LAKELAND, Fla. — If COVID-19 is stressing you out, imagine what it’s doing to children.
Early Learning Coalition of Polk County says it has recognized how the pandemic is affecting young children.
Dr. Marc Hutek, the CEO of Early Coalition of Polk, tells ABC Action News children’s lives have been turned upside down. Those under five have had limited social interactions as it is, and when the state first shut down even that experience was taken away.
Now, Dr. Hutek says, parents are dealing with children who have tightened emotions and may not know how to express them.
Early Learning Coalition of Polk County is investing in teaching these young children about their emotions and how to regulate them using a calming kit.
The Calming Kit is offered through The Discovery Source. Its purpose is to help young children with their emotions.
“They tend to fall back on a handful of emotions. They know things either make them angry, making them sad, make them afraid. Their lives are much more simple at that point and what winds up happening is they fall back on what they are accustomed to. And many times right now it is scary. “ Dr. Hutek said.
Inside the kit are things like a feeling wheel so adults and children can act out these emotions, bingo boards with emotions to make a game of marking off which emotions they may be feeling and strategy cards to help adults and children deal with what they may be feeling. For example, breathing deep is an option when a child may be very upset.
So far, Dr. Hutek says ELC has purchased more than 300 kits to help serve each daycare facility within the county.