The novel Corona Virus 2019 or COVID-19 has created a lot of uncertainty and fear in our society. With today’s hyper-connected society, the spread of information, both true and false is so quick that it is hard to keep track of what to believe. Children are especially susceptible to getting misinformed since they usually rely on their parents and caregivers to process complex concepts for them. So how do you talk to your child about this new disease that has caused so much panic? We have six tips to guide you through this seemingly difficult but necessary conversation.
- Remain calm and reassuring, don’t be afraid to talk about Corona Virus
- Prepare yourself with correct and updated information
- Understand what your child already knows and use this as a base to initiate the conversation
- Give facts and information honestly, accurately and appropriately
- Teach and practice preventive measures
- Establish a routine and practice it
Remain calm and reassuring, don’t be afraid to talk about COVID-19
Children are very good at picking up non-verbal cues from others; this means that they will react as much to how you pass as well as what you say. This makes it important for you to have this conversation in a calm manner. As serious as the pandemic is, you do not want to cause panic and unnecessary fear in your little one.
Prepare yourself with correct and updated information
Make sure you learn and get as much information on the Coronavirus as you can. This way, you will be confident with yourself and this will show in how you pass on what you know. Read up on the latest facts from credible sources such as the WHO, the Ministry of Health and qualified health professionals. Be careful to verify whatever information you come across in order to avoid getting misinformed; wrong advice can put the health of you and your child in even more danger.
Understand what your child already knows and use this as a base to initiate the conversation
Most likely, your child has already heard about Covid-19 from the news, their friends, and other passing interactions in their day to day lives. Some of this information may not be accurate and could be downright wrong. You need to first understand what your child’s understanding of the pandemic is and what they feel about it. This will help you identify any gaps in the information they might have. It also helps in keeping the conversation appropriate to their current developmental stage; avoiding overwhelming them with too much information.
Give facts and information honestly, accurately and appropriately
The novel Coronavirus is still fairly new and even the best medical experts are still discovering new information about how it spreads as well as affects the human body. This means that our collective knowledge on this is limited. Help them understand that some of what they might read or hear might not be very accurate and give them tips on how they can discern the difference between facts and rumors. Reassure your child that you will keep them updated as any new information arises.
Teach and practice preventive measures
Talk to your child about the ways you can prevent transmission of COVID-19. Practice proper techniques for washing and disinfecting their hands and frequently touched surfaces. You also need to make them understand the importance of using a tissue or the inside of their elbow to cough or sneeze into every time. They also should appreciate what social distancing is and how they can practice this in their daily lives.
Establish a routine and practice it
Schools and daycare centers are closed and your children are at home. You might also be working from home in line with the president’s directive. This does not mean that learning and working should stop, it is important to establish a routine that allows your child to continue learning as they would if they were still in school. You should take advantage of many digital resources available on websites, YouTube or educational apps on the Playstore or App Store. If you are working from home, let your child understand that you need to focus on the particular tasks that you are responsible for. Set fixed times for meals as well as regular breaks to avoid fatigue and also break up the day into manageable blocks. With time, you will find yourselves fitting into this new routine and it becomes second nature.1