Schools, nurseries, beaches, parks and now shopping malls are closed. Parents are working from home, and everyone is talking about a virus. Even very young children can feel that something is going on.
As coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 illness, spreads it is affecting most aspects of our life. In these times, as parents, we might not know-how, or what, to tell our children.
It is a good idea to take some time to educate, but also be careful not to scare, furthermore parents need to tone down their own anxiety, which can be just as contagious as a virus.
Here are some things to consider when talking to your children about the coronavirus.
Reinforce healthy habits
While handwashing in any normal situation is something we are always enforcing, its now a time to reinforce that more than ever. Explain to young children that the coronavirus is something that’s spread through germs, like a cold. Older children may have read or seen more in the news, so it may be appropriate to go more into detail that it’s a new virus that the public hasn’t experienced before and is therefore not immune to it. Explain that those more at risk include older adults and those who have other health conditions. Parents can even make it fun for young children by singing a song to ensure they’re washing up for at least 20 seconds.
Children can sense their parents’ own anxiety. Therefore it’s essential for parents to remain calm, keep their anxiety at bay and avoid scaring children of all ages. Keep consistency in the family’s activities as much as you can. Make sure bedtime remains at reasonable times, and waking in the morning and being productive continue. Also, be kind to yourrself, you’re not going to be perfect here, no-one is going to be anxiety-free.
Explain the positives
Besides the conversations surrounding Corona Virus, this is also a good time to connect as a family and ask children to look at what is positive about the situation. With more time spent staying in, families will have more opportunities to play games and spend quality time together, eat meals together.