With the world paying close attention to the recent Coronavirus pandemic, it’s easy to forget that our children are almost completely in the dark about what’s happening but definitely aware of changes occurring in their world.
The last thing we want to do is incite the same panic in our little ones that we felt when this whole thing started.
If you’re ready to talk to your children about COVID-19 and the impact it is having on the world, here is a simple guide to help explain the situation to them:
Kids are not emotionally equipped to handle panic – and they are likely going to look to you to determine how to appropriately react to the situation.
The best thing you can do as a parent in this time of uncertainty is to remain calm. When your children see you approaching the situation rationally and calmly, they will do the same.
More than likely, young children will not exhibit a whole lot of worry over the situation. Older children, however, may have more awareness of the potential consequences of Coronavirus and become more concerned and anxious.
Answer Their Questions Honestly
Don’t try to sugarcoat the situation for your children. If they ask if people have died, say “yes”. If they ask if they can catch it, say “yes”.
Be sure to explain your answer fully. Tell them why people have died and explain how proper hygiene and staying home will greatly reduce their risk of catching it.
Also explain the symptoms and how COVID-19 is like having the flu and the chances of dying from it are actually very low.
Monitor Their Media Exposure
There is so much false information flying around the internet about the Coronavirus that it’s probably best if you try and keep your children away from the media.
Even if you explain how certain information is false, simply being exposed to it could cause them anxiety.
Focus your attention on reputable news sources and share new information from them with your children.
Maintain a Normal Routine
It’s likely that your children are currently out of school and you may be temporarily laid-off from your job or working from home. This is a huge change for your family and it will have an impact on your little ones.
Children thrive on routine and predictability. You can’t replicate their usual schedule at school but you can structure their days to provide some stability.
At least during school hours, set up time blocks of activities for them. Many educational sites that usually charge a subscription fee are offering free memberships such as ABC Mouse (use code “AOFLUNICEF”) and BrainPop. Take advantage of their videos, games and printables to keep your child on track academically.
Don’t forget to incorporate physical activity into the day as well. Enjoy a walk after lunch or, if the weather is bad, have a dance party. You can even put on YouTube videos focused on keeping your kids moving around such as Cosmic Kids Yoga.
Explain the Importance of Good Hygiene
We all need to do our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including our children.
Teach your children not to touch any unnecessary items such as products in a store or railings. If at all possible, try to keep your children at home.
Also explain to them how to wash their hands. A good rule of thumb is to sing “Happy Birthday” twice while scrubbing their hands with soap.
Keep Calm and Parent On
Although this is a stressful situation, you will make it through with your children in tow. Just be supportive, caring and understanding as they try to understand what is happening and adapt to a new routine.
How are you keeping your kids on track during this time of social isolation? Let us know in the comments!