How to talk to your children about COVID-19

South African Mommy Blogger Nikita Camacho COVID-19

As adults, I think we’re trying our hardest to try make some sense of the hysteria surrounding COVID-19 better known as Corona Virus. I think educating ourselves is key to avoid the mass hysteria and to be level-headed about it so that our children are not filled with fear.

Recently, I discovered the only reference my daughter has with Corona is the island kingdom of Rapunzel’s birthplace in  Disney’s Tangled.

Up until our trip to the dentist, it was our first encounter with COVID-19 precautionary measures. Before we were allowed to enter the building, a rather burly man and lady stood waiting for the incoming patients. Armed with gloves, facial masks and medical hand-sanitisers, we were questioned about any possible symptoms, recent travels and possible contact with any Corona-infected people.

I watched a family of three before us in the queue, freak out. The mother and father were complaining of scratchy throats and immediately donned the given masks while their 14 year-old son was on the verge of tears saying, “I thought you said you don’t have it”.

I realised that fear is rife at the moment.

The beady eyes of my daughter looked up intently at the masked man in front of us.   In that moment, I realised how scary and confusing it is for her. Since all our previous visits,  we simply walked in. We were then given the all clear to enter the building with a yellow sticker on our chests.

It’s time, we have an open discussion with our children about COVID-19.

How to talk to your children about COVID-19

  1. Remember, you are the adult. You cannot allow the mass hysteria to grip you and feed it to your unknowing child. You are their parent and they look to you for reassurance. The only thing breeding faster than COVID-19 at the moment is fear. 
  2. Explain COVID-19 according to your child’s age. Make sure it is age-appropriate. (Further down the page, I’ve shared the PDF that I showed parts of it to my daughter).
  3. Practise social distancing,  keep a 2m distance from other people.  Perhaps visit stores during off-peak times.
  4. Make a rule with your child to keep their hands in their “imaginary” bubble if you’re out in public. So that they are not touching objects as it is unclear how long the virus can live on objects. 
  5. Reiterate good hygiene with your children such as washing their hands with soap and water. Have your child make a soap “glove” over their hands  which will ensure that their hands are covered and washed thoroughly for 20 seconds.
  6. Teach your children to not share cool drinks, water bottles, food and even lip-ice. As a high school teacher, you’ll be shocked to see how many boys share one tub of vaseline for their cracked lips. At this stage, sharing is not caring!
  7. Have a daily cut-off time in your home on the discussion about COVID-19. Allow yourself and your child to reconnect about your everyday life without the fear surrounding COVID-19.
  8. Create a designated time slot away from devices for you and your child to check in emotionally. 
  9. With social media, Google and much more at our fingertips, stop sharing fake news. Use Google Fact Check Tool to help you verify a story should it make you feel uneasy. 

Here’s the infographic that was passed on to me that I thought is appropriate for children and thought it would be useful to you and family. (Created by Manuela Molina from @mindheart.kids)

 

How to talk to your children about COVID-19 Nikita CamachoNikita Camacho Hearts in Her Shoes COVID-19

You can download these pics here as a PDF for your own use, Corona Virus PDF for kids.

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About Nikita Camacho

Entertainment and lifestyle writer using the digital space as her playground and work space.

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