5 May 2020

Children’s Health Queensland has launched a new book as part of the Australian-first Birdie’s Tree series to help support young children during, and after, the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

‘Birdie and the Virus’ follows Birdie and her friend, Mr Frog, as they face the challenges of a virus spreading in their community. After Mr Frog becomes sick, the book takes children on a journey of recovery from testing for the virus to treatment, while reinforcing the importance of staying home, hand washing and keeping connected with friends during isolation.

The Birdie’s Tree series of illustrated story books was created by the Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health to help young children process their emotions during, and after, a natural disaster or unusual event.

Children’s Health Queensland senior psychologist and co-author of the books, Dr Andrea Baldwin said infants and young children could experience more disturbance and anxiety than older children or adults during the COVID-19 pandemic, because they have limited understanding of the events going on around them.

“Young children feel secure when their world is ordered and predictable. They need that sense of security to explore and learn, grow and develop in healthy ways. Disruption and uncertainty make it hard for families to maintain routines and help children feel that the world makes sense,” Dr Baldwin said.

“Children pick up on their parents’ emotions. When the family is experiencing stresses like job insecurity, financial worries or family members becoming ill, young children will be affected at a crucial stage of brain development. This can have long-term as well as immediate impacts on their emotional wellbeing.”

‘Birdie and the Virus’ can be read online for free in English, Farsi, Italian, Japanese, Chinese and Korean. An animation of the book, including a handwashing song, can also be accessed online www.childrens.health.qld.gov.au/covid-19-birdie-virus.

To help parents, carers and early childhood educators caring for young children, Birdie’s Tree also includes interactive games and information sheets.

Read the media release
Watch the Nine News story

5 May 2020, Nine News Queensland.