The COVID-19 pandemic is sweeping over the world, and no one is unaffected. As adults, we can get a good grasp of what’s happening through reliable sources, but our children rely on us for information. They might ask us why they can’t go out to meet their friends, or why they can’t go out to play. As responsible parents, we comply with the guidelines of staying home and physically distancing ourselves from others to maintain our physical health. However, we also have to watch our mental health and the mental health of our children. The pandemic makes us all anxious, our children included.
Be Calm And Reassuring
Your child won’t be able to keep calm if you aren’t either! Even if you feel fear or panic at the thought of the coronavirus, this is one thing that your child doesn’t need to see. It would help your child if you honestly showed them how you feel, but before talking to them, make sure you’re able to manage your anxiety first. Use a calm voice when speaking to them. As a parent, you have to be a reassuring, comforting presence.
Therefore, make sure that you can reassure your child. All the preventative measures in the world can be in place, but if your child doesn’t feel comforted by you, their parent, they might still worry excessively. Let them know that the stress they’re feeling is normal, but also manageable.
Your child will, of course, have questions. Your goal now is to make sure that the thoughts they have and the things that they imagine aren’t unrealistic monsters. What you need to do is to tell them just enough information to keep them informed, without scaring them. The best way to keep our children informed is by explaining the coronavirus in ways that they understand and can control. Explain the ways the coronavirus spreads and its effects. It would also help to show that organizations all over the world are doing the best they can to beat the coronavirus. This way, even though they know there’s a threat, they also understand that they can control it and that others are working to manage it as well.
Children don’t like being left in the dark – not knowing what’s happening magnifies any fear they’re already facing. Uncertainty will cause far more anxiety than a known, visible, and controllable problem. However, you must be able to gauge just how much information your child can process. Dumping a large amount of information on them may overwhelm them and only stress them out further. Instead of presenting all the information you have, it may be easier to allow your child to lead the conversation by only answering their questions. If you come across a question you can’t explain, rather than tell them that you don’t know, it will be better to work with them to find the answer. Of course, ensure that you guide your child as you research!
Establish a dialogue as well. Your child may have heard about the coronavirus from other sources, some of which might not be reliable. Let them share what they know with you so that you can address misinformation. You will also want to direct them to reliable news sources and sites and show them how they can identify them.
Now, you’ll want to show that not only is it worldwide organizations that can combat the coronavirus, but your child and your family as well. Since you explained how the coronavirus spreads, you can show how to prevent that spread at home. To make it easier for your child, create a schedule or routine that your family can follow. This method keeps your day structured. It doesn’t have to be extremely rigid.
Finally, keep talking! You’ve had one talk about the coronavirus, but your child might continue receiving information from elsewhere. Make sure that they know that you’ll update them – and ensure that you do update them about what’s happening in the world. They might return to you with new problems, or, as some parents know, repeats of old ones. Answer them calmly and reassuringly still – even if the questions feel like they’re getting old.
In short, establish control over the situation and let your child feel like they too can control the threat themselves. Don’t keep them out of the loop where their imagination can prey on them. Keep the knowledge flowing both ways.