Kids are curious by nature. Despite all the measures we take to protect them from the harsh realities of the world, they somehow always seem to figure out something is afoot.
With the recent outbreak of coronavirus, you must have already been bombarded with various questions. Especially, since the schools are closed, and they are not allowed to go out without a list of precautionary measures. Plus, they have probably noticed the alarming increase towards attention to hygiene with the frequently imposed handwashing. Of course, they are picking up the clues and wondering what exactly is going on that has made people change their behavior so noticeably.
It is a fortunate fact that children have not been affected too much by this virus. Yet, you cannot escape the news, on the television, or on social media. Instead of your kids forming their own conclusion from the bits of information that are revealed to them, it is recommended that you should take the responsibility to inform your kid calmly but honestly. To help you with this process, here’s a guide on how you can answer their questions responsibly:
Be Informed, Be Prepared
Educate yourself about coronavirus thoroughly. Symptoms, causes, precautions – everything is part of your syllabus. Make sure that you read this information on an official health website like WHO. If you are feeling anxious about the circumstances, try to manage your anxiety through the support of friends or meditation.
Decide How Much You Want To Reveal, Be Honest
Your parenting style and your child’s individuality are essential factors when it comes to revealing news such as this. If you deem yourself to be a parent that follows transparency, you can explain the issue in scientific terms and how it affects your family/friends. Otherwise, you can just answer the questions that are thrown at you, and clear the misconception around it. If you feel uncomfortable you can avoid specific details such as the number of infected or number of casualties. You don’t need to provide them with additional information, but make the answer simple and honest.
Give Them The Gift Of Knowledge
Teach your kid proper etiquette towards respiratory and overall hygiene. They should be aware enough to cover their mouth and nose while sneezing or coughing. Remind them to wash hands frequently and not share their makeup, food or drink with their friends. Tell them how these preventive measures do not only protect him/her but safeguards their whole family’s well-being.
Customize Your Approach As Per Your Child’s Age
When you are talking to your child, use an approach that connects with their age. With younger children, you can describe the situation in layman terms and explain how everything is going to be all right in due time. Indulge them in a game or a song, to make them scrub their hands with soap for at least 20 seconds. Teach them the rules of not to touch their face or washing their hands frequently and reward them with positive reinforcement. For an older child who already has access to the information but feels they are too cool for rules, approach them pragmatically and logically about the consequences of not following these precautions.
Prepare Them For Staying At Home
Do not forego routine. Make a more relaxed routine than that of a regular school day. Include play-time, social media time, lunchtime and other fun activities so that the children do not get restless.
It is a probable outcome that a child may be frightened when confronted with this information. Yet, you are right there to comfort them. That is the best part about being the source of this information. If you don’t know an answer to a certain question they ask, it is okay to say you don’t know than a lie.
We Are All In The Same Boat
Children may feel indignant about the constant restriction on their regular activities – like visiting a friend or missing a band rehearsal. Remind them that these sacrifices are valuable, and address their concerns patiently. Prompt them to understand that he/she is not the exception and the rest of the world, including you, are staying inside for the well-being of the family.
Frame the rules not as mandatory house chores but necessary social responsibility towards their family and hence, community.