Never in a million years would I believe that I’d be raising children in what feels like a real life zombie apocalypse.
There isn’t a parenting book that is going to tell you how to explain times such as these to toddlers.
What I do know is that being open and honest with my children is important for their upbringing.
So when my preschooler asks me why her birthday is cancelled.. what do I do?
Tell the truth.
The goal is to help your children feel informed with fact based information (age appropriate). With all the updates going on about COVID-19, it is truly difficult to keep up.
So here are some tips for communicating the facts about this pandemic to your children:
#1 Keep it simple –
The simplest of it all.. germs. Germs are invisible and all around us. Germs make us sick, rather it be a runny nose and cough from a cold, stomach bug… or in this case a VIRUS. If your children are visual like mine, Youtube can be used as a great tool in helping our children understand how important it is to be germ free. This video is great!
#2 Ways to keep ourselves germ free and safe –
“Kids feel empowered when they know what to do to keep themselves safe.” Jamie Howard, PhD Child psychologist
To prevent from getting sick, keeping our hands and surfaces around us clean is important This is a great opportunity to explain the importance of washing hands. The CDC recommends thoroughly washing our hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, or the length of two “Happy Birthday” songs.
#3 The importance of “Social Distancing”
Not being able to go to school, birthday parties, or even play dates is no fun. But social distancing is what prevents the spread of germs. Social distancing puts space between people because not only do germs live on surfaces, they float in the air and can be put there when a sick person coughs or sneezes… To prevent us from getting sick, we stay indoors to keep us safe.
#3 Model good hygiene and have fun!
It’s important as parents to be great role models in making sure we keep our hands cleaned by washing them often. Wiping down frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and door knobs is also great for keeping your living space germ free. Children can tell when we are worried or stressed, so keeping the atmosphere light and fun is always a plus. The best part of being quarantined is being able to spend time with our families. Everyday can be an adventure!
- BrainPOP’s animated explanation is straightforward but doesn’t talk down to kids and includes a number of activities to extend the conversation.
- Given the popularity of graphic novels, this comic from NPR answers a lot of kids’ most pressing questions about the coronavirus.
- “Why do I have to wash my hands?” The StoryBots have a fun video that sings when, why and how to wash your hands.
- PBS ForKids has a list of videos from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Sesame Street, Curious George and Super Why! that talk about germs and hygiene.