COVID-19 has taken over the world by surprise and the one thing we will all remember, besides washing our hands, is self-isolation. As a parent, your child’s safety has become even more paramount.
Self-isolation is staying home to protect those around you – your family, friends, colleagues – from possibly getting COVID-19. Self-isolation is an effective measure of prevention.
As schools close and workplaces go remote to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, parents everywhere are struggling to keep children healthy and occupied. All this self-isolation and school closures can create anxiety in children. It is important to both acknowledge their concerns and be open to discussing them. Helping children to make sense of the consequences of COVID-19 and helping them to organize their thoughts and feelings is the best approach. As a first step, ask your child what they know about COVID-19 or what they have heard about it. If they don’t seem too concerned, you do not need to have an in-depth conversation about it.
You can simply reinforce the importance of handwashing and letting them know if they are feeling unwell. However, if your child’s worried or concerned about COVID-19, you can correct any misinformation and provide them with emotional support. It can be helpful to maintain some of the same routines even if children are home from school. This helps children know what to expect. Having a discussion with your children about routines and expectations for the time they are home can be helpful.
Engaging in activities like reading, schoolwork, doing crafts, board games, cooking or baking with a caregiver or doing art can help the time pass. It is also important to continue getting physical activity, which can include playing outside, having an indoor dance party, an obstacle course or doing stretches/yoga.
Finally, it is important to avoid large increases in screen time because this can interfere with children’s well-being and sleep. Although self-isolating can be stressful for parents, reassuring kids (and ourselves) that this time will pass can be helpful for keeping everyone healthy and happy.