The experts at Children's Hospital New Orleans are offering a few tips to parents who are in quarantine with their kids. Conversations surrounding the coronavirus can be a bit heavy to children no matter what age. Dr. Erin Reuther, a pediatric psychologist at Children's Hospital, says it's best to manage certain information about COVID-19 by determining what your child can and can't handle. She says it's also best that parents keep a positive attitude through the pandemic.
"If we put out an air of being calm, collected and confident, that we can get through this,our kids will also feel calm, cool and collected that they can get through as well," says Dr. Reuther.
Another source for parents in the community is The Parenting Center at Children's Hospital. Although the physical location of this center is closed, the program director, Jenni Evans, is sharing online resources via Facebook and the web page that can help parents navigate through this difficult time.
"What we're hearing the most of is that parents are at a loss; they've just had it. They are running out of ideas," says Jenni.
Instead of enforcing harsher rules in the household, Jenni says now is the time to focus on rituals, especially ones that strengthen connection. This can include 'I love you' rituals, bedtime rituals or simply patting your child's shoulder affectionately. It can also include connecting activities such as putting a puzzle together or playing a word game. It's important to be available to answer questions whenever they arise and keep the answers in line with the age of the child who asks the question. Kids need to be informed, but not given too much information that might build unnecessary anxiety. Maintaining realistic expectations is also key to success.
"This isn't the time to say 'hey you're home more so maybe you should be in charge of all the dishes,' just keep your expectations where they were and really focus on those moments of connection that are going well, that's what we're gonna need when we get to the other side of this," says Jenni.