Parents should be responsible for helping their children sort through this information in order to gain a better understanding of what’s happening. We understand how hard this can be, so we’ve put together several tips on how to approach this difficult subject.
- Be honest with your children, but don’t instill fear. Answer any questions your child may have in a developmentally appropriate context and correct any misinformation that they may have.
- Reinforce proper hand washing procedures. Constantly remind your kids how doing so is effective in preventing the spread of not just Coronavirus, but many other diseases as well.
- Give them the basics on social distancing. Many kids will be upset and confused as to why they can no longer go to school or have play dates or go outside. Make sure that they know this is for their safety and the safety of everyone around them, and ensure them that this is only temporary and that it won’t be like this forever.
- Explain what people around the world are doing to keep them safe. For example, health care professionals and scientists are currently working on trying to discover a vaccination, while doctors and nurses are treating those who are currently affected and trying to help them get better and recover from it. Teach your children about other community heroes who may not have a direct impact on healthcare, but are just as essential, such as grocery store workers, janitors, delivery personnel, and drive-thru employees. Further explain that although it may be scary to see people walking around with masks and gloves on, it is to keep everyone safe and germ-free.
- Highlight and celebrate successes. There are new innovations and creative solutions being created by people around the world, and this could instill hope and positivity in your children during these unprecedented time.
For example, Aaron Lu, 16, from Burnaby, BC, has been running his 3D printer non-stop to create small parts that helps health care professionals relieve the strain caused on their ears from wearing masks all day.
Remember that it is okay to be confused and anxious during these times, and that no one has all the answers. It’s okay to tell your children that you don’t know. What we’re currently dealing with is uncharted territory and we’re all taking it one step at a time. Use this as an opportunity to spend time with your family and remind each other that we’re all in it together.