Children’s emotions about life in pandemic


The promotion of child and adolescent well-being, including their human rights, has already been considered one of the great challenges of the social sciences of this century.

Covid-19 has added new needs and has made the needs of children and adolescents even more evident. As the latest Eurochild network report (2020) reveals , the child population has suffered from Covid-19, not only a particularly restrictive confinement, but also a strong invisibility of their needs and rights.

From the collaborative work carried out between Health Promotion and Donostia Laugunkoia of the Donostia City Council, Tabakalera , Emaus Fundazioa , Telephone of Hope of Guipuzkoa and Kutxakultur in the first weeks of de-escalation, the Postcards 2020 project was promoted , which aims to offer an experimental space for meeting, listening and conversation. This space wants to facilitate the collective construction of a narrative about the emotions that are accompanying us in this context of a pandemic, that can be healing and leave no one behind.

Help them express emotions

As part of this initiative, minors between the ages of 6 and 11 who participated in the activities of Oporretan Euskaraz 2020 were asked to write a postcard – purchased, handmade, drawn and anything else they considered to have a place and help express their emotional state – to later deposit it in one of the mailboxes enabled for it. Thus, boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 11 participated in Postcards 2020, and that allowed them to express emotions and feelings that had been accompanying them since the pandemic was declared.

From the KideON Research Group, an analysis of these postcards and drawings was carried out with the aim of collecting how the experiences, feelings and emotions that emerged at that time were being. One of the conclusions reached through this analysis is that the participating boys and girls had difficulties expressing their emotions, for example, using the word “gaizki”, which means “bad” in Spanish, but without being able to name them. the emotion they were feeling, such as sadness, anger, or boredom.

Starting from the drawings made by the boys and girls, a story was created that collected in a visual way how the little ones expressed their experiences, their emotions and feelings in order to return the work done and that could serve as a support to tell and share what lived and felt.

In addition, a didactic unit aimed at the Primary Education stage was designed, offering support aimed at schools and other socio-educational spaces for the improvement of well-being and emotional management from a comprehensive perspective and attending to both emotional and health aspects. , food, healthy lifestyle habits, sleep hygiene and others. Workshops for the management of emotions and promotion of well-being in different Hautxokos .

The Haurtxokos are educational leisure spaces aimed at girls and boys from 5 to 11 years old who seek to train and support them during their free time through non-formal education to help them on their way to personal autonomy, as well as to help boys and girls live childhood fully, a stage of enjoyment, experimentation and maturation, the basis of their adult life. The programs and activities that are launched in the Hautxokos are always based on the needs of children, the leading role falls on them and they and the objective is their emotional and social development.

From the health promotion service it was seen as necessary to offer children tools to deal with the daily discomforts that occur throughout their lives and to be able to respond to these stressful situations through healthy strategies. In collaboration with the youth service of the Donostia-San Sebastián City Council, the possibility of putting the didactic unit into practice in different municipal Hautxokos of the city was considered.

Techniques for them to learn to express themselves

The members of the KideON Research Group, and within the R&D&i research (PID2020-119011RB-I00) “Diagnosis and intervention proposals on the well-being, inequalities and socio-educational needs of the child and adolescent population after COVID- 19” , designed two sessions in six Hautxokos in Donostia. The proposal was based on active and participatory methodologies that combined psychodrama techniques, self-exploration techniques, games, body movement, theater, and relaxation and mindfulness techniques .

A total of 169 boys and girls between the ages of 5 and 11 participated. The first workshop aimed to work on emotions, identify and name them and acquire a better understanding of oneself regarding emotional aspects. Likewise, strategies were offered to manage them from a healthy perspective and resources were incorporated for greater assertive communication.

The second workshop focused on well-being from a comprehensive perspective, starting from what we each do to feel better and what we can do to improve our emotions and increase the degree of well-being with ourselves and with our environment, also focusing on the importance of playing sports and acquiring healthy eating habits.

To evaluate the sessions, at the end of them the minors were asked to collect through a drawing what they had learned or liked from the sessions.

We can conclude that the workshops have helped to better self-knowledge of emotions and well-being, offering on the one hand more resources to know how to identify and express their emotions and their management and on the other to better understand what benefits their well-being and what are the habits for a healthy life. The importance of personal care, the care of our body, healthy eating and the practice of sport have gained special strength in the discourse of minors throughout the sessions.

In this sense, it is necessary to continue incorporating spaces and moments in official curricula and non-formal education where special attention is paid to emotional education and health education, making this work even more imperative in critical situations such as the current one. It is not only a challenge, but a right that already marks the different world and European agendas, and it is our duty, from different spheres, to continue investigating, training and offering spaces and moments that nurture us in this direction.

Author Bios: Naiara Berasategui Sancho is Professor in the Department of Didactics and School Organization at the University of the Basque Country / Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea, Amaia Eiguren Munitis is Professor of the Department of Didactics and School Organization. Faculty of Education of Bilbao also at the University of the Basque Country / Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea, Nahia Idoiaga Mondragon is Professor of the Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology of the Faculty of Education of Bilbao also at the University of the Basque Country / Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea and Sorkunde Jaca Miranda is a Health Promotion Nurse Donostia City Council