Disclaimer: Please do not take anything on this blog as any form of medical advice or legal advice. This blog represents a discussion between a mom and her sons about coronavirus and is written to provide discussion points only. Please refer to CDC website for all information around Covid-19
Today evening, as I was driving my kids to their swimming class, my 8-year-old was asking me about coronavirus.
Why is everyone so afraid of the coronavirus, Aai? Why does everyone keep talking about it? Is our swimming class going to be canceled? Are the schools going to be still there?
At that moment, I realized that it is now an important time to have an open discussion around this topic with him. My 5-year-old is still at an age where he does not care much about detailed explanations but my 8-year-old does care and asks a lot of questions.
So below I am sharing a few things that I told him that seemed to help him understand the situation and I realized I should share it on my blog so if any parents want to have a conversation with their children, they may have some talking points.
What is coronavirus like?
I told my son that based on what CDC website says the coronavirus will feel somewhat like the flu where people get fever, cold, cough, headaches and sometimes diarrhea. I decided to be straightforward about this and did not hide any symptoms or anything.
Who does it seem to affect?
I wanted to keep panic at an all-time low and not pass on any fear to my children. I told them it affects severely only those people who are quite old and already have some other medical issues going on in their life. This is what I read on CDC websites so that is what I told him.
Why are schools being closed in different regions? (Our county schools are closing next week so this discussion was a must)
I told my sons that schools are being closed because they want to make sure that not too many people get affected by the virus all at the same time.
Here is an example I gave him which he seemed to understand and relate to quite well:
I told him that if you go to a doctor’s office and you see a lot of patients, you wait a lot right? Now imagine 100 patients at the doctor’s office. How tired the doctors would be to see all the patients and imagine how long the patients will wait and get bored and feel sick at the doctor’s office.
He immediately got it and said oh yeah, that would not be good and would be too much for the doctor.
So then I told him that, this is the reason why schools are getting closed so the disease does not spread in large numbers.
Will everyone get coronavirus?
For this question, I told him, I do not know, baby. I hope not. But this is a new virus and our body has never fought with it so our white blood cells are not familiar with it. You know-how our blood cells fight diseases right?
He said yes, he knew about WBCs.
So then I told him that maybe some people’s blood cells will fight it strong and some might be weak. So it may affect some people and it might not affect others.
With this, conversation, he seemed to be ok and at ease.
This was also when I brought up the importance of hygiene and handwashing.
And then, I gave them the fun news of being at home for one whole week and as children are usually thrilled to be home, they both were excited to hear that!
Some Important Things To Consider While Talking To Your Children
- Be mindful and avoid passing on your panic or fear to your children.
- There is no need to extend the discussion if they are satisfied with less info that helps them put their minds at ease.
- Giving them an idea of what might happen next helps them take the time to get adjusted to the new shifts in the world right now.
- You might be irritated by what is happening in the world and even more irritated if you are having to take time off from work and look at them and worry about your finances. Remember that it is not their fault that this is happening in the world and also remember that it is not your fault either. Do not make them the receiving end of your frustration, anger or irritation. This is the time to share loving kindness with our family members and show some loving-kindness to ourselves as well.
- Focus on creating a routine for the children during this time
- Give them reassurance about their safety and their future no matter how anxious or scared you are.
- Keep reminding them to wash hands and follow basic hygiene routines.