The Social Effects of Covid-19 on Children and Teens

Theatrical plays, special interest clubs, field trips, recesses and lunch breaks, inter-school events and final year traditions like proms and graduations have always been something that students look forward to throughout the school year. These events provide a sense of enjoyment and fulfillment after spending long hours within the four walls of their classroom. These also give them a chance to express themselves in a unique way.

When Covid-19 hit, educational institutions were one of the first sectors that needed to adjust to ensure the health and safety of its thousands of students and instructors. Following the government’s safety protocols like BC’s Back to School Plan, protective measures have been strongly implemented by schools. Physical distancing, along with the creation of small learning groups, are observed during recesses, lunch breaks, and extracurricular activities. Playground activities and clubs like dance, theatre, sports, and music will see some changes as physical contact is minimized. Furthermore, it has been strongly recommended that inter-school competitions and festivals are cancelled during this time. 

To reduce the spread of Covid-19 and to abide by the various protective measures, schools have made the hard decision of suspending or postponing social events and traditions, specifically those that typically attract a large gathering of students. As a result, students have been missing out on many of the important social activities and opportunities to make memories with friends and family.

Even though it is essential that we understand and comply with the Covid-19 restrictions in place, it is worth taking a deeper look at how children and teenagers will be affected as a result.

Feelings of disappointment or dismay, specifically in younger children, may emerge out of not being able to meet with friends and experience special occasions to the same extent as before. Also, anxiety levels can increase as children may worry or fear for the changes occurring around them, potentially affecting their future.

Through an email interview with Mary Yan, clinical counsellor and family therapist, she provided insights about childhood anxieties. One of the approaches she personally uses to help understand children's emotional struggles is called Synergetic Play Therapy. Through the use of this therapy, Yan has been able to take a more thorough look at parents' roles, applying her methods and learnings to the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Yan, “There are at least two things that trigger anxiety, or threaten the nervous system. The Unknowns (not knowing what’s going to happen) and Incongruence (what I see or am told do not match what I feel and sense in my body)." She emphasized how important it is for parents to help alleviate their children's uncertainties.

Yan advises that ensuring constant communication between parents and children is an essential part of improving wellbeing for everyone. It is an essential thing for parents to be appropriately truthful with their children about their thoughts and feelings. Moreover, parents can help their children see the deeper meaning behind the adjustments being made and talk about creative alternatives to enjoying activities and celebrating special occasions without physically meeting.

Yan also advised parents to establish routines for their children to provide a more stable structure in their daily lives, which in turn will boost their sense of control, decrease their feelings of uncertainty, and will ease their anxiety. Planning everyday tasks like family time, arts and crafts activities, mini sports competitions, and regularly checking in with each other are extremely beneficial.

She also notes that as parents, ”we can’t really tell children that they, their family members, or their friends will never get sick, but we can tell them that we can wash our hands more often when outside of the home, keep physical distance and keep ourselves healthy.” To ease fear and worry, parents can reassure their children that those who do get sick are looked after and cared for by families and doctors. They can provide moral strength and improve their children’s state of mind with reassuring statements.

Amidst the present circumstances, technology is a key resource that parents can utilize to help their kids celebrate social traditions and connect with their friends. Some educational institutions and groups of students have welcomed a new normal by continuing events online, with club activities, proms, and graduations being held virtually. Through FaceTime or Zoom, students are able to experience their proms and graduations in the safety of their homes. Parents can hold intimate homestyle graduation ceremonies and photoshoots as a gift for their children, while special interest clubs like drama, music, and dance can do their performances virtually.

Despite the shifts in our way of life due to Covid-19, it is inspiring to see how we all are continuing to learn and adapt in the face of adversity. Traditions like school celebrations and extra-curricular activities may change in structure, but they remain valuable and should not be forgotten. These events are moments that children keep in their hearts for a long time, and should be treated as such.

Author: Marielle Valmores

 


Gratitude for the Canadian Red Cross Society

Amidst the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an organization that has chosen to go above and beyond the call of duty to help individuals, cities, and even countries to persevere. The Canadian Red Cross Society (Red Cross) has been, and continues to face adversity and fear head-on, coordinating a strong team of staff and volunteers to help support Canada in a variety of ways, both big and small. 

The Red Cross mission is to “improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity in Canada and around the world.” The Organization is built upon humanitarian values, including respect, inclusiveness, integrity, transparency, and accountability, to name a few. They pride themselves on the high level of quality and care that goes into their operations, as well as the strength of their generous donors and over 6000 volunteers. 

The Red Cross services include but are not limited to the areas of support for senior, emergency and disaster, community housing, migrant/refugee, aboriginal, nutrition and transportation, and violence, bullying, and abuse prevention. During the pandemic, the Red Cross has been working in partnership with the Canadian federal government and local municipalities to provide programs and services for vulnerable individuals and communities. Specifically, the Red Cross volunteers have been distributing food to those in need, providing comfort and care services to returning Canadians, making friendly calls to seniors and providing virtual care over the phone (Telephone Assurance Program), conducting door-to-door wellness checks, and delivering emergency relief services (Health Equipment Loan Program). 

The Red Cross has also been utilizing their resources to support other non-profit organizations across Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizations eligible for funding include those with activities focused on responding to the demand for vital goods and services, delivering vital services or programming as a result of new needs or losses, and supporting efforts to increase community awareness, information and education related to COVID-19. 

Build a Biz Kids (a.k.a. BizKids Practical Education Association) has been immensely fortunate in receiving grants this past year from the Red Cross. These grants have allowed us to provide over 1000 children across Canada, aged 6 to 13, with access to practical and engaging online education during a time when schools were closed and many households were experiencing high tension. Thanks to the grants, students were able to access 10 hours of live, two-way, interactive programming each week in areas such as coding, chess, business, graphic design, inventing, creative writing, drama, STEM, yoga, and more! 

In addition to educating children across Canada, Build a Biz Kids was also able to provide training and support to over 400 teachers, coaches, and other support workers whose duties have shifted online in order to connect with their clients and students. Courses, seminars, and workshops were provided for free to help them navigate these new methods of communication. 

With the assistance and generosity of the Red Cross, Build a Biz Kids and so many other non-profit organizations across Canada have been able to positively impact an inspiring number of individuals and communities through this trying situation. The Red Cross is a leading humanitarian organization, utilizing their resources and mobilizing their courageous employees and volunteers before, during, and after disaster occurs. They have and will continue to improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in Canada and all around the world. 

Build a Biz Kids is among those who have been touched by the generosity of the Red Cross, for which we are immensely grateful. On behalf of our entire organization, we thank you for your boundless and benevolent support through the COVID-19 pandemic; as well as in all the other situations in which your resources have made a significant difference to the lives of people in Canada and around the world. 

 

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

Donate to the Red Cross Canadian Emergencies & COVID-19 Response Fund

 


The Slimers! Meet Nate, Miranda & Vince!

"That problem is already solved", "I already have something like that", "No one needs another one of those on the market".....

Yup, we have all found ourselves saying something like that before, I'm sure. Another onion chopping thingy or a new kind of water bottle, there seem to be so many products that all solve the same problem.... or is there?

Meet Nate, Miranda and Vince who I am calling our 2019 Slimers!

Slime is nothing new. We had it as kids and now our kids have it too. Kids love it and for many, they can find relaxation and therapeutic relief from holding it.

In our Fall Semester KidPreneur Program, we had multiple classes running and, of course, a bunch of kids wanted to do slime. It ended up that on Market Day, we were going to have 3 Slime Businesses. Oh no! Of only 18 vendors, 3 would be slime. Wouldn't that make the market boring? Why would someone buy slime from more than one vendor? Or if faced with the choice, how would a customer choose between which KidPreneurs business to support?

Never underestimate the intelligence of a True KidPreneur and their business savvy.

One of the most common questions we get from parents when considering placing their child into a Build a Biz Kids program is, will my child need to enter the program with a business idea already? Or do you help them with that?

The answer is either or works fine. From experience, we have found that our students are one of 2 types: They either have TOO many ideas that we need to help them choose the perfect one to start with. The other type is one who has no idea what to do as, after all, this is the first time they have ever thought of starting a business. In these cases, we give them loads of ideas and encourage them to "Make It Their Own" by asking questions like:

  • Who will your customer be? Adults? Kids? Boy's? Girls? Etc
  • How much effort and time do you want to put into making them?
  • What price point do you want to sell at?
  • What is something you could do differently to make this more fun? More useful? Standout more?

For example, maybe they decide to make soap. Well, they could make them shaped like the flowers they scent them with; great for adults. Or place a toy in the center of it so kids want to wash their hands more; great for kids.

Getting back to our slimers, Wow! they definitely took that to heart and ended up making 3 incredibly successful slime businesses that all stood out from one another.

Meet Vince & his Squishy Business! Vince decided to go with a cool theme and boy did he run with it! He did glow in the dark slime. His display has a dark box and black light to show how they glow, plus he had them in a Light Bulb container so you could understand what made them amazing without having to say a word! They looked so cool and were definitely something you don't see every day. Kids Loved Them!

Meet Nate and his Fluffy Slime Business! Nate took a different angle. He understood that not everyone can play with traditional slime because they break out into a rash from the ingredient, Borax, that is usually in it. Nate's solution! Borax Free Slime which also makes it super fluffy! He had an awesome display with lots of height and a sign that you could see from across the room. At just 7 years old, Nate ran his booth all by himself and made his parents very proud of him.

And last but definitely not least, Meet Miranda and her Slime Bar! Yes, that's right! She had a slime bar! Talk about covering your bases lol. Her bar consisted of 3 stations. Step 1 - choose your base, clear or white. Step 2 - choose your "add ins" like foam balls or glitter. Step 3 - Choose your colouring! Great ideas right?? Not only do you get custom slime, she was teaching other kids how to make it themselves as well.

3 Slimers, all with completely different slime businesses. Isn't it a kick in the pants when kids "get it" and sometimes us adults don't. They were not worried at all about having other slime there and loved seeing what one another had come up with.

These KidPreneurs are pretty amazing but what we may have not realized that they learned in such a fun way, is that no problem is ever completely solved. There is always another group of customers within a market who can be served better. And most of all, never shy away from competition or have a mindset of scarcity. If you are willing to work hard and listen to the people you want to help, there is more than enough success and FUN to go around!

 

Interested in our next semester of programming? Find out more here
Fall 2019 KidPReneur Programs are designed for students ages 7-12 years. Programs available in West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Downtown Vancouver, Burnaby, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, New Westminster, Maple Ridge.
To Register for a program next semester, View Our Schedule Here.
Also Available are Summer Camps