U-M releases ‘Georgie and the Giant Germ’ coloring book that explains COVID-19 to children

A drawing of Georgie and the Giant Germ.
A drawing of Georgie and the Giant Germ. (University of Michigan | Zero to Thrive)

ANN ARBOR – University of Michigan’s Zero to Thrive perinatal and early childhood initiative has released a coloring book to help children with their feelings during the coronavirus pandemic.

For many young children, the pandemic can be difficult to understand, say Zero to Thrive’s leaders who are experts in the fields of psychiatry and social work.

“In the absence of concrete explanations, in words they can understand, children can often imagine the worst, and blame themselves for the changes they are experiencing," the group said in a statement.

In response, the team created a coloring book titled “Georgie and the Giant Germ” to foster healthy conversations about COVID-19 and to provide children with a tool for expressing and processing their concerns.

Download the book here.

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Families are invited to post children’s colored versions of “Georgie and the Giant Germ” and original artworks related to home isolation to the Tender Press Books Facebook Page.

Below is some more information about childhood stress during COVID-19 from Zero to Thrive:

As adults, we may tend to overlook or minimize how very young children are affected by current events. However, even very young children are watching and listening to what is happening, including how we respond emotionally. This means we need to think about how to help even very young children make sense of current realities, and it also means that our own self care is essential.

In moments of stress, remember to breathe, connect with others (while keeping a safe physical distance), take a walk, or do some other thing that helps you feel better. Then think about how you can help your child feel safer and more secure.

Young children often cannot tell us about their worries in words. Instead, you might see changes in their behavior, such as:

  • Increased fussiness, crying, whining or temper tantrums
  • Increased clinginess
  • Increased hitting, biting or scratching
  • Becoming quiet or withdrawn
  • Changes in eating, toileting, or sleeping patterns, such as trouble falling or staying asleep

All of these behaviors may help you know that your child is feeling stressed. They will need more patience and guidance in managing their feelings, which can be so hard to offer when you are worried yourself. None of us will be perfect, these are hard times. But we can strive to care for ourselves so we can care for our children.

For more information about Zero to Thrive and to access its services, visit www.zerotothrive.org.

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