Explaining the Coronavirus to Young Children
How do you even begin to explaining the coronavirus to young children? We know that the corona virus is scary for all parents so we are here to help as best as we can. First of all, we must acknowledge that we are all scared of what the coronavirus is and that it is possible that we can catch it. Some of us are on the front lines working as grocers, nurses, doctors and law enforcement. Others are vulnerable in health and even more are just self isolating, in quarantine or on a full lock down.
Our children, no matter how young are hearing what we are seeing on the news. They are hearing the whispers between adults and they are exposed to it whether we like it or not. Here are the ways that we can help our children navigate this unknown world of the coronavirus.
Table of Contents
Parents: Be informed and Be Calm Before Speaking To Your Children
Your children will mimic how you are feeling about the situation. Take time to meditate, practice self care and go with trusted resources such as the CDC and your government. Follow the rules and self isolate.
Turn the Devices from Sources of Coronavirus to Social Circles
Give your kids a break from coronavirus information by socializing…online
Physically isolating does not mean isolating socially! Unfortunately we cannot get together, but we can call, facetime and write emails. Teach your children how to write an email to their grandparents, friends and family. What do they want to say? What is one thing they love about the person they are writing to? What is one amazing memory your child has with the email recipient? Write this in your emails.
Facetime with friends and grandparents. Arrange special days of dress up and funny hat days to take your children’s mind off of it.
Monitor What Your Children are Watching
Some messaging is real and this whole thing can seem scary. A lot of it is hard for children to grasp and they pick and choose key words and phrases that they understand. Control the narrative of what your children are hearing and seeing.
Explaining The Coronavirus to Young Children – What To Say
It can be challenging to explain a virus to a young child. The last time a pandemic to this magnitiude has happened was in 1918. It has been a while and so we are going on new waters. We advise all parents to be honest and factual but age appropriate. Do not ensue panic. Let your children ask questions and talk about the virus. Tell your children there is a virus that is making some people sick. To make sure that people stay well, we are going to help others by staying in our homes and washing our hands more often. The Wiggles have a great hand washing video. We will also be speaking to Emma Wiggle exclusively on The Baby Spot so stay tuned!
Remember what Mr. Rogers says and reiterate this to your children. Some of these things may look scary! The hospitals, the sick people. But what I want you to do, if you see something about coronavirus that looks SCARY is to
“ALWAYS LOOK FOR THE HELPERS.”
Does your child see a nurse or a doctor helping others? Do your children see you come home from the grocery store? A farm and a warehouse made sure the food got on the truck. A truck driver was so helpful and brought the groceries to the store. The grocers safely loaded the groceries into the store. Now, change the narrative. Who is your child’s favorite helper? Can we write a letter to that helper thanking them for their service and place it in our front window proudly?
Now your child can CONTROL their feelings on those fighting this and know that their self isolation and handwashing is playing a vital role in the protection of other people.
Give affirmations to your children
Let them know that we are all going to try our best, our doctors and scientists are doing their best, our nurses are caring for us and are amazing. Our grocers, supply chain, warehouse distributors, farmers and so many more are working tirelessly. They go to work so we must stay at home.
Give Your Child and Yourself A Break Everyday for a Time
If you are like us, you feel like every minute there is new news that is to say the least, hard to digest. Take some time away from the screen if you can and make sure your children are playing, reading, writing and imagining. We want you if you can to take some time to yourself and regroup. You Moms,Dads, aunts, uncles, grandparents and guardians are doing an AMAZING job. You are strong, you are trying your best and we respect you so much for that. Good job! Your child is not going to fall behind in school. Everyone is off of school! Your children will sleep in, you will sleep in.
If you want your children to continue their education to an extent we have some great resources for you.
If You Are Worried About Money
Your children do not need to know about that. Please try to let your children not know about these challenges. If you need help, ask others for help. These times are not predictable and do not be ashamed if you have fallen under tough times. No one could have predicted this swift change in the economy. Your situation is temporary but you must ask for help. Keep in communication with your bank, bill collectors and let them know what is going on. Go to your government sites and speak to leaders in your community via email or phone on what they are doing to help. There may be programs and aids that you are unaware of. Do not bring your children into this adult situation and do not be ashamed to ask for help. Even though this feels overhwelming, this situation is temporary.
Explaining the Coronavirus to preschoolers:
advice from top carer Karen Dennis
By: Karen Dennis from The Next Best Thing to Mummy
As the schools have been forced to close and most children will need to stay at home,without attending usual group activities they will quite rightly start to ask questions about ‘why’.
Because I have NO medical training this is not based on medical facts; these are just my thoughts and advice to parents and carers:
Stay calm yourself ( if children sense that you are worried they will become more anxious about the situation) while you are honest and open with the younger members of your family, Let them ask questions and answer as honestly as you can.
Monitor what children are watching and listening to on the television and radio ( the media reports have scared me, let alone children).
Explain that the best way of preventing catching this virus is self isolation and hand washing, tell children to sing a song such as ‘happy birthday to you’ while they are washing their hands and not to stop until the song is finished- ensuring that they have washed for long enough and effectively.
Stay well and try not to panic; we can get through this!
As always questions and comments are welcome.
Until next time.
How To Talk To Your Young Child About Coronavirus
Be confident, be clear, let your children talk about it and give them a break. Monitor the television and what they are watching and take care of yourself. If you have anxiety parenting, we are here for you and we will be producing content to help parents stay calm and have a safe space to talk about their concerns. Stay well, stay safe, The Baby Spot.