How to Talk to Your Kids About Coronavirus
Photo by Josh Willink from Pexels
What a Time to Be a Parent
On the best of days, parents wear a lot of hats: Playmate. Stylist. Chauffeur. Chef. Therapist.
But these days, with this pandemic, we’ve had to try on a few hats that aren’t so comfortable: Teacher. Warden. Epidemiologist.
The latter is particularly challenging.
How do I explain to my three-year-old that she can’t play at the park- “But I promise I not make the kids sick!”
How do I tell my hyper-social elementary student that he won’t be seeing his classmates for months?
Even as a nurse, I struggle to explain this situation to my kids. I did some research and gave it a try. Feel free to use any of these scripts with your own kiddos.
Now, more than ever, our kids are looking to us for comfort and answers. You have the comfort, and by the end of this article you’ll have the answers.
Coronavirus Explained to a 5-Year-Old
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels
What’s a Virus?
A virus is a tiny germ that can sneak into your body and make you sick. When you’re sick, your body has to work extra hard to fight the virus, which makes you feel tired and gross.
How Do Viruses Spread?
Viruses are too small to see. They hide in your body. When there’s a virus hiding in your body and you touch someone or breath on them, then the virus will get in their body.
Why is Coronavirus So Bad?
Coronavirus is a brand new virus. Because it’s new, nobody’s body knows how to fight it yet. Everyone who catches this virus will get sick. It’s easy for Coronavirus to spread to lots of people and make them sick.
Does Coronavirus Make Kids Very Sick?
Coronavirus does not make kids very sick. If you catch this virus you’ll probably feel like you have a cold. You might have a cough and a runny nose, and you’ll probably feel extra sleepy for a few days. Then you’ll feel all better!
Does Coronavirus Make Older People Very Sick?
Coronavirus does make older people very sick, especially elderly people like grandma and grandpa. Old people’s bodies are not very good at fighting new viruses. When they catch this virus it can make them very sick. Sometimes they have to go to the hospital.
Should You Be Scared?
You do not have to worry! We are going to be just fine. The reason we are being extra careful is that we want to protect older people.
How Will Our Lives Be Different?
Our lives will be a little different for a few months because the whole world is working together to fight this virus. We need to be extra careful not to spread germs.
So, for a little while, we won’t be going to any museums, zoos, schools, stores, or parks. We need to stay away from other people to protect everyone.
How Will Our Lives Be the Same?
We will still get up and get dressed every day. We’ll eat breakfast, play games, read books, watch movies, and play with toys. We’ll still play outside and go for walks.
How Long Will This Last?
We don’t know how long this will go on. It will probably last a few months.
How Can You Help?
You can help too! This virus can hide in your body, even when you don’t feel sick. It’s super important to not spread germs. Here’s what to do:
- Wash your hands with soap and water before and after you eat, go potty, or go outside.
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow, not your hand.
- Practice saying hi to people without getting in their personal space- Wave!
- Help mommy/daddy around the house- clean up your toys, take your bath, and be kind.
- Eat lots of healthy food like vegetables and drink lots of water.
Hang in there, SuperParent
Photo by Josh Willink from Pexels
I truly hope this helps. I know this is a scary time and there are tons of unknowns. Many are out of work or attempting to work from home. The markets are crashing. It feels like the world has flipped upside-down overnight.
But hang in there!
Our kids are looking to us in this uncertain time. They are learning how to respond to adversity.
What are you teaching them?
Do you fall to pieces when things get tough? Do you spend 24/7 watching the news and scrolling through social media?
Or do you calmly take control of that which is within your control and release everything that isn’t?
Choose the second approach. Take 30 minutes each day to be informed about what is happening in the world, and spend the rest of the day being present. Present with your work. Present with your family. Present with your projects. Put your fear aside and just Be in the present moment. Give meditation a try, it really helps.
Choose to be grateful for your blessings: for family time, for the extra moments with your kids. Yesterday my daughter and I spent 2 hours painting together. That would not have been an option if I was at work all day.
Thank You for Helping
You are being asked to care for your family and protect your neighbors during a historic pandemic. None of us asked for this responsibility, but here it is. Do everything you can to respect social distancing recommendations. Avoid public places. Don’t visit grandma. I’m sorry, but the park counts too. This virus can live on surfaces for up to 72 hours.
We’re all in this together, and it’s our job to protect those who cannot protect themselves. We must do everything we can to flatten the curve, to protect healthcare workers and vulnerable populations. Hospitals are doing everything they can, but it will be the actions of everyday citizens that determine how many people die because of this virus. Please do your part.
Resources for Parents
Many of us are struggling right now. Emotionally. Mentally. Financially. This chaotic time is taking its toll on society’s most vulnerable people. Not just the elderly and chronically ill, but those of us living paycheck to paycheck. The uninsured. The homeless.
Fortunately, you’re not alone. People around the world are pitching in to help. No matter your struggle, there’s a resource for you. Visit https://findhelp.org/ and type in your zip code to find financial, food, childcare, and other resources available in your area.
Many of us are struggling with increased anxiety and fear during this ordeal. NAMI has some wonderful resources to help you manage these mental struggles.
I will gladly answer any questions you have in the comments below. Is anything about this situation unclear? Do your kids have questions? I’m happy to help!
Lastly, be sure to hit “follow” to catch my next COVID-19 update.
Give what you can and take what you need. Support your community. Love your family. We’re all in this together.
We Got This.