Coronavirus has taken the world by storm and literally turned it on its head. Social distancing is the new order of the day, and we have taken our kids indoors. As we rummage through shops for supplies, restructure our working life and get ready for our new normal, amid all the madness, we mustn't forget the kids. We need to bring them along the journey of finding a new normal. It is as destabilising for them as it is for us. Let us take time out to explain to our kids. It's helpful to them - and us - if we let them know we are making changes, why the changes are happening and how things are going to be different for them and us all for the foreseeable future.
Here are a few guidelines to help get the conversation going.
Separate fact from fake news. Please ensure you are clear about what Coronavirus is and what it is not so that you give your child accurate information.
Deal with your fears and anxieties. Before you broach the topic with your child, ensure you have processed your thoughts and worries first. Ensure you are calm and measured, so you do not transfer your anxiety to your child. They feed off your emotions
Find out what your child already knows. The likelihood is they have learnt a bit about it from nursery, school or your designated method of childcare. Decide if your child needs to know the details or just surface information about the changes taking place.
Educate, don't scare. When speaking to your child, give them the facts suitable for their age and understanding. Please do not fill them with fear of potential takeovers by the army and whatnot.
Explain the changes in routine and why they are necessary. Kids are more receptive to changes when they are explained and involved in making them.
Validate their feelings. With everything going on, your emotions, feelings, mood and everything else is on overdrive. Children are just like you, only smaller. Be patient with them as they try to navigate their new normal. Reassure them when they are scared or feeling uneasy. Let them know you understand and you are doing everything to ensure they are comfortable.
Lead by example. Wash your hands, sanitise and wipe those surfaces. Remember, more is caught than taught. So let them see you keeping good hygiene, and they will follow suit. This excellent video shows kids the importance of good hygiene, particularly washing hands.
Remember to be safe, and if you need to read up on Coronavirus and social distancing, this is an excellent article.
Philly & Friends is a children’s brand that publishes diverse children’s books and creates products and media content. Our books and products are designed to instil confidence and positive values in children. Our debut children’s book is titled, Who Do I See in the Mirror? You can see more by clicking the picture below.