All parents are looking for answers at this time. PHOTO: Supplied

The total lockdown in Israel has put parents into a surrealistic reality. They are home 24/7 with their children, with no social outlets, and with strict government instructions to remain inside or within 100 metres of their homes. Many face a constant balancing act between working at home while overseeing their children’s ’home-schooling’ and online learning.

How is Goshen, a joint initiative of Hadassah Hospital and Hadassah Australia, playing a role in helping parents to navigate the coronavirus crisis?

Launched in 2010 by Israel’s leading pediatricians to advance children’s optimal health, development and well-being, Goshen provides one of the most extensive information websites for parents in Israel.

Goshen has an important and ongoing role in supporting parents at this difficult time, says Ruth Rosen, Executive Director of Hadassah Australia. “The team behind Goshen is providing advice to families on how to face the challenge of ‘forced’ and ‘unplanned’ freedom during these trying times,” she said.

Goshen has developed and uploaded user-friendly information to its highly regarded website.

Featured articles include “Explaining Coronavirus to Your Children;” “How to Build a Home Routine;” “Calming Your Children’s Fears” “Helping Your Children to Sleep;” and “Home Activity Ideas.” There are free downloads, such as a colouring book with positive messages and activity cards with different game ideas.

“In this time of uncertainty and confusion for all of us, parents are anxious and not sure how to handle the situation,” says Dr. Dafna Idan-Prusak, Goshen’s northern director of community paediatrics.

“All parents, and especially those who have children with special needs, are looking for answers. They have questions about medical issues and how to deal with their children’s stress as well as their own. The website provides accurate information that can be helpful and reassuring,” adds Prusak, who completed a two-year Fellowship at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne and is bringing new models of community child development to Israel.

Parents’ real-time challenges are highlighted in a questions-and-answers article that includes issues such as balancing work and family at home, dealing with feelings of guilt, dealing with constant noshing and finding time, as a parent, to decompress. The answers have links to additional information on each of the subject areas.

The timely articles relating to the coronavirus crisis have been translated into English, French, Russian and Amharic.

“It is important during this time to reach out to all populations and provide reliable resources that can help them to cope,” says Prof. Eitan Kerem, Goshen board chair and chairman of paediatrics at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem and Mount Scopus, “especially new immigrants who are not yet fluent in Hebrew and may lack a strong support network.”

Goshen collaborates with non-profit organisations and partners across sectors to share the website’s resources with as wide an audience as possible. It is working with the Jerusalem Municipality and MATI, Jerusalem Business Development Center to reach parents in east Jerusalem and it is a recommended resource on the Tel Aviv Municipality website.

To access the website visit http://www.gadalta.org.il/