COVID -19 is the widely used phrase for past 1 year by all of us irrespective of age. Children who have begun to talk too, is familiar with this term. Not just with this term, but also, it’s related vocabulary, like pandemic, quarantine, virus, mask, isolation etc. When you talk to any 4- or 5-year-old children about going to school or going out, they are very clear that they will do so only when the virus is gone. Such is the impact of the pandemic.
As adults, what we should talk to our children about covid 19? Is it necessary to talk to children about this? Before, trying to know the answer, let us understand, the mind-set of the young children.
Young Children’s Mind set:
Children during their formative years, need lot of reassurance. They depend a lot on their parents and adults around them for that. In fact, they worry a lot when they are kept uninformed. Young children exhibit growth mind-set with their curiosity to learn things in the environment. This age group children tend to question a lot. They are convinced that whatever parents say are bible to them. Once they start believing in something, it is very difficult to change their mind set or opinion. For example, for a preschooler, an apple is always red. If you show them a green apple, they can’t take that for an apple.
So, talking to children about covid-19 impacts them in many ways. Let us see what and how you should talk.
Some Tips and Tricks:
- Do not stop them from questioning. Children might have both valid and silly questions. Try to take their questions seriously, don’t ignore or laugh at it. They might be hearing so many things from TV or from their friends. So, they want to get that kind of assurance from their parents. If you cannot answer something, tell that frankly and try to find the answer.
- Teach children to accept the uncertain situation. This will help in reducing their fear. It is better to be open and tell them that the virus is still around and we don’t know when will it vanish and until that time, we need to stay safe.
- Try to address the concerns depending on the age of the child. Don’t give too many information if the child is very too small to understand.
- Parents need to be bold, positive and clear while talking about covid to children. Parents can’t seem to be confused or fearful. Children will have a very tough time to trust if parents exhibit anxiety.
- Assure them that covid is just another virus or a living organism, that troubles man, but we can stay away from it and soon, we will be getting medicines. It is annoying but can be controlled without becoming dangerous if we maintain safety measures. Don’t scare them as if it is a monster. It will be like normal fever or cold, but will spread easily. Mention about isolation to them when any of the family members get affected.
- Talk to your children about the change in routine. Because covid spreads quickly, there is a change in our routine. We can’t go to school or office since we don’t us or others to get covid.
- Most importantly, talk to them about safety and hygiene. It is not just the routine hygienic measures, but certain extra precautions to be taken.
- Talk to the children about “SANITIZING”. What is sanitizing? It is nothing but washing our hands or any stuff thoroughly using soap for a stipulated time.
- Few facts about safety and sanitizing:
- Cover the face with mask, so that you are not getting infected from others through air.
- Do not touch your face, when you have touched any other surface.
- Cough or sneeze in the arms not in the hands.
- Any stuff that is being bought from outside needs to be sanitized.
- If you are playing with your toy outside your house, you need to sanitize.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, when you return home from play area or park. Encourage frequent hand washing.
- Most importantly, maintain minimal 4 feet distance so that nobody can spread covid.
- Tell the children, that they need to use sanitizer before touching anything if they happen to go out.
- Talk to the children about being healthy and eating healthy food so that we don’t get infected easily.
It is very important that children should cope up with the current scenario. Update them regularly. Pay attention to their feelings. Use this pandemic time to spend some quality moments with your child. Encourage your children to connect with their friends. Do remote socializing.
Finally practice safety and remain healthy.