The COVID-19 pandemic affects families around the globe. Even if you don’t know anyone who has contracted the virus, your daily life has most likely changed. People can no longer gather and do the things they used to, like work, dine, and socialize.
This new way of life is challenging for adults. Imagine how scary and confusing it must be for children who may not fully understand why things have changed.
One of the best tools a parent has to calm fears and worries is communication. Connect Electric wants to share 5 tips that will help you get a healthy conversation started while giving your children ways to cope with social distancing.
- Know the Facts About COVID-19 Before You Talk
There’s a lot of misinformation going around about coronavirus. Before you can help your children understand it, you need to know the facts. Review reputable medical and scientific sources for information.
You don’t need to get too technical, but you should be able to honestly answer questions your children may ask. This is also a good way for adults to calm their fears and better understand what’s happening and potential outcomes.
- Acknowledge Their Feelings – Even Negative Ones
Many times, kids are told to dismiss their negative feelings when they are scared or uncertain about something new. Right now, your little ones need you to acknowledge and accept their feelings. It’s the first step toward helping them work through them.
Let your kids know that it’s ok to feel concern or worry. You need to keep the lines of communication open. Just be mindful of how you present certain information. Details about illness and death can be hard for children to digest. They also pick up on more than adults often realize, so limit conversation about darker topics when kids are within earshot.
- Balance Coronavirus News with Other Topics
The 24-hour news cycle is consumed by pandemic updates. This isn’t good for adults let alone children. Balance topics of discussion with other areas of interest. Keep your kids informed when they need to be or answer questions when they come up. However, do not push your kids into talking about COVID-19 all the time.
Balance will require turning off the TV or avoiding online news for periods of time. Round out their day with other things to help them deal with the changes without feeling overwhelmed.
You can plan a “blackout” time each day where all devices are unplugged and turned off so you can have fun together as a family without interruption by COVID-19 news.
- Discuss Virus Risk and Responsibility
Virus risk and responsibility can be a tough subject, but it is one that you should discuss with your children. Explain what vulnerability means and that is isn’t weakness. Share information on who falls into a high-risk group and how we as a society are trying to protect people in that group.
Help kids understand how their actions affect others. Explain how doing things like properly washing hands, wearing a face mask, and staying home are a part of being responsible and protecting the vulnerable.
- Show Kids How to Help During the Pandemic
Children like to feel like they are helping. Come up with ways to boost positivity as a family. Even if you can’t leave your home, you can do things to reinforce a sense of community. Create positive signs and posters to hang in windows for neighbors to see.
You can also show kids how they can help around the house by doing extra chores and cleaning up after themselves. Let them know what their contributions mean to you and those in your household.
This is a difficult time for everyone. With your guidance, it can also be a valuable learning experience that helps children grow into responsible, conscientious adults.