While there are many challenges that we face with the current pandemic, one of those challenges you may not have anticipated is how to talk to your children about COVID-19. Your children will be confused as to why they are staying home so often now, why you aren’t going to work, why they can’t see their grandparents, and so many other changes that don’t make sense.
Learning how to talk to your children about what is going on can help you prepare you for their questions and how to properly answer them. At Yellow Brick Road Early Childhood Development Center, we wanted to help parents know how to approach these conversations and how to answer their children’s questions. Read on to learn more and contact us with any questions you may have!
Talking To Infants
While your infant or toddler may not think too much or even notice anything is going on, it is still important for parents to understand how to navigate the current situation with children who can’t quite talk yet.
While they won’t be able to ask questions, it is helpful for you to narrate through your day. Tell them what you are doing and why. Not only does this help to build language skills, but it can give them spatial awareness of what is happening around them. This can also help the synapses fire in their brains and allow them to begin making connections.
You can also build on healthy habits and narrate why it is important to stick to these habits. While you want to make sure your family is following these healthy habits during the pandemic, it is also important that your child learns these habits and uses them throughout the rest of their lives. Germs are something that are around us all the time and teaching your children to wash their hands and follow healthy habits can help keep them healthy.
Talking To Older Kids
Children that are a little bit older and are able to talk but may not understand what is going on are likely to ask a lot of questions. Our suggestion is to answer questions they might have but don’t elaborate too much.
When they ask why some of their friends aren’t at school or why they can’t see their grandparents, simply explain that there are a lot of icky germs out there and some people have to stay home in order to stay healthy. You can also explain that this is why it is important that your family follows healthy habits like washing your hands. You can explain to them that by following healthy habits, you all can do your part to stay healthy and keep others healthy as well.
Try to keep it simple for your child and do not elaborate too much. If your child isn’t asking about it then don’t tell them. But if they do ask, it is okay to answer them simply with explanations they can make sense of. You want to try to avoid scaring them with information they may not be able to comprehend at their age. This pandemic is hard for some adults to even truly understand and it can be scary to truly think about.
Your young children will have even more trouble fully understanding what is happening and it can be scary for them to think about the current events. So, instead of giving them all of the information, try to answer their questions with basic information that they can understand without getting nervous or scared.
It is important to remember that young kiddos will likely not remember this time and what was going on. They will, however, remember how they felt. So, as hard as it may be, try to make this a fun time. Spend time having fun and playing with them. Make special memories and make the most out of a hard situation. This can be a good time to do fun things as a family, let them talk to their grandparents and friends with your laptop camera, and make sure happy feelings are being spread around your house.
Kids at this age also learn a lot by observing. If they notice that you are stressed or hear you talking about the virus and everything involved with it, it can affect them and make them feel more scared or stressed than they need to be.
It is also important to be mindful of what you are watching or listening to when your kids are around. While we know that you want to stay on top of the current situation and get updates along with the rest of the country, your kids could be listening in as well and may not respond well to what they may hear.
By answering your children’s questions, keeping things light and fun around the house, and implementing healthy habits in your home, you can help your children get through this time without fear. If you have any additional questions, feel free to reach out to Yellow Brick Road Early Childhood Development Center. We are happy to help give you more advice. Stay safe and use this strange time to make special memories with your kids!