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Podcast explores how to support kids and families during COVID-19

COVID-19
Thursday, May 14, 2020 - 11:43am

Podcast at a Glance:

•    A new podcast series by child and adolescent health experts from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) will explore how to support children, adolescents and families during the COVID-19 pandemic
•    The first three episodes will discuss wellbeing concerns and a range of solutions across a range of age groups – 0–5 years, primary school students and secondary school students 
•    The podcast unravels the challenges parents are facing and provides expert advice to help children and adolescents learn, develop and thrive during this time

A new podcast series will explore how to support children, adolescents and families during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) has developed the podcast series, ‘Parenting in the age of Coronavirus’, which unravels the challenges parents are facing and provides expert advice to practically help children and adolescents continue to learn, develop and thrive during this time.

The first three episodes will look at wellbeing concerns within different age groups from infants to secondary school students. Each episode will hear from different MCRI experts in each age category.  

The first episode will focus on the 0–5 age group with guests Professor Sharon Goldfeld, a paediatrician, MCRI Theme Director of Population Health, and Director of the Centre for Community Child Health and Professor Frank Oberklaid, a paediatrician and MCRI Co-Group Leader of Policy and Equity. 

“We discuss the real challenges of parenting during this complex time, explore the valuable skills children learn from play and how to facilitate learning, the signs of anxiety in young children and how to explain COVID-19 to young children in a calming way,” Professor Goldfeld said.

“Young children don’t always understand everything that is going on but they can pick up when something is not quite right.”

The initial three episodes are presented by MCRI Professor and Raising Children Network (RCN) Executive Director Professor Julie Green. 

Episode two for primary school students, with guests Associate Professor Margie Danchin, a paediatrician and MCRI Group Leader of Infection and Immunity, and MCRI Dr Jon Quach will discuss the importance of routines and the challenges of working from home at the same time as children remotely learning.

“We will look at how to support children’s wellbeing and sense of safety, how routines and rituals help, give advice on how to thrive in isolation such as through exercise and creativity at home, and how much screen time is too much,” Associate Professor Danchin said.  

Episode three for secondary school students, with guests Professor Susan Sawyer, MCRI Group Leader of Adolescent Health and Director of the Centre for Adolescent Health, and MCRI Dr Rohan Borschmann, a psychologist, will explore how to approach physical distancing discussions, signs of anxiety in teenagers, positive

thinking exercises and how to check up on their children’s remote learning.   

“It’s good to talk with your teenage children about where they’re getting news and information about COVID-19 from—whether that be government, news websites or social media—how much they are consuming, and what they are finding most worrying,” Professor Sawyer said. 

“Some young people may need help ‘tuning out’ from COVID-19 messages as it’s not helpful for anyone to hear distressing news over and over again. But others may need assistance ‘tuning in’ in order to understand the importance of key messages.”  

Professor Green said for health and wellbeing during physical distancing, children of all ages need a sense of security, healthy eating, physical activity, good sleep, remain socially connected and for the younger ones, lots of play.

“This podcast will address the white noise and acknowledge how it’s normal for parents and children to feel anxious during this time,” she said. “We are here to calm parents and reset expectations on what ‘good enough’ is. 

“Given some of the limitations at present, such as playgrounds not being open, face to face parent groups not meeting and school closures, we will offer advice on what parents and carers can do to support their children’s ongoing learning at home. 

“We will also look at how parents can balance nurturing their children’s and their own wellbeing.” 

To listen to all three episodes, visit the MCRI Website.

Available for interview: 
Professor Sharon Goldfeld
Professor Susan Sawyer
Professor Julie Green

Media Contact: 
Bridie Byrne
MCRI communications specialist
+613 9936 6211/ 0403 664 416 
bridie.byrne@mcri.edu.au

About MCRI

The Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI) is the largest child health research institute in Australia committed to making discoveries and developing treatments to improve child and adolescent health in Australia and around the world. They are pioneering new treatments, trialling better vaccines and improving ways of diagnosing and helping sick babies, children and adolescents. It is one of the only research institutes in Australia to offer genetic testing to find answers for families of children with previously undiagnosed conditions.