Talking with Your Kids About the Coronavirus
As parents and caretakers, we want to do everything in our power to protect our children. News of COVID-19 is all consuming, and now is the time to check in with our kids to find out what they know and how they are doing. We want to give them age appropriate information and focus on them feeling safe.
So how do we do that? Start by asking open ended questions such as “Have you heard about the new sickness going around?", or "What do you think coronavirus is?” to find out what information your child knows. Answer their questions honestly, but try not to overwhelm them. Let your child know that you are keeping up with the latest information and that you will share it with them; we highly suggest visiting reputable sites such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and/or your state health department and school district communications to get all of the latest information.
You'll want to give you child the facts in a way they can understand. Explain to them that COVID-19 is a virus that makes our body feel sick. People who catch it usually have a cough and fever (you feel warm) or chills (you feel cold) and their body feels achy. We are hearing a lot of people talking about it because it is new.
Assure your child that hospitals and doctors are ready to treat people when they are not feeling well and there are a lot of very smart scientists and researchers working hard to find a vaccine that will help prevent more people from getting sick. Let your child know that you will be following the guidelines put into place by these healthcare professionals to keep everyone safe.
Don’t assume that you know how your child is feeling. Ask them when you see changes in their behavior. “I noticed that you are having trouble concentrating or your leg keeps bouncing up and down, can you tell me about how you are feeling?” Acknowledge their feelings (good or bad). Tell them that it’s OK to be excited just to be out of school and it’s OK to feel scared about what’s going on.
You can also tell your child that when they feel sad or frightened, sharing their feelings with someone they trust (YOU) can help them feel better. If your child doesn’t know the words to match their feelings, encourage him/her to draw a picture, sing about it, or act it out. And lead by example: show them how you cope when you are feeling anxious, and give yourself some time to step away for some self-care.
Focus on what you will do as a family to help flatten the curve. Tasks should include social distancing, washing your hands, getting plenty of rest, (and washing your hands), and eating well balanced meals (AND washing your hands). Collaborate with your child to come up with a daily schedule and write it down – it will help them to feel in control. Fill in wakeup and bedtimes, meals and snacks, school and learning, exercise and outdoor time, play and chores, etc. Be sure to add in time for yourself, especially if you are working from home, too (“While you are doing this, I will need some quiet time to answer emails", etc.)
This is an anxious time for us all. As a parent, our main concern is the health and wellness of our child, but don’t forget to take care of yourself too! Turn off the news, take a walk, listen to music. Do things that make you feel good and give yourself a chance to recharge. Then you can reconnect with new energy to spend time with the ones you love.
Want to keep your child's mind active even while they're out of school? If you are looking for interesting books about very smart people, check out Ada Twist, Scientist, Stories for Boys Who Dare to Be Different, and Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls (back in stock soon).
Looking for ways to entertain, engage, and keep your kiddos motivated? Reach out to us anytime via email at firstname.lastname@example.org for suggestions on toys, crafts, science kits, books, and more! You can also contact our Toy Experts via phone (866-600-BEAN) during business hours (M-F, 9 am-5 pm EST) or by utilizing the Product Expert Chat on our website. Schedule a video consultation with our baby gear gurus and toy experts to learn and shop from the comfort of your own home.