COVID Creations: Dinner on the Doorstep: A Story of Kindness in Difficult Times

Sometimes Good Things Come From the Most Unexpected Places

So sometimes good things come from the bad, the difficult and unexpected. For me the sudden impact of the COVID_19 pandemic has actioned me into going back to my roots, looking at community and relationships and bringing simple messages of inspiration and positivity to children through my writing.

 

Dinner on the Doorstep

This week I met online with my amazing graphic designer and illustrator Bronte Goodieson to begin an adaptation of our picture book Dinner on the Doorstep. Published in 2017 Dinner on the Doorstep is a narrative about a family coping with Mum being ill and how the community rally round to support them. With themes of grief as well as hope readers are given a platform by which they might reflect on illness and changes in life and how people can help each other.

 

New Perspective

With so much online and media discussion around the topic of caring for each other and being isolated due to the coronavirus the significance of Dinner on the Doorstep is more topical than ever before. Bronte and I have worked over the original story to take readers to a new understanding of the coronavirus in how it affects families and creates opportunity for charity towards others. Still beautifully illustrated, the story includes some vigorous hand-washing and the usual fun and games of being part of a family staying at home and learning to live through a parental illness.

Excerpt: 

Before she got sick Mum always looked after all of us.

She helped the neighbours with their shopping.

She walked her friend Helen’s dog when Helen was at work.

She helped the kids with their homework at Homework Club.

Mum helped everyone until…

Mum got sick. 

Her throat was sore and she kept coughing.

She had a bad virus….

 

It is good for children to think about the tough stuff in life as well as the frivolous. The key is that serious matters are dealt with in an honest yet simple way that seeks to enlighten children and empower them with knowledge that is both age appropriate and is knowledge that does not scaremonger, scandalise or sensationalise such topics for them.

 

Elephant in the Room

The purpose of my Elephant in the Room series of books and talks are to help parents and carers find a way to talk with children about difficult topics. So if you have a topic of issue you think is misunderstood or could fit our list please do get in touch.

 

Coronavirus Conversations

Perhaps your child has some questions on the topic of CORONAVIRUS. Here are 10 simple ways of communicating key aspects of this illness with your child. Remember honest clear age appropriate answers are the best approach.

 

  1. The Coronavirus (COVID -19) is a virus that is very contagious this means it can spread easily from one person to another.
  2. The virus can make people feel ill like they have the flu or a bad cold. Some people might feel very unwell when they are infected with the virus.
  3. To help stop the virus spreading it is important that everybody washes their hands with soap for at least 20 seconds.
  4. A good way to know you are doing this properly is to sing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song two times while you are washing your hands.
  5. Other ways to help stop the spread of the coronavirus  include keeping a distance apart from people. This is called Social Distancing. (Remember  It is okay to be with the family you live with if you are all well.)
  6. Staying at home is a way of social distancing. It helps to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
  7. Because the coronavirus is so contagious it has spread quickly around many countries in the world. This is known as a pandemic.
  8. During a pandemic people can feel a bit uncertain or sad about the way daily life has been changed. It is okay to feel like this and it is important to talk to your friends and family.
  9. Planning fun things to do once the virus pandemic is over and remembering good times in the past are ways you and your friends and family can help each other stay positive.
  10. Finding ways to exercise helps too. You can dance, get your family to help you find online exercise classes and make up your own activities to keep yourself active and help to keep the positivity going.

 

JOURNALING: A FUN ACTIVITY FOR STAYING AT HOME:

Children could create their own journal or do this together as a family. It can be helpful for them to see how they can see order in their lives when there are so many changes going on and can give them a sense of empowerment if they can plan their day. It can be quite simple like the example below. 

My stay at home day:

IN THE MORNING I GET UP AT…

FOR BREAKFAST I WILL HAVE…

ACTIVITIES I WILL DO…

AT LUNCH I WILL EAT…

IN THE AFTERNOON I WILL…

DINNERTIME FOOD I LOVE TO EAT…

THE EVENING IS A GOOD TIME TO…

Encourage them to look to positives in the future. For instance:

WHAT I WILL DO WHEN I DO NOT HAVE TO STAY AT HOME (a space for writing and drawing…