The Corona Virus has become a front runner in all family conversations, with facts being tossed back and forth through the course of the day. Social distancing has changed into a lockdown like scenario where stepping out to play is no longer an option for your children. The concept of 'normal' has taken on a new meaning for everyone – with parents working from home and playdates being cancelled left and right. It is the need of the hour to remain calm and extend that sense of calm to children as well, who may not entirely understand what is going on.
The goal is not to keep your child in the dark entirely. Depending on their age and access to internet, they probably already know alot more than you give them credit for. If your child is very young, there is not point in scaring them with facts and figures. However, do make them understand the repurcussions of them stepping outside at this time. For older children who already know most of what is happening, make sure they have correct information, rather than the large amounts of 'fake news' being circulated. Be calm and informative while talking to your children, pushing them towards anxiety is not the goal.
There is no need at this time to share horror stories or extremes with your children. You don't want to traumatise them . However, it is the time to remind them that though they may not be in imediate danger, older people, or those with compromised immune systems are. If they have grandparents they cannot visit at the time, make sure they talk to them often. This will be therapeutic for both your child and your parents. If you have parents who live at home with you, make sure your children are completely aware of the precautions they need to take.
Lastly, remind your child they are privledged to live in safe, warm and comfortable homes, where groceries are not scarce. However, ensure you and your family donate to organisations supporting day labourers at this time or those who earn on a daily basis. Keep an eye on neighborhood street dogs and ensure that some form of sustenance is being provided to them. This is an ideal time to nurture a sense of empathy in your child and reinforce the need to think about others. Make this a time that is less about fear and panic and more about spending time with the family.