As coronavirus cases continue to rise around the world, more countries are implementing preventative measures such as advocating for social distancing and closing schools for a set period of time. Many of you may be wondering how to have an effective conversation with your kids about the virus and their participation in curbing its spread. Here are some ways you can explain what the circumstances are and how the coronavirus outbreak could affect them.
Ask them what they know
Gauge their level of understanding and find out what worries them. You could ask them:
- Have you heard about the coronavirus?
- How does it make you feel?
- What do you think about it?
Keep it simple
We are overwhelmed with new information on a daily basis, so pare it down for the kids. Filter everything, use relevant facts, and keep it positive.
You can use phrases like:
- Anyone can catch coronavirus but our actions can help keep everyone safe.
- Scientists are learning more about it every day.
- We need to wash our hands well and cover our mouths and noses when coughing and sneezing.
- It’s important to be kind to others and keep our germs to ourselves.
Listen to them
Approach the conversation with empathy. Listen to their concerns and let them express their feelings on the subject. Respond to their feelings with truthfulness without alarming them or inciting panic.
Get them involved
Ask them to think of cool ways to go through the ritual of washing their hands, perhaps with a song that engages them for more than 20 seconds or simply by counting numbers.
Explain the idea of quarantine
If you expect to be in quarantine, tell them about it as simply as you can. Ask them about special items, food, books, or games they would like to keep in the house. If you run out of items, consider using online delivery services.
Keep yourself up to date
Continue to check the latest information from medical and government officials so you can help your children through all the changes that might still come your way.
If you would like to know more on this topic, the Child Mind Institute has published a document of expert advice and Unicef has also published a series of articles about children and Coronavirus. Additionally, Dr. Ranj, a pediatrician from the UK and TV presenter on various health programs, has released an easy-to-follow video for children about coronavirus.
For updates on the evolving coronavirus situation around the world, please check out our live article which is updated daily.
Need a little bit of good news in your life right now? Check out our article on all the positive effects COVID19 has had around the world.
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