By Emily Drooby
The Meehan family now wears masks as they play outside their Bay Ridge, Brooklyn home. It’s just one of many obvious effects of the pandemic. These are changes that can be confusing for children.
“It’s more different than the way it was a long time ago,” five-year-old Sofie Meehan told Currents News, talking about the world.
Sofie noticed a big change on her fifth birthday, when she has a car parade instead of a classic party.
To help children like Sofie understand what’s going on around them, her mom, Kristen, wrote a book explaining the pandemic.
“The kids had so many questions about what’s going on and why is this all happening, that I feel like a book was the perfect way to explain that,” Kristen explained.
She’s been tackling questions about the masks, closed schools and a whole lot more, and talking to kids about the pandemic has been a tough job for many parents.
To help make it more manageable, KidsHealth, a nonprofit health system with doctor reviewed tips, has some suggestions:
Find out what children already know, and work from there. Help them feel like they’re in control, like teaching them how to properly wash their hands. Make sure it’s an ongoing conversation, and offer comfort and honesty about the situation.
That’s what Kristen is trying to do with her 24-page book called “This is Not Forever,” a title that is meant to project hope.
The Catholic woman is using her background as a mom and a public school teacher to educate children and help parents.
“They really do understand a lot, but there’s a very delicate balance between giving them the information and not scaring them,” Kristen said. “I feel like this book was a good balance of that, to give a little bit of information, but also to give that comfort that things are going to be okay and this is not forever, and we will go to grandma’s house soon.”
Kristen wrote and illustrated the book in just three weeks. She has sold almost 500 copies. Until September she is donating the proceeds to the Robin Hood Foundation, which supports vulnerable New Yorkers.