and confusion.
  6. While we encourage telling children about the events of January 6th, monitor repeated exposure to images and reports of the events. Provide enough exposure to inform, but not frighten.
  7. If children do get scared, remember the 3R’s of security: Relationships, Routines and Restoration. Highlight relationships with familiar and consistent caregivers, family, and friends. Protect and increase routines that are familiar and normalizing.
  8. Provide structure and communicate safety: Uncertainty is the province of adulthood. While we as adults may feel unsure of the state of our democracy, we must always let children know that we will take care of them and protect them.
  9. A sense of mastery can help alleviate fear and uncertainty. Encourage your children to get involved in a community or service program such as collecting items for a food bank, making a call to their Congressperson, signing a petition, or writing a letter to someone in local government about something that they would like to help change in their community.
  10. Remember to take care of yourself: We have all been living with the collective stress of Covid-19 and political uncertainty for a l-o-n-g time. Yet, we know that if the adults in a child’s life are overwhelmed, overstressed, and overtired, it will be more difficult for the child to feel safe, secure and stable. Prioritize the cultivation of the “ABCs” of self-care: awareness, balance, and connection, in your own life.

(Costa, G. & Mulcahy, K, 2021)

Diez consejos para hablar con niños sobre la violencia

1. Si no está seguro de cómo iniciar esta conversación con los niños(as), practique primero con los adultos. Observe las partes de la conversación en las que podría necesitar ayuda y pida apoyo a otros adultos.

2.Pregunte a los niños(as) qué saben y qué han escuchado. Escuche la historia del niño(a) y siga su liderazgo. Use un lenguaje sencillo y corrija cualquier malentendido. Dígale al niño(a) lo que necesita saber, no todo lo que usted sabe.

3.Estar allí y estar tranquilo. Monitorea sus propias emociones y tono de voz. Prestar atención a sus gestos, afecto y voz porque los niños(as) prestan atención especial a estas formas de comunicación. Los niños(as) escanean los rostros, voces y movimientos de los demás para discernir la seguridad. Su presencia, voz, palabras, toques suaves y amorosos, proporcionan a cada niño(a) las mejores maneras de sentirse seguro.

4. Comparta sus sentimientos. Está bien y es importante que los niños(as) sepan que los adultos en sus vidas tienen los mismos sentimientos cuando suceden cosas malas. Pregúnteles por sus sentimientos. A menudo los niños experimentarán y expresarán sus sentimientos a través de sus estados corporales. Pregúnteles “qué” y “dónde” se sienten (por ejemplo, cabeza, barriga, pecho, cuello, etc.), así como “cómo” se sienten.

5.Reconocer que hay algunos sentimientos que sólo podemos compartir y no podemos arreglar: Los niños(as) necesitan que estemos allí con y para ellos(as) en esos momentos. Es apropiado no tener una respuesta y estar con los niños(as) en su tristeza y confusión.

6. Si bien animamos a contar a los niños(as) acerca de los acontecimientos del 6 de enero, supervise la exposición repetida a imágenes e informes de los acontecimientos. Proporcione suficiente exposición para informar, pero no asustar.

7. Si los niños(as) se asustan, recuerde las 3R de seguridad: Relaciones, Rutinas y Restauración. Resalte las relaciones con cuidadores, familiares y amigos consistentes. Proteger y aumentar las rutinas que son familiares y normalizadoras.

8. Proporcionar estructura y comunicar la seguridad: La incertidumbre pertenece a la edad adulta. Si bien nosotros, como adultos, podemos sentirnos inseguros del estado de nuestra democracia, siempre debemos hacer saber a los niños(as) que los cuidaremos y los protegeremos.

9.Un sentido de maestría puede ayudar a aliviar el miedo y la incertidumbre. Anime a sus hijos(as) a involucrarse en su comunidad o en un programa de servicio, como recoger artículos para un banco de alimentos, hacer una llamada a su congresista, firmar una petición o escribir una carta a alguien en el gobierno local sobre algo que les gustaría ayudar a cambiar en su comunidad.

10.. Recuerde cuidarse: Todos hemos estado viviendo con el estrés colectivo de Covid-19 y la incertidumbre política por un tiempo l-a-r-g-o. Sin embargo, sabemos que si los adultos en la vida de un niño(a) están abrumados, sobrecargados y cansados, será más difícil para el niño(a) sentirse seguro, protegido y estable. Priorizar el cultivo de las “ABC’ del cuidado personal: conciencia, equilibrio y conexión, en tu propia vida.

(Costa, G. & Mulcahy, K, 2021)

IECMH Clinical Workforce Solution Pathways

We are pleased to remind you of a 5-part graphic from ZERO TO THREE!
IECMH Clinical Workforce Solution Pathways was co-created by stakeholders from around the country to capture the myriad of pathways of influence and opportunity related to increasing the size, diversity, quality, and accessibility of the Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH) Clinical Workforce.
NJ-AIMH is pleased further to note that four of our members were a part of the contributors group: Gerry Costa, Kathy Mulrooney, Joaniko Kohchi, and Muhammad Zeshan, MD, a current Board member and ZERO TO THREE Fellow.
Take a look at this wonderful document and join me in thanking our members for their work.

Kelly Gets a Vaccine: How We Beat Coronavirus

Kelly Gets a Vaccine: How We Beat Coronavirus

by Lauren Block MD MPH and Adam Block PhD; Illustrated by Debby Rahmalia

Discover along with 8-year-old Kelly the science behind the COVID-19 vaccine, what to expect during and after the vaccine, and how vaccination will help us begin to move beyond the pandemic.

Authors of “Kelly Stays Home: The Science of Coronavirus” and “Kelly Goes Back to School: More Science on Coronavirus” which have been downloaded over 25,000 times are back with their most important book yet on how the vaccine works and the importance of being vaccinated.

Governor Murphy Issues Worker Protections Executive Order

Today, October 28, 2020, in response to months of advocates’ work, Governor Murphy signed a Worker Protections Executive Order. Despite workers getting sick and even dying, the federal government has only issued recommendations,  placing responsibility with the Governor to step up to ensure New Jersey workers’ health and safety from COVID-19 hazards.

The Worker Protections EO sets enforceable standards that virtually all employers must follow to protect their employees during the pandemic. These baseline standards include allowing proper social distancing, masks, sanitization, breaks for hand washing, notification of potential exposure to COVID-19 at the worksite, and following the requirements of applicable paid leave laws.

The Executive Order, which goes into effect on November 5th, mandates private and public employers implement uniform health and safety standards to protect all workers against the coronavirus, including:

Workers to keep at least 6 feet from each other “to the maximum extent possible.”
Workers and visitors to wear a face mask, with limited exceptions.
Employers to provide masks to workers at the company’s expense.
Employers to provide workers, customers, and visitors with sanitizing materials at the company’s expense.
Employers to conduct daily health checks of workers, such as temperature screenings, visual symptom checking, and more.
Employers to notify workers when there is possible exposure to the virus.
Employers to provide workers with breaks throughout the day to wash their hands.
Employers to routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched areas in accordance to state and federal guidelines.

The full EO can be read here.

The New Jersey Department of Labor (DOL) will launch a new webpage to field complaints from workers. The DOL and the Department of Health will both be able to investigate and enforce the EO. The state is also investing $400,000 in trainings so that workers can identify COVID-19 related workplace health and safety hazards and have the tools to be able to speak up when violations of the EO are not resolved by their employers.

Is Child Care Safe When School Isn’t? Ask An Early Educator.

The Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) at the University of California-Berkeley just last week published a great new read on their website, titled, “Is Child Care Safe When School Isn’t? Ask An Early Educator.” The illuminating article explores the fact that schools provide child care—not just education—and with in-person learning all-but evaporating for millions of K-12 students this fall, families are scrambling to find care amid the pandemic. The result? The essential service that is provided by schools on a daily basis is being sorely missed on both counts.

Report Examines Adverse Childhood Experiences in Early Childhood

A recent report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) examined U.S. Census Bureau’s National Survey of Children’s Health to better understand the prevalence of ACEs specifically in young children. CAP’s analysis found that more than 1 in 4 young children in the United States have been exposed to at least one ACE. Reflecting the societal patterns of America’s racial bias, the researchers also found that children of color are disproportionately more likely to have exposure to ACEs in early childhood.

A Pandemic within a Pandemic: How Coronavirus and Systemic Racism Are Harming Infants and Toddlers of Color

The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), released a new brief, A Pandemic within a Pandemic: How Coronavirus and Systemic Racism Are Harming Infants and Toddlers of Color, that unpacks the harm of systemic racism to children’s development and describes how the coronavirus pandemic has magnified pervasive inequities in health, education, employment, and other factors across race and ethnicity.

Programs that help families meet their basic needs urgently need immediate shoring up. And policymakers must prioritize families of color who are most harmed by the coronavirus. We make the case for focusing on the needs of families of color with infants and toddlers in coronavirus relief and systemic policy reform efforts to ensure that policies do not continue or add to inequities.

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