With all the latest news we hear about the coronavirus and it’s impact around the world we find ourselves overwhelmed and anxious. Therefor, it’s natural for our children to feel anxious too.
It is hard for children to understand everything they see on TV and online and all the talk they hear from other people, so it is easy to understand how anxious and sad they feel. The only way to beat that is to have an open discussion with your children about the corona virus and to help them understand what it is.
First thing to do is allow your child to talk about it and find out how much they know about the virus. Allow your child to talk freely. Try not to avoid their concerns. Always make sure that you acknowledge their feelings and reassure them that it is natural to feel scared about such things. Always give your child your full attention and let them know that they can talk to you or their teachers at all times.
Always be honest with your child and try to explain the truth as much as possible because children have the right to truthful information. And it is he responsibility of the adults to keep them safe from distress. Try to be sensitive to their level of anxiety.
Don’t try to guess answers to questions you can’t answer. Invite your child to explore the answers together with you on the internet. Try to explain that some information online is not always accurate and that it’s best to get that information from expert sources.
One of the best ways to keep children safe from coronavirus and other diseases is to simply encourage regular handwashing. It doesn’t need to be a scary conversation. Sing along with The Wiggles or follow some dance to make learning fun.
Along with that you can show your kids the ways to cover a cough or a sneeze with their elbow and explain to them why they should not get too close to people who have symptoms of a flu. Ask them to tell you if they have a fever, cough or breathing problems.
Always offer your children reassurance. Sometimes it feels like this crisis is all around us when we hear devastating world news on TV or online. It is hard for children to distinguish between images on screen and their own personal reality and thus might believe that they’re in danger. You can help your children cope with the stress by making opportunities for them to play and relax, when possible. Keep regular routines and schedules as much as possible, especially before they go to sleep, or help create new ones in a new environment.
Try to explain to your children that they are not likely to catch the disease and that most people who have the coronavirus recover from it. Reassure your child that many adults are working hard to keep your family safe.
If your child does feel unwell, explain that they have to stay at home/at the hospital because it is safer for them and their friends. Reassure them that you know it is hard (maybe scary or even boring) at times, but that following the rules will help keep everyone safe.
It’s important for children to know that people are helping each other with acts of kindness and generosity.
Share stories of health workers, scientists and young people, among others, who are working to stop the outbreak and keep the community safe. It can be a big comfort to know that compassionate people are taking action.
Always look after yourself so you’ll be more capable of helping your children cope. Children will follow your lead and the way you respond to the news, so stay calm and in control.
If you yourself are feeling anxious, try to take time out and reach out to family and friends to help you relax and be less anxious.
Make sure you close conversations with care. It’s very important that we’re not leaving the kids in a state of distress. Try to measure their level of anxiety by watching their body language and the tone of voice they’re using. Always remind that they can have other difficult conversations with you any time.
Remind them that you love them and care for them and that you are always there for them whenever they’re feeling worries and anxious.