Helping kids stop the spread

Published August 6, 2020, 11:58 AM

by Dr. Kaycee Reyes

On having conversations with children about Covid-19

As we grapple with our losses and face the long road to recovery because of the pandemic, we must not forget our little ones who are just as confused, lost, tired, and sad as we are. They, too, are experiencing big changes in their daily lives—from transitioning to homeschooling to stopping play dates and social interactions. According to UNICEF, their health may not be as compromised as that of most adults, but this pandemic also has an effect on their overall wellbeing,  especially children in low-income and underprivileged communities.

Generally, communication is important for children to understand what is going on around them. It helps them cope better, find reassurance, and keep their worries, fears, and anxieties at bay. Too often, we are immersed in our own problems not knowing that children see and react to them too. So how do we communicate to children when it comes to difficult situations such as Covid-19? Let’s go over this KIDS guide.

Keep calm when communicating with them.

Remember that it is important to be firm but kind so that you can get your message across properly. Avoid being upset, loud, mad, negative, or pessimistic about it. Talking in a calm manner makes kids listen more and it also reassures them that talking to you or asking questions is safe with you.

Involve them in discussions and interact with them often. 

Make time to listen to their questions and address their own worries and fears. This helps you determine how to approach and communicate with them better.

Determine and discuss their Covid-19 knowledge

Ask them what they know about the virus and encourage them to share what they have seen, heard, or read. This is important so that you can inform them about the facts and immediately clarify their misconceptions about it.

Supervise their learning.

Now that you have more time at home, find out how they get their information (for older kids) and inform them where to search, what to read, and whom to trust when it comes to factual information online. Also, teach them the proper way to protect themselves from the virus and how to keep themselves healthy. Singing and dancing are an effective way for a child to remember and understand the importance of good hygiene. These activities encourage recall and make learning more fun, especially when you’re having fun with them too! 

Teacher Celine’s Stop the Spread on YouTube is an easy and catchy song and dance video that teaches kids basic hygiene practices such as washing hands correctly and the right cough etiquette. She also explains why it is important to do so. Now is the time to make learning a family affair!

The KIDS acronym lets us remember the ways to communicate to children effectively, especially about sensitive issues such as Covid-19. Share this with your friends and loved ones so that they, too, can talk to their little ones properly and encourage them to find fun ways to teach kids. Remember, the most effective weapon in this pandemic is information, and stopping this virus ultimately starts at home.