During the COVID-19 outbreak that is sweeping the globe, themes like social distancing and quarantine have changed daily life for so many of us. These changes to routines and normalcy have impacted numerous individuals, chief among them children in many cases.
At Smart Kids Development Center, we’re proud to provide not only high-quality child care and education services through our daycare, preschool and other programs, but also assistance to parents during trying times like these. Particularly for younger children, a big part of the difficulty of this recent period is struggling to understand what’s going on and why their life is so different – here are several recommendations we can offer on talking to your child about the coronavirus quarantine in healthy ways.
Even if your children are young, don’t minimize their ability to be perceptive and pick up information. They may not know exactly what’s going on, or may not grasp certain parts of it, but begin by asking them what they do understand and working up from there. This allows you to not only shorten any longer explainers you had ready, but also correct any misconceptions they’re operating under early on so they don’t continue down these lines.
As you move forward with explaining the areas they aren’t up to speed on yet, it’s important to be clear and concise, using the right language for your kids. You want to be up-front about the virus and its impact without alarming your children – one great method here is to compare some of its concepts to areas they already have a better grasp on, such as the flu or the cold (these are not actually legitimate scientific comparison points for COVID-19, but they’re enough in cases like these).
One important tip here: Be willing to admit you don’t know the answer to a question if that’s the truth, and prepare yourself with reputable resources to find such answers for both yourself and your kids.
It’s important to consider your child’s feelings throughout this process. Ask them what they’re thinking and listen to any fears or stresses they may have, particularly if these relate to areas of misinformation you’re helping them correct.
In addition, however, it’s vital to be receptive to your own feelings and anxiety as well – but to handle them in ways that don’t negatively impact your child. Don’t have a quarantine conversation with your child if you’re in a major period of stress or anxiety, for instance, as this may create panic and unrest. Instead, manage your own emotions before beginning such a conversation.
Throughout any conversations you have with your kids, keep a focus on practical themes that are easy for them to participate in. Teach them about good hygiene within the outbreak – many of these are areas that will benefit them for their entire lives. Wherever possible, infuse these themes into new daily routines, which you should try to promote wherever possible to keep things normal. For more on helping children understand quarantine, or to learn about any of our child care programs or services, speak to the staff at Smart Kids Development Center today.