As fears about coronavirus weigh on our minds, our kids are anxious and full of questions. Even though so much is uncertain, it’s our job as parents to be a source of calm for our children. Reassuring them that they are safe and that medical professionals are working hard to take care of people who need it is a good place to start. It’s also important to remind them that we can do a lot to keep ourselves healthy—everything from washing our hands to not sharing food and drinks to covering a cough or sneeze with a tissue or the inside of our elbow.
If you haven’t already, check the Centers for Disease Control website for important information on how to protect yourself and your family. It has specific guidance on everything from the proper handwashing technique to the most effective way to disinfect household surfaces every day. It’s also crucial to reinforce everyday healthy habits, like making sure the kids get enough sleep and eat healthfully. Doing everything you can to keep the routine inside your house—things maintaining a regular dinner time and bedtime—as normal as possible is also really important.
You may not want to start a conversation about coronavirus because you don’t want to add to your kids’ worries, but it’s important to be proactive by asking them what they’ve heard. This is your opportunity to dispel any rumors. To help guide conversations with your kids, we asked Dr. Liz Matheis, a child psychologist in Livingston and a mom of three kids, ages 13, 11 and 7, for advice on how to manage your children’s stress in the age of coronavirus.
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