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Pediatric nurse launches company to help support children during COVID-19 pandemic

The isolation of the quarantine is difficult for everyone, but even more for children who don't fully understand. DD Fritch wants to help.

ATLANTA — Parents across the country are struggling to help their children understand and cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Many of them are in school virtually - away from their friends and extended family. 

DD Fritch, decided to do something about it by launching Hearts Connected. The mission is to support children during this uncertain time. 

Fritch has sat at the bedside of sick children for years as a pediatric nurse. She watched the difference child life specialists could make in the lives of kids who were really struggling. 

Now that so many children are struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic, she thought now would be the perfect time to bring that service directly to families who need it. 

"As adults, we struggle. I miss my friends. I want to go hug people," she said.

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"Playing on your computer is very different than playing with your friends, or playing in a neighborhood, or playing in the grass," she said. 

The only way some kids can see their friends now is over a screen. 

"For years, we have heard you need to limit screen time. Well, what the heck does that mean these days? Screen time is how you get your interaction now," she said.  

She said the isolation has been confusing and difficult for kids and their caregivers. 

"We have parents, grandparents, caregivers, trying to juggle. And it is really hard to help your children hope when you're in a good place and you don't have a lot of extra stressors. But when you do have added stressors, that's even harder," she said. 

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Fritch said child life specialists in hospitals help families cope with difficult diagnoses, medical changes, or difficult life transitions. She said that service was so essential, she wanted all families to have access to it - not just families with a child in the hospital. 

"I'm a pediatric nurse, I'm a mother of 3, and I've learned through my career some of the best ways to manage pediatric coping. But when my child is facing that, I can't say I've always done it the right way," she said. 

She just launched Friday, but offers sessions with child life specialists over the phone or by video chat. 

She said no matter what service people use, the most important thing is that children struggling during this time are heard. 

"Find the best way to relate to your child in a way that you feel safe. Ask them open ended questions. And be prepared to hear things that may make you uncomfortable. They don't expect you to have the right answer, they just want you to listen. And they want to be heard," she said. 

You can find her new company, Hearts Connected, on Facebook. They are in Atlanta, but are facilitating care for kids all over the U.S. You can also visit the website for additional information.

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