Coronavirus is very scary. Officialy, COVID-19 is a dangerous illness that’s rapidly spreading. At the time of this writing, the first deaths have occurred in the United States, and schools are beginning to close in parts of the country. Soon, our daily lives may change and our children’s schedules may change. How do we process Coronavirus and kids? As parents, this is the scariest part of this illness. We want our children’s lives to be peaceful and happy and healthy. As Coronavirus threatens this, how do we stay calm for our children?
As Coronavirus reaches our part of the world, we are all starting to panic and worry a little more. However, panic is absolutely not helpful to our kids. As in most situations, our children are looking to us for guidance, reassurance, and comfort. The more they start to hear about Coronavirus, the more they will feel fearful. How can we help kids deal with this information overload? Coronavirus and kids is not an easy topic. Keep reading for my best tips on how to help your kids through this scary time.
Only Tell Them What They Need or Want to Know about Coronavirus
It seems that the topic of Coronavirus will be difficult to avoid soon for children of almost all ages. But depending on your child’s age and school setting, you may be able to shield them from the topic entirely, or only give it in bits and pieces. For example, toddlers don’t need to know anything more than to wash their hands because of germs.
But your teenager might need to know a lot of the details. When a child is old enough and curious enough to have a lot of questions, you want to be the source of truth and clarity. You don’t need your child to learn about the Coronavirus from their friends or the internet. However, you also don’t want to overload them with information. Tell the truth, tell it clearly, and then change the topic. Let them be little as much as possible, even if your teen is taller than you.
Encourage sanitary measures.
As is age appropriate, encourage hand washing, sneezing into your arm, and using hand sanitizer to protect against Coronavirus. As far as we know, that’s really all we can do. There’s nothing more to do, or to know. That’s part of what makes the illness so scary, but it’s also the truth. We may hear other rumors about things that help or don’t help. And kids might hear some rumors about Coronavirus that need explaining.
If you start to see a lot of people with face masks on in public, your kids might have some questions or feel scared. Answering their questions is easy to do with some simple answers. Again, that’s really all you can do and then again, move on to a different topic.
Limit exposure to news about Coronavirus.
In some homes, it’s commonplace to have the television on at all times. During a national tragedy, a natural disaster, or when something big is going on in the world like Coronavirus, it can be hard to shut the tv off. You feel like you need to know something the very minute it’s announced. But the reality is, you don’t. Actually, you can always get the information you need from your phone. In this way, every detail won’t be broadcast to the little ears in your home. And you’ll be able to tell them the news in a way that’s safer and more age appropriate for them to hear.
Share your feelings.
It’s hard not to feel fearful of the Coronavirus. It’s ok to feel scared and worried. And it’s ok to share that with your child. Sharing your feelings with your children helps them be able to process their own feelings and sadness. If you’re feeling confused or frustrated, share that as well. When children see feelings and emotions being processed in a healthy way, it helps them know that emotions are healthy and normal.
We live in a scary world full of unknowns. Coronavirus is the latest part of the world that we cannot understand or fully process. We all want answers but there are none at the moment. Squeeze your children a little tighter and focus on the positive.
Take Care of Yourself
I’m as guilty as anyone of losing hours of my life on social media, reading about this illness and getting details I don’t need. Why do we do that?! But when we are parents, we need to take extra measures to take care of ourselves. Turn off the tv. Put down the phone. Stop scrolling. And hug your little ones. As parents, we don’t have the luxury of wallowing in the sadness of the world. We have little ones who’s eyes are always watching, and waiting for our response. What are some ways you can take care of yourself in the midst of the Coronavirus hysteria?
Put down the device.
Shut off the news.
Take time for yourself to process your own emotions.
Talk with friends.
Focus on positivity.
Find ways to help others.
As the old saying goes, if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. That can clearly apply to Dad as well. Our children are watching us and we set the tone in our homes. Coronavirus is scary and concerning. As adults, we have to process this information nearly every day or every week. How you do this will help model for your children how they can do it as well.
Stay healthy my friends. I will be dealing with this in my own home and with my precious family. It’s a scary world, and as we all deal with the Coronavirus, we just want to hug our kids a little tighter. Our responsibility is to be the source of comfort and love for our children, especially in times of worldwide fear. What tips do you have for how to talk to your child about this illness? I’d love to hear them in the comments!