The current COVID-19 pandemic and the associated unprecedented prevention measures have created an unusual situation. These measures, while necessary for the health of the population, have a direct impact on family organization and can significantly reduce the safety net around the most vulnerable children.
A multitude of situations can have an impact on the psychological well-being of parents and children. For some, these impacts result in disruptive behaviours conducive to the emergence or presence of child abuse or neglect. In addition, forced social isolation can exacerbate negative experiences during childhood, such as family insecurity, abuse, poverty or food insecurity.
Keeping a child safe is primarily the responsibility of their parents, but it also concerns the people around the child, members of their community and the wider community. Given the situation right now, it is essential that everyone show kindness to the children and families around them, be they neighbours, friends, extended family or coworkers.
Doing various acts of kindness can create conditions conducive to a healthy parent-child relationship. They can eliminate or reduce risk factors that contribute to the development of a problem and in this way prevent child abuse.
Acts of kindness
There are many acts of kindness you can do to support a child and a family. What you do depends on the situation of the person you want to help. By talking to the person or trying to put yourself in their shoes, you will find out what acts of kindness could help. To get you started, here are some suggestions:
- get close to and connect with the children and families in your neighbourhood:
- say hello,
- ask how they are doing;
- offer used clothing to families around you;
- offer to:
- do a period of homework by videoconference with a child you know,
- read to a child over the telephone or by videoconference from time to time,
- do an outdoor activity with your neighbour's child to give the parent a break and get the child moving,
- clear snow from your neighbour's driveway to help them with their morning routine;
- bring a meal to a family to make the parent(s) daily life easier;
- take the time to contact a child by telephone or videoconference to find out how they are doing and talk to them one on one;
- consider what the child says to be true and be attentive to what the child is feeling;
- tell your loved ones that you are available to help them;
- any other actions or small gestures you think could help young people and families around you.
Help and resources
- Psychosocial telephone advice and referral: Info-Social 811
Ligne provinciale d’intervention téléphonique en prévention du suicide
- 1 866 APPELLE (277-3553) (in French only)