30 September 2021

A child’s guide to COVID-19

As the COVID-19 virus continues to spread around the world, many children like you are keen to get answers to their burning questions about the disease and what they can do to help protect themselves from it. We hope you find this helpful.  , 1.What is COVID-19?, COVID-19 is a disease caused by a virus that can spread through the air and land on surfaces. The virus gets its name through the combination of its syllables: ‘CO’ from ‘corona’ – the latin word for ‘crown’, because the outer ring of the virus looks crown-shaped under a microscope, ‘VI’ for virus and ‘D’ for disease. The number ‘19’ refers to the…, 2. How can I get COVID-19?, You can get the virus by being in close contact with infected people who discharge small droplets when they sneeze, cough, laugh, sing, speak or even breathe. You can also be infected by touching surfaces that have been contaminated by the virus and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth without cleaning your hands., 3. How do you know if you have COVID-19?, People with COVID-19 can have a number of symptoms (a change in the body that shows something is wrong), or they may have no symptoms at all! These symptoms often include a fever, cough, headache and/or tiredness.  Sometimes people also report losing their sense of taste and smell, having problems breathing or a sore throat. Whether they have…, 4. Can children and young people catch COVID-19?, Yes, anyone can catch the COVID-19 virus and spread it to others.  Children don’t usually become seriously ill from the disease unless they have other health problems that put them at more risk, but even so we all need to be careful. , 5. What should I do to protect myself and others from the virus?, You can help protect yourself and your friends and family  in simple ways such as: by keeping a safe distance between yourself and other people – at least 1 metre or about twice the length of your outstretched arms.  by avoiding crowded or closed spaces where there isn’t much air flow. It’s also a good idea to keep windows and doors open and to…, 6. How can I keep safe when going to and at school?, Remember that there are many things you can do to help protect yourself on your way to school, when you’re in the classroom and when you’re returning home. Avoid crowded public transport if you can. Discuss with your parents if there is an alternative, such as walking or cycling. If you need to get a bus or train, try to keep your distance from…, 7. Do I need to wear a mask?, Every country has its own recommendation on the use of masks. Make sure you know what the recommendation in your country, city or school is. You may ask your parents or teachers about it.  If you need to wear a mask, wear it like a superhero:  When putting it on, make sure you adjust it to cover your mouth, nose and chin.  While wearing it, do not…, 8. Many talk about the COVID-19 variants: what are they?, Viruses commonly mutate (in other words they change in form over time). Each change is very small, but after many such changes the virus’ form and characteristics become different enough to be called a ‘variant’ of the original virus. Some variants of COVID-19 are more transmissible (able to spread easier) and can also cause more serious illness.…, 9. Do children need to have a COVID-19 vaccine?, COVID-19 vaccines are not yet available for children below 12 years old. As most children don’t get seriously ill from COVID-19, at this stage vaccination is not recommended for children. However, children and adolescents older than 12 with health problems, such as diabetes, lung or heart disease or other chronical diseases that might put them at…, 10. Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?, Yes. COVID-19 vaccines have been thoroughly tested and are found to be safe. They have also proven to be very good at reducing the chances of people getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19. Thanks to the joint work of scientists and research organizations across the world, safe COVID-19 vaccines were developed in record time., 11. How do vaccines work?, When our body is attacked by a virus or bacteria that causes a disease, our immune system (the body’s natural defense) produces an army of soldiers, called ‘antibodies’. These antibodies fight off infection from the invading disease. When the body is attacked for the first time by this particular invader, the immune system has to build this new…, 12. What should I do if I think I have COVID-19?, If you have a cough, fever, headache, sore throat or have trouble breathing, inform your parents or your teacher immediately. It may or may not be COVID-19 but it is good to be tested straight away just in case. If the test shows that you have the virus, don’t be scared. Follow your parents' and doctor's advice so you can recover quickly. Do not…, 13. What else can I do to help fight against COVID-19?, Learn more about COVID-19 and tell your family and friends how they can protect themselves from it by sharing some of the tips in this guide.
02 July 2021

Four things you can do to support your teen’s mental health

Whether you and your teen are getting along well or having challenges, it is important to show that you love and support them, that you can help them navigate tough times and that you are always there for them. Here are four things to keep in mind when having that ‘how-are-you-doing?’ conversation with your teen and to show that you are always…, 1. Encourage them to share their feelings, Look for ways to check in with your teen. Ask them how their day has been and what they have been doing. It could be by inviting them to join you in a task, such as preparing dinner, so you can use the time to chat about their day. Remind them that you are there for them, no matter what, and that you want to hear how they are feeling and what they…, 2. Take the time to support them, Work together on setting up new routines and achievable daily goals. You could fit in home chores around school work or set a target like getting homework done before dinner. Adolescence means independence! Try to give your teen the appropriate time and space to be on their own. Needing space is a normal part of growing up. Find a few ways you can…, 3. Work through conflict together, Listen to your teen’s views and try to sort out conflict calmly. Remember: everyone gets stressed! Never discuss an issue while you are angry. Walk away, take a breath and calm down — you can talk with your teen about it later. Avoid power struggles. With the world feeling unpredictable and options looking limited right now, teens might be…, 4. Care for yourself, Caregivers have a lot to deal with. You also need care and support for yourself. Showing self-care is also a good way of modelling the practice to your teen. Don’t wait to ask others for help if you are feeling overwhelmed. It is normal and okay to feel this way. Find a family member or someone you can talk to. Make time for your own relationships…
30 June 2021

Child regression: What it is and how you can support your little one

If you have noticed that your child has taken a giant leap forward (like finally mastering toilet training!) only to then take a step back (refusing to use the toilet!), you are not alone. Regression is common in growing children – especially toddlers. We spoke to Nancy Close, PhD, an Assistant Professor at the Child Study Center at the Yale…, What is regression? What causes it?, “I like to pair regression with the idea of progression,” says Close. “Most children have a very strong urge to move forward in their development (progression). There is a natural energy in children to explore, manipulate and master their world.” However, along with the excitement of being able to do new things comes stress. For example, a baby…, What do regressive behaviours look like?, Regression can vary, but in general, it is acting in a younger or needier way. You may see more temper tantrums, difficulty with sleeping or eating or reverting to more immature ways of talking. If a child has achieved something like getting dressed by herself, you may see a loss of some of those skills. “All of a sudden, your child cannot do what…, When does regression happen?, You will typically see regressive behaviours in toddlers and preschoolers, but it can really happen at any age – even with infants and older children. If there is regression in an infant it might not necessarily be as evident. A baby may be a bit clingier, need to feed more, be a bit whinier or cry more often than usual.  , Is regression common?, Rest assured, regression is common. In fact, it is to be expected and it’s very helpful to further development – think of it as your child’s way of preparing themselves for taking on more responsibility. “I see some children who may regress right before they’re about to make a big leap forward, or they regress right after they’ve made a leap…, How can parents help support their children through regressions?, Reassure your child. Let them know that they are safe and supported. Try to show them that you notice the regressive behavior without shaming them. Close suggests trying the following: “You are learning to do so many big boy things. That is such hard work. Sometimes you feel like you need my help.” Play can also be a helpful tool for working…, When should parents be concerned?, Some regressions can last for a few weeks, but it varies from child to child. Usually, if you can pinpoint what might be going on and provide children with support, they will be able to work through it. If it seems to be lasting longer than you think it should, around two to three weeks, Close recommends reaching out to your child’s healthcare…
20 April 2021

On Girls in ICT Day, let´s Reimagine Girls´ Education toward STEM and girl-centered solutions

With a growing start-up scene and new jobs being created every day in the digital space, the future is looking bright for young people in the Europe and Central Asia Region (ECA). 12% of the total population are between 10-19 years [1] , including a vast cohort of girls who could be future tech leaders, engineers and programmers. Yet, girls in ECA…, Reimagining approaches for girls’ skills and learning: Toward girl-centered solutions, No solutions for girls without girls! We must invest and scale interventions that are girl-centered in their design, deliver and monitoring, with a focus on skills that position girls for equal participation and transition to employment. [5] Girls themselves must be in the front seat: They must be solvers of the problems they face in their…, Partnerships across sectors and systems for all girls: Reaching them where they are, with inclusive, gender-responsive STEM and ICT education, To deliver sustainable solutions for girls, we must leverage the expertise and strengths from each and every partner – from civil society to international multilaterals – to provide girls with gender-responsive ICT & STEM-focused education in schools and through out-of-school platforms. We call for joint advocacy and resource mobilization…, Fostering training and active workplaces to nurture the next generation female leaders, Workplaces must take an active role and invest in the talents and potential of girls. A 21 st Century Girl workforce can be shaped and cultivated in the job space, online and offline, through internships, apprenticeships, and hands-on training. Education sectors and industries must come together and shape enterprise-based STEM career programmes…, Read more about UNICEF´s work for girls’ empowerment in STEM education:, Towards an equal future: Reimagining girls´ education through STEM Skills4Girls: Girl-Centered Skills Development: A Learning Agenda   [1] UNICEF Data Demographics 2021 [2] UNICEF 2021: Gender Equality Strategy in Europe and Central Asia 2021-2025 [3] UNICEF 2020: Towards an equal future: Reimagining girls´ education through STEM [4] Ibid. [5]…