child psychologist at Karin Dom
This story was created to be tailored for the child we read to. It is desirable for the parent to first read the story in order to decide whether to offer it to the child in the original or to adapt its content to the context of the family situation. The beginning of the story can be changed according to the circumstances in which the child grows up – in a big city, in a village, with mom and dad, only with mom, or with grandparents, brother, sister. Bobby is the same age as the child. The goal is for the child to recognize and understand that he or she is not the only one undergoing changes at the moment.
Bobby was (the child’s age) years old. He lived with his mother and father in a beautiful big city / village… Every day, Bobby would get up early, brush teeth and face, hug mum and dad, and go to kindergarten. There, Bobby had friends to play with, sing songs, learn interesting things. When his parents took him, they usually went to the playground where Bobby had fun with the kids from the neighborhood. His mother and father reminded Bobby that when they got home, they first washed their hands and then sat down at the dining table.
However, in the last few days strange, unexplained things happened … It was as if someone had enchanted the big ones and they became somehow different … It all started with ‘Wash your hands’, but mom said this ‘Wash your hands’ quite often and when she was saying it, mom was somehow tense. Once at the playground, Bobby liked a shiny package and picked it up. Mom made a note to him, and as soon as Bobby put his finger in his mouth, she yelled as if she was scared of some invisible monster: ‘I told you not to touch anything! Don’t put your hands in mouth!’… And they went home.
After that, they no longer went to the playground. They stopped taking Bobby to the kindergarten, tool. Mom and dad were listening to the News a lot, talking on the phone or telling things about some dreaded Coronavirus. They filled all the cabinets with food and all sorts of other things. So many things Bobby had never seen at home. And then even his parents stopped going to work – they played in front of their computers all day, pretending to be important. Although they were home, they said they were working and they didn’t have time to play.
And Bobby had to play quietly and not interfere, otherwise mom and dad would send him to another room. They stopped visiting their aunt, not even seeing his grandparents (when reading in this section, the parent can describe the changes that have taken place in the life of their family). From his window, Bobby could see people wearing masks, such masks as mom and dad would put on when they went out. They also bought one for Bobby and told him that the mask would keep him safe from viruses if he had to leave home. Then Bobby found out about the viruses. They had told him about them before. But it was only now that Bobby realized that this was very important. Viruses were tiny, disease-causing creatures.
One night, mom hugged Bobby and explained to him: ‘When you are healthy everything is fine. When you are sick you don’t want to play, you cough, feel tired and take medication. There are some small creatures called viruses. They are so tiny that we don’t even notice them. When someone coughs up against you, viruses come out of his mouth and start flying around in the air. If you are nearby, these viruses can enter your mouth or nose and make you sick. But if you are away from other people, the viruses will not reach you because their wings are small, they get tired and fall to the ground … In the same way there might be viruses on toys, benches, clothes … When you touch them, they stick to your hand and if you do not wash your hands, the virus can get into your mouth, nose or eyes, and so you can get sick. Bobby, I love you very much,’ said his mother, ‘and I want you to be healthy. Do you want to be healthy and play?’ his mother asked.
‘I want to,’ said Bobby sadly, ‘Mom, is that scary?’ Bobby cuddled and even shuddered.
‘If we don’t protect ourselves, it can be scary,’ his mother replied calmly,’ but we have taken all possible measures. It is important to stay away from other people, to go out rarely and to wash our hands frequently.’ Mom’s voice was quiet and calm, and Bobby kept listening to her.
‘The King of Viruses came to our lands this winter, he is bigger and stronger than the small viruses and creates serious diseases. But once we are home and wash our hands, we are safe. Doctors will soon create medicine, spray our land with it, and the King of Viruses will flee far away. Then we will go to work again, and you and your friends will be in kindergarten. We will go to the playground and the park, we will also visit you aunt,’ Mom said, stroking Bobby gently on the head.
Bobby realized that when he washes his hands and plays at home, he’s safe. Still, there were some nice things to do at home. For example, yesterday he found a trolley he had forgotten behind the couch, the other day his mom had made him his favorite cake, for which she hadn’t time before. And Daddy showed him how to make a plane out of paper (here every parent can add things that the kid likes to do at home, new games, favorite movies, etc.) … And while he thought about all these nice things, Bobby fell asleep quietly.
Author: Virginia Vasileva. As a psychologist at Karin Dom, Vergi conducts group and individual therapy with children with various impairments, applying a family-oriented and family-mediated approach. She believes that successful therapy should unite the whole microworld of the child – family, kindergarten, therapists. Vergi is a certified ABA and PECS therapist. Since 2017 she holds an European Certificate in Psychotherapy.
Stay healthy and calm, too! Tell stories, read, and talk to the young child, because even though they are young, children feel our anxiety, and the change in everyday life is stressful for both adults and children!
Photo by skeeze