There are so many things to consider during this time of crisis. Kids are staying home from school and are home, perhaps alone. A recent USA Today report indicated that "Hundreds of thousands of vulnerable U.S. children could face a heightened risk of abuse and neglect as coronavirus-related school closures keep them at home and away from the nation's biggest group of hotline tipsters-educators."
We owe teachers, school administrators and counselors for the keen way in which they watch and report signs of abuse and neglect. Because kids are not in school, we must be vigilant about protecting children more than ever. The media reports are overwhelming, and many folks get easily scared; some get paralyzed and don't know what to do. An effective stance of heightened awareness is the best approach for all of us to embrace during this difficult time. We know that when the stress levels of parents run high, kids feel it. The best thing we can do is to remain calm and be as communicative with your children as possible about what is happening and the safety measures that we all must take. Of course, let them know that you have things under control and that you will protect them. Remind them of the safety rules in your family and home.
If you are not with your children during the day, check in on them randomly via text, Facetime or phone. Let them know that they can contact you anytime. Refer to the basics of the Protecting God's Children Program by reviewing the Warning Signs of adults, and also by following Step 4: Be Aware of Child and Youth Behavior; so watch, listen to, and observe your children. Be a good neighbor when you can and do the same for the children of your friends and family. Enlist other trusted family and friends to check in on the kids electronically in some format. We are all in this together and together will fight this.
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