By Dr. Leah Rudnick
“Mom, Dad, why can’t I play with my friends?”
If you’re a parent, you’ve probably heard this at least a few times since social distancing requirements have come into effect. You’ve been thinking of ways to explain the situation to your children and the information online has proven to be overwhelming.
We outlined some basics about Coronavirus and discussed the Four C’s to help lay a foundation for talking about Coronavirus with your children.
Kids are often protected from severe illness and when you break it down, Coronavirus is a Cold Virus. COVID-19 is just a novel (new) version of a virus that already existed! HOWEVER, we still need to take precautions to keep everyone safe and healthy.
We outlined the Four C’s about Coronavirus (COVID-19) that your kids should know.
So what can we concentrate on?
The Four C’s of Coronavirus:
For the Caregivers: Focus on doing at least one thing for yourself every day once your kids are taken care of. Read, walk, meditate, watch something funny or inspiring, or listen to your favorite music. Eat when your kids eat and sleep when they sleep- just like when they were babies! Let them know when you need a break. Also, keep up with a schedule for meals, school, study, play, exercise, chores, bath time, and sleep time.
Tell your Kids: Tell your children to wash their hands! You can even make a game out of it. See who can do the best job! They need to thoroughly wash their hands for 20 seconds. This is as long as it takes them to sing “Happy Birthday” twice at a normal pace, “This Land is Your Land,” or “You Are My Sunshine.” Tell them to keep their distance from others (about 6 feet) and to try NOT to touch their face. If they are coughing or have a fever, you will want them to stay in their room. Assure them that you will take good care of them while they are there. Bring them snacks, healthy drinks, play with them, and give them lots of love! Contact their pediatrician if they have a fever greater than 100.4 F, chest pain, shortness of breath, severe cough, or become lethargic.
For the Caregivers: Have discussions with your kids. Ask them what they have heard about “the virus.” Look and listen for clues about what they are thinking and feeling. Give clear, accurate, and age-appropriate information. Encourage them to communicate their worries and needs, how and when they are ready. Be alert to changes in any of the following: activity level, interests, sleep, appetite, and worsening of baseline emotional issues. Get help from their pediatrician/mental health provider if needed.
Tell Your Kids: Say, write, draw, color, sing, dance, jump, and play out their feelings!
For the Caregivers: Find good reasons for screen time. Watch movies, facetime with family and friends, and play games like virtual Charades and Scrabble! Monitor (more than ever) what your kids are doing on and offline. For everyone’s health and safety, interrupt and stop any scary or inappropriate screen time. Trust your instincts and redirect your kids to something safe and fun! Do other non-screen related things like puzzles, play instruments, have gym sessions, or read together. Also, make sure your kids are having the “best way to help Mom/Dad time!”
Tell your kids: Write a letter (or a text) to a new or old friend, draw/color a picture for a Grandparent. Take turns sharing “roses and thorns”: gratitudes and regrets. Play cards with each other. Do homework online with a friend. Play with and care for your pet. Remember that we will get through this together (at a safe distance). Remind them that big and little kids of all ages, places, and cultures get Coronavirus and most heal from it.
Caregivers and Kids: Have fun creating some of these and add some of your own:
Stories, songs, skits, toys, dances, poems, prayers, flowers, plants, food, clothes, instruments, music, games, puzzles, projects, playlists, workouts, lego figures, robots, movies, paintings, ceramics, jewelry, quilts, crocheted blankets, knitted scarfs, wooden tables/chairs, and holiday or thank you cards! Encouraging creativity helps us all to grow and thrive!
The Providers at Sage are here for all you caregivers and your children. We are up and running doing safe video (and phone if needed) sessions.
CALL ON US! 505-884-1114
Imani is a writer who is passionate about helping others through her work. Her own struggles with mental health and experience in therapy give her a unique perspective to empathize with our patients and readers. Her experiences influence the articles that she writes. In her free time, Imani enjoys traveling, making YouTube videos, reading, and obnoxiously singing to show tunes.
*All blog content that is written by Imani is approved by a licensed mental health professional.*