As the country is going through different phases of reopening and resuming activities that we regularly did before the COVID-19 pandemic, there is still a lot of uncertainty and the unknown can be confusing and overwhelming. We know that it can be difficult to discuss this subject with your children. There’s a fine line between stressing the importance of staying healthy and distant while also ensuring that they still feel secure and aren’t overwhelmed by the scary thoughts of a pandemic.
The most important thing to start with when learning how to talk to your child about COVID-19 is making sure your children feel safe. This means being a source of comfort and support for them whenever they have questions or need help understanding. Many children will pick up on your stress and anxiety and in turn will feel it themselves. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you talk to your child about COVID-19.
Let Them Ask
Letting your children ask the questions is a great way to help them understand things on their own terms and feel listened to. Begin with the facts and open it up for questions. Use resources like this helpful child-friendly video or this superhero explaining the coronavirus in an easy-to-understand way. Explaining and giving them the power to implement new changes is important.
Tell Them What Will Change
It’s important to be upfront and honest about what will be changing due to COVID-19. Preparing them for this will lessen the blow if they return to school or regular activities and it involves a lot of masks and handwashing. Explain to them why those things have to change and what the importance is behind them.
Grow Their Empathy
This is a great time to grow their ability to empathize with others. Describe how important essential and frontline health care workers are and how people are helping each other every day, even during these difficult times. This also means having empathy for them as well. Be sure to address feelings of anxiety and empathize with them. Comfort them and be sure to look out in case something deeper is going on.
Maintain a Normal Routine and Practice Self-Care
Routine is one of the most important ways to help a child feel like they’re still in control of things. Of course, there are new routines you’ve had to create, like putting on a mask before leaving the house, but maintain some semblance of the old routines too, like movie nights, taco Tuesdays and early morning breakfast together. Make sure they know you still love and care for them the same. It’s also important to practice that care with yourself. Be sure to maintain hobbies and what you enjoy as well. Take a moment and breathe knowing you`re doing everything you can.
The Y and COVID-19
At the Y, we value your children’s safety above all else. We are introducing new procedures and guidelines to ensure that your child stays active and involved while also staying healthy and happy. Our new procedures include mask-wearing, no physical contact, and consistent use of hand sanitizer.
We know this time has been difficult and as the Y continues to carefully open back up, we want to communicate our updated procedures and guidelines. The YMCA of Greater Cincinnati will continue to provide childcare and youth sports that are able to accommodate socially distant participation. Together, we will get through this time.