Children's Hospital psychologist, Dr. Diane Franz, is helping parents cope with coronavirus while their children are home from school. Franz recommends that parents and caregivers keep in mind how children take cues from family members around them on a daily basis. As a parent or caregiver, try to maintain a sense of calm and reassurance for your kids.
While the kids are out of school, maintain a routine where you can get up at the same time, get dressed, and do school activities like work sheets or art projects, which is helpful for kids. Remember that young people are savvy, and they see a lot of things online. So, it's important for all of us to remember that constantly monitoring the news and websites aren’t good for anyone. Try to convey that and model that for your children. Also, remind kids that we rely on good scientific advice from professionals. Reassure them and tell them not to rely on what you see on social media, that may or may not be true.
Remember, kids range in development from very young to teens and young adults. Talk to them in a way that is developmentally sensitive and appropriate to their age. For example, if you are speaking to a 4 year old, remember to talk to them in an age sensitive way on why he or she is not returning to school at this time. A lot of good advice is simply focusing on keeping everyone safe and being solution oriented. Let your young child know there is an illness going around, but we are doing this to keep us safe like washing hands, we're not sharing drinks, and we're not hugging and kissing so much right now. If that satisfies them, don’t keep going over it again and again. With a teen or young adult, the conversations can be more mature, yet still keeping a positive tone.
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