Our world is currently in a Pandemic crisis and as a Pediatric advocator, I have to ask, how are your babies coping? Even if we shield our kids from the media, they are very intuitive to our feelings of stress and anxiety. Lets all take a deep breath and read on to better educate our children at their developmental level in order for them to understand what is currently happening. We don’t want our kids to make their own inferences to what is occurring based on what friends and the media are perpetuating.
First and foremost, process your own fears. Don’t dismiss your child’s fears.
Babies, Toddlers and Young Preschool Age
- Maintain normal routines as much as possible
- Shield babies and toddlers from media coverage as much as possible
- If your preschooler inquires about absence from pre-school or activities, discuss the reasoning
- Let them ask questions and keep answers short and simple
- Limit media coverage.
- Maintain a normal home routine, especially bedtime
- Educate why there are School and after school activity closures.
- Educate why we are taking the extra precautions. It doesn’t mean that all of their loved ones and friends are or will get sick
- Educate on all the things adults are doing to help and prevent the spread of the virus
- Educate on hand washing
- Let them ask the questions. Keep answers short and simple
- Allow them plenty of outside play. Play is the most therapeutic relief for a child
Middle & High School Age
- Make yourself available to talk to you children and answer any questions. This will help you determine how much they know, what they see on TV, read online or hear from friends. Stick to facts in your conversation.
- Point them towards reliable sources. Discuss the difference between the media and reliable resources such as the CDC website.
- Enforce a tech curfew at night and to take media breaks.
- Make them get outside for sports, bike rides, walks, etc
- Make yourself available to listen and acknowledge feelings of fear, panic and anxiety
- Educate on why we are “Social Distancing”
- Educate on their “what if”….. Stick to the facts and don’t burden them with dystopian scenarios
- Educate against xenophobia and discrimination against certain people and populations.
- Educate on hand washing and ways to reduce the spread
When in doubt, contact your Pediatrician if you feel your child is not coping well or their behaviors have greatly changed.
How are your babies doing? How have you helped them cope with being home?