Corona Virus – How to talk to your kids
As the global outbreak of Corona Virus is progressing and the schools are being shut, we parents are facing tons of questions from our children.
Most kids have picked up bits and pieces of information (which could be misinformation in some cases) from the television, internet or friends.
I agree it is a daunting topic to deal with when it comes to the children since there is a lot of uncertainty and fear surrounding this illness.
Stay calm :
It’s important to present ourselves as a reliable and supportive figure in the confused state your child might be in.
Ensure that you calm yourself down first and take control of your own feelings of fear or anxiety. In case you find yourself in a panicked state, take some time off and calm yourself down first.
The children pick up on our feelings, hence ensure that you are in a calm and comfortable state.
Children don’t have the same access and power to information as their caregivers do, and if you are openly stressing out, the children would feel that whatever is happening is scary enough to make their parents worry.
Initiate this conversation :
Don’t wait for your child to become inquisitive. Ensure that you are well informed about the corona virus and get ready to bring up this difficult topic with your children. If your child is school- aged, your child is likely to be aware of the term.
Speak to your children before they hear a scarier version from others and get ahead of the game.
Don’t make a big deal about this conversation. Just make sure it’s like a regular conversation to avoid them getting worried.
Ask them what they know :
I personally asked them if they had heard about Corona. It’s important to start with your children’s misconceptions and perceptions. This would guide you on how to approach the topic and what correctional reframing you would need to do.
Ask them open ended questions so you can analyze their knowledge and emotional state.
Make sure you let them know that you are there to address all their queries.
Keep it age-appropriate :
I had to speak to both my girls (4 and 7 years old) separately. Use words that your child already understands. The sole motive of the conversation should be to give them age-appropriate information so their queries are taken care of and they should understand how important it is to keep oneself safe.
Kids under the age of 6 don’t require details like the name of the virus or the fact that it’s a global threat.
Be mindful when you are discussing anything about the virus with your spouse or your older child in front of the younger one. Talk generally about germs and how washing hands and keeping oneself clean can help one stay protected against any sickness. If your child knows more than this already, make sure you reassure her that your family is healthy and safe.
School-aged children can be offered information about the outbreak. Speak about what it is and how it could be prevented. You can also share the number of cases in your area.
Refrain from talking about people dying.
Keep your message simple.
Follow your children’s developmental lead while determining the amount of information to be shared.
Focus on making them feel secured and limit their television news and social media exposure.
Let your children know that you are there :
Your children must know that you are open to address their questions. Even though addressing the topic a several times could be frustrating, ensure that you keep discussing about how they can stay safe.
Don’t make fear inducing statements :
Avoid making statements that could induce fear in your children. Offer reassuring truths and solutions.
Avoid this :
Make sure you don’t encourage them to think about worst case scenarios and frightening fantasies.
Enjoy this time :
Now that most schools are shut and it’s advised to avoid public places, make the most of the time by having a great family time together. Plan fun activities, paint, cook, watch a movie or dance to your children’s favorite music together.
They shouldn’t feel that being home bound became a punishment for them, rather make this one of the most memorable time for your family.
How did you tell your children about this?
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