Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have claimed more than 6,000 lives around the world. Despite the mortality rate, it has been regarded as one of the most contagious coronavirus yet causing mild complications to the majority of those who have been tested positive including children.
The most important thing about being a parent in the midst of this outbreak is the ability to deliver the correct and reliable information from a trusted source to your curious children. They will keep on asking whether it’s okay for them to play outside, meet with their friends or go to school.
As an adult, you should know how to handle their misgiving about the current global threat and be prepared to educate them if necessary. Other than facts, Internets are filled with misconception regarding coronavirus, thus implying the importance of filtering out information before conveying to your kid.
Ask them how much they know about the coronavirus
Depending on their age, you might have to level down with your kids before explaining facts about coronavirus. It’s good for you to ask how much they know. They might have heard and retained some information that they don’t know the truth hiding behind them.
You can start off your conversation by saying:
“Are people in your school talking about coronavirus? What are they saying?”
For younger children it be something like “Have you heard grownups talking about a new sickness that’s going around?”
It’s important to establish a baseline knowledge to know how extensive you can be with your children. However, if the subject does not interest them, just let it go. You have to respect their rhythm and be at the ready if they have questions.
Respect the boundary of their curiosity
In order to protect your child, you have to be truthful. However, don’t be too enthusiastic and jabber about things that they do not ask for. As an adult you have to know the boundaries of their curiosity.
They would ask questions about coronavirus if they want to know more, but until that happens, you have to offer only the detail they require.
What if they ask you things that you are not sure of? Don’t worry, you can admit you don’t know and use that chance to build a bond with your child by finding it out together. Use a verified website to find related articles that were published by experts or people who are related to the field.
If you are staying in the United States, you can use the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website and if you are from Malaysia, you can check the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Ministry of Health website.
Give some space for your child to express their fear of the coronavirus
Coronavirus in children are quite rare but once it happens, it happens. One of the most terrible things you can do as parents is discounting their fear pertaining to this outbreak. You can explain this as best as you can but don’t make their fear seem ridiculous.
The outbreak can be fearsome considering how quick it spread. Even some of us (adults) fear the virus. It’s normal and so far, that’s what keeps us alive. Ensure that you have updated yourself with the current info so as not to spread misinformation.
Let them know you are with them no matter what happens and be honest.
Coronavirus in children, that’s the reason why you need to keep the conversation going
Keep checking in with your children. They might want to know more about their bodies so this is the most suitable time for education. You should explain to them how their immune system would fight off diseases. Not in a so much scientific-kind-a-way. Make it fun.
Let them know how to prevent infection and encourage them to wash their hand for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Bringing along hand sanitizer when you have to go someplace else would be a good habit. Coronavirus in children can be severe. Let’s make sure it doesn’t come to that.
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