These are strange times. Coronavirus is rocking the world on its axis before giving it a double spin for extra befuddlement. The pandemic has shaken up a dark mood of paranoia and panic buying. It’s a confusing enough time for a parent, but what about your kids?
In our playgrounds, they’re calling it “Rona” and God knows what wild stories are already circulating there about Covid-19.
Dr Karen Phillip, a counselling psychotherapist and author of Communication Harmony, explains how you should broach this tricky subject with your children without filling their heads with nightmares of the apocalypse and, more importantly, no toilet paper. This is her advice.
1. Take your cues from your children. Listen to them and find out what they’re being told. If you can find out what exactly they believe then you can correct their concerns specifically and address any particular areas of worry.
2. Turn off the news. It’s not good for your kids to see adults arguing or fighting in supermarkets. Instead reassure them that the best scientists in the world are already working hard on this problem to find a solution and a cure
3. Children pick up a lot. They’ll react to your stress and anxiety. That’s why it’s important that you stay calm and in control. Present Coronavirus as a temporary annoyance that will all end well if your kids take proactive measures like washing their hands and eating their meals to stay strong. If you’re struggling to stay calm yourself, contact a telemedicine authority about how to deal with your stress or get more info by speaking to a chemist or doctor’s office.
4. If your kids are questioning why they can’t see their grandparents tell them it’s because our scientists are saying that we need to protect them most of all. If they’re missing that contact with them, get them to chat over FaceTime or Skype. You can even put position your tablet on the table so the kids can “have dinner” with their grandparents.
5. Children thrive on routine. At this moment, we’re told that schools and pre-schools are safe – young children don’t seem to be contracting the virus as much as adults. But parents are still scared. Personally, my advice to my own daughter regarding my grandson is to send him to school. But when he gets home, take off his clothes to wash them, put him into the shower and then get him into some nice, clean pyjamas.