Children are the most innocent flowers in the garden of the Almighty. Their minds are clean like a blank slate. It is for the same reason; children are very much susceptible to believe anything they hear. With the alarming rise of the Corona outbreak, everyone in the world is anxious. The situation of the children is the worst. Now a day, children are smart. However, they can’t grasp the magnitude of the entire situation. Hence, they worry more.
Everywhere there is news about Covid-19. With their schools closed, children are always home and listening to the tits bits of news all the time. It is your responsibility to give them suitable for talking regarding this recent event. Without things discussed in words they can understand, they feel at loss. They get scared. So, if you have a child in your house, let them know that you are with him or her. Here are some tips to keep the little ones aware and brave.
You have to be brave:
First of all, as a parent or as a responsible adult, you have to be brave. You have to control your anxiety regarding this outbreak. If the child sees you be panicky, there is nothing you can do to calm them. Children are born emulators. They aspire to behave like the adults they see daily. So, you are kind of a role model for them. Hence, to keep them sane, you have to get over with every drop of insanity. It is not easy with the events that are taking place worldwide. We understand. It is okay if you feel anxious, intimidated and tense from time to time. Just take your time to ease down. Then talk to the children or answer their questions.
Do talk to them:
Children worry more when they are kept in dark. It is normal for children to have unresolved questions in their minds about this recent phenomenon. It is for the first time in their lifetime, they are facing a worldwide crisis. For the first time, they are coming across new words like ‘quarantine’, ‘social distancing’, and ‘incubation period’. They cannot comprehend the entire situation unless you help them. So, do not be cooped up in your thoughts. It is time for you to sit and talk to them.
They may be smart and inquisitive, they are still immature. Too much information could prove to be overwhelming for them. As an adult person, you can digest a lot of information. But they cannot. With their small sack of experience, they tend to be afraid of any fearful piece of information. So, you have to approach them in a developmentally appropriate way. Answer their questions in a way they can understand and can process. Apart from a cognitive aspect, they have to be able to process it mentally as well. Be careful with your words. You have to be sure that you are not scaring them.
What are they thinking?
Make sure, you are having a two-way conversation with your child. Do not burden him or her with a lot of information and a list of ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’. Ask them what they think of the alarming event. Keep yourself open, so that they can ask questions. Let them share what they have heard on news or from anyone else. You must know what is going on in their minds. If you cannot answer a question, it is okay. Just do not encourage any rumour or fake news that they have shared with you. You must keep your child away from any frightening fantasy.
You are the source of courage to them. Any piece of pep talk is more effective on them if it is coming from you. So you have to reassure. You have to reassure them that coronavirus is actually a rarer one than common flu. If they abide by the suggested safety measures, they can avoid suffering from it. Most importantly, studies say, children cannot catch this virus. They can be only asymptomatic carriers. The more assured you are the more steady they will be.
Ask them to focus on safety:
As an addition to your reassurance, you can tell them what safety measures you are taking. Inform them how they can avoid being affected by the virus. Ask them to take care of the special hygiene schedule devised to fight against Covid-19. The children are smart enough to understand the efficacy of these measures. After being told about the precautions, they will be assured more.
Fill their void:
Children spend most of their time at school. With schools being closed, they are always at home. With little things to do, they get whining. They may want to get out of the house or meet with their friends. It is quite normal. As a parent, you need to make them understand the risks of getting out. Instead, they can play at home. With your workplace closed as well, you are available always. So, spend some quality time with your kid. Play with them. Read with them. Watch the news with them. Remember, availability is a great thing.
If you have two children:
This is quite a good scenario. If you have two children in your house, they are likely to be less afraid of the situation. They can share their apprehension with each other. If one of them is older and understands better, he or she can dismiss wring thoughts of the other one. You can make things playful. You can give the older one all the necessary information regarding the coronavirus outbreak and ask him or her to pass the information to the younger one. See what he or she adds or forgets while passing the information. Intervene only when he or she is done.
It is a frightening time for us. It is all the more frightening for the little ones. Just stay beside them. What they need the most is the valuable company of you.
So, keep communicating with them!