With the pandemic putting everything on hold and the lockdown extended, you probably have your hands full making sure that there’s food on the table while taking care of your family. At the same time, your kids are probably asking a lot of questions. Why aren’t they allowed to leave the house? What is “this new sipon” they’ve been hearing about? How serious is it?
We know that the last thing you want is for your children to be afraid, but information, when shared the right way, can help alleviate that fear a little bit. Sticking to age-appropriate facts is also a good start.
If you have preschool kids, the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests focusing on good habits to adopt and even using dolls or puppets to explain the symptoms. You can tell them that in order to stay healthy, they should always wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.
You can also share that people with dry cough or fever or those who are suffering from tiredness may not be feeling well, and as we would when our friends or relatives are sick, we should wait until they get better before seeing them again.
If your kids are older, they may benefit from more information, but be careful not to overwhelm them either. When they ask about the coronavirus, be factual. Say that coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can cause respiratory diseases—from the common cold to something more serious. You can then explain that a new coronavirus was recently discovered, and it’s what’s been causing a disease called COVID-19.
From there, you can explain that people can get COVID-19 from those who already have the disease. This is why the entire family is staying indoors and practicing social distancing. Again, emphasize the importance of washing their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.
For now, these answers should help placate your kids. And while there will probably be more questions later on—children, after all, are curious by nature—being around to help them make sense of things will help. Having their concerns and feelings validated will help. Knowing that mom will always listen will help.
According to WHO, kids are agents of change, and a crisis can be an “opportunity to help them learn, cultivate compassion and increase resilience while building a safer and more caring community.” There can be no brighter future than this.
With you by their side, they’ll be just fine.
If you want to know more about COVID-19, follow this link.
Sources: WHO Key Messages and Actions for COVID-19 Prevention and Control in Schools; WHO Q&A