Parents play an important role in helping children make sense of what they are currently hearing and seeing in a way that is honest, accurate, and minimizes anxiety and fear. From answering kids’ questions, to having an important conversation, to keeping away from anxiety and finding ways to stay healthy and busy, we are here with information and tips that should help you and your family navigate the coronavirus!
As you have probably heard due to the media frenzy, COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, has been causing a pandemic, so it is easy to stress out. Although this may be scary, it is notably more frightening for little ones. It is important to remember children will react to both what you say and how you say it and will imitate what they see, so you need to stay calm.
Children are good at picking up on social cues from conversations you have with others, so be sure you are aware. As their parent, it is your responsibility to be calm, help them navigate the interruption, and to prepare themselves. Above all, help your kids to look at this particular time as a positive, spending more time together as a family.
Talk About It
With schools, sports, businesses, clubs, and tourist attractions closing, it could be quite scary to a kid who is used to a routine or has heard about the virus. Please make yourself available for any questions they may have about the virus. If your kids ask, or you decide to have a conversation, be open, honest, and accurate when giving your child information regarding the COVID-19 virus, but please be age-appropriate.
When explaining the situation, keep the information simple and reassure your child that everything is going to be okay. It is important to remind your kids that doctors, scientists, and other health experts are working hard to keep everyone safe and healthy.
Explain and practice these simple steps with your kids to avoid the spread of harmful germs and viruses:
- Social Distancing – This is probably the toughest part of this experience, but it is necessary to keep yourself, your family, and others in the community safe. There are so many resources that exist to keep kids busy both online and offline, which is also the easiest way to avoid boredom and complaints. Whether you are trying to homeschool while distancing or merely trying to keep them occupied, be sure to check out our ‘Resources’ for great ideas while home with your kids.
- Stay Active – Exercise is vital to one’s health, especially the little ones. It is proven to improve moods, focus, and cognition in everyone! Even if it is a quick walk up and down the stairs or a walk around the neighborhood, your bodies and brains will perform better, keeping everyone healthier overall.
- Wash Your Hands – We cannot stress enough that teaching your kids to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing their nose, coughing, sneezing, and going to the bathroom and before eating and preparing food, is essential for staying healthy. Follow this five-step guide from the CDC on how to properly wash your hands. This is easy, yet effective, preventing the spread of germs and viruses from one person to another.
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
- Avoid Touching Yourself and Others – The coronavirus is spreading mostly through droplets from the infected individual’s coughs and/or sneezes. These droplets land on surfaces we commonly touch, such as door handles, which then leads to contracting the virus when touched. Please remind children to stay away from people who are coughing or sneezing, cover their coughing or sneezing, not touch their eyes, nose, and mouth, and to keep their hands to themselves.
We Are All In This Together
We cherish the relationship we have with your family, and we promise constant vigilance against this virus. These are unprecedented times, yet we are confident that together, we will weather this storm, protect the children, support our teachers, and emerge strong and healthy on the other side for better days ahead.