Parents have the most important job in the world - keeping our kids safe. That is why it is so important to help kids and tweens to understand what is happening around the world right now. Listening to children helps them to feel heard and understood, and in turns helps to calm worries.
During this quickly changing situation, it's important to inform our children that we as parents are following trusted sources of health and travel advice from government experts. The advice differ a little bit around the world, but usually the advice are
- Washing hands with soap and water
- Using tissues when sneezing or coughing and throwing them away in a bin right away. If you don't have a tissue available, sneeze into your arm sleeve.
- Try to avoid contact with people who are not feeling well.
These advice generally go anywhere you and your children go. These short simple steps, will help a long way in keeping the coronavirus in place. A good advice when washing hands is to sing a song that last about 20 seconds. Bring out your vocals :-)
Talking to kids and listening to their worries
Always encourage your children to be open and honest about any worries they might have. Here in Denmark, where we are from, we have a news channel that is made for kids. It's basically news as we know it, but with a twist. News like these and stories from classmates and others can quickly evolve into fantasies in the minds of kids. Therefore listen to what your child said and let them know that you heard them. Simply reflecting back to a child, for example "you feel afraid?" can help them avoid being overwhelmed, because they see that you are calm.
Become the super-mom/dad/rolemodel
This is important times to show your children, that we all can be role models. It can be useful to think about what we can do and what we can't do. We can't do anything about the virus itself, but we can help ourselves and each other by following simple steps like describe earlier in this blog.
Keeping things in perspective is always a great tool. Go about your daily lives as much as possible, until the official, trusted sources of advice tell us to do something different. It is wise to avoid speculating about possible disruption with children. It is far better to explain what is happening today, than focusing on what might could happen in the future.
Give your child a cuddle and let them know, that you are always there to talk about anything - even scary and sad things.