Coronavirus Outbreak: How to talk to your children about COVID-19

Updated: March 28, 2020 9:27:50 AM

Remember, prevention is better than cure. Reassure your children and erase their confusion and anxiety and stay safe! Working collectively is our chance to turn the situation around!

Creating awareness about the virus and what they can do to stay safe is crucial.
  •    By Meenal Arora

COVID-19 outbreak: We are all aware that the Coronavirus (COVID19) has not only taken a heavy toll on the global economy but has also managed to create extreme panic among the masses. Businesses are being shut temporarily, schools and colleges have closed, and the streets are empty in most of the countries. While the panic is caused due to the impact – more than 120,000 infected and 4000+ casualties, it is important to note that this will pass, and it is possible to avoid further damage.

Health experts suggest that there is no need to panic, but for those with children, they need to speak to their kids to make them understand the situation and help them relax. Creating awareness about the virus and what they can do to stay safe is crucial. Here is how you can educate your children about the scenario.

Analyze your own self first

Children, especially young ones, tend to take parents as an example and follow in their footsteps. So, if you are panicking, it might not be a very good example for your kids. Before having a talk with your child, make sure you have done away with your own fears and anxiety or that you can keep them under control. Managing your own emotions can go a long way in helping your kids remain calm while trying to process what you tell them.

Take it slow

Bombarding your children with too much information at once can be overwhelming for them and end up being counterproductive. It may also create unnecessary confusion, leaving them unsure of what they must do. While speaking to them about the virus, try to keep it realistic. Do some research from reliable sources such as WHO or CDC. Provide the assurance that you are there available for them to have a conversation and share their thoughts and feelings anytime without any fear or hesitation.

Understand their perspective

Kids of different ages might perceive the situation in different ways. Make sure that your child doesn’t believe all the information that is being passed around. In the case of children who have their own mobile phones, ask them to only trust information from verified sources. There are a lot of rumours and misinformation that is being passed around on social media platforms so ask them to filter out information. For younger children who might not be very clear about what is going on, be patient and explain things in a simple manner. Let them know that they are safe as long as they follow the precautionary measures. Although it might be difficult, take them through the concept of social distancing.

Tell them how to stay safe

Let them know that it is a situation that they can avoid if they follow the required precautionary measure. Ensure that they keep their hands clean by using soap often and especially when they cough or sneeze. Let them know that following basic hygiene practices is the best way to protect themselves. Explain that they would need to remain at home and not come into contact with anyone who appears to have a cold or cough.

Remember, prevention is better than cure. Reassure your children and erase their confusion and anxiety and stay safe! Working collectively is our chance to turn the situation around!

(The columnist is Founder Director, Shemford Group of Futuristic Schools. Views expressed are the author’s own.)

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