Everything you need to know about teaching your children about coronavirus and COVID-19
With new cases confirmed by the day, the UK government issuing warnings about the spread of COVID-19 and many of us now in self-isolation, it’s more important than ever to explain the coronavirus crisis effectively to our children.
However, just as it’s important to get the vital messages about the spread of germs and washing hands across to your children, it’s also essential to avoid any scaremongering and misinformation.
We caught up with Emma Bradley, parenting expert at Childcare.co.uk, for some top tips on handling this sensitive subject with your youngsters.
Listen to your child
“First and foremost, it’s important that you acknowledge your child’s concerns and listen to them,” says Emma.
“If you’re the one bringing up the subject, start by finding out what she already knows. This will allow you to separate fact from fiction, and dispel any myths she may have heard on the playground or on the TV.”
Reinforce good hygiene
“Explain that viruses are spread by coughing and sneezing, and emphasise basic hygiene with your child, reminding her that this needs to happen both at school and at home,” says Emma.
Public Health England advises that the best way to stop the spread of the virus is to wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap – ideally for the length of time it takes to sing ‘Happy Birthday’. You should also use a tissue to catch any sneezes or coughs, and avoid touching your face.
“Remind your children that you know what to do to reduce the chance of them getting sick,” adds Emma. “Give examples, such as cleaning the house, wiping down surfaces and feeding them healthy meals.”
Stick to your routine where possible
Spreading fear will do nothing but increase your child’s anxiety, so Emma suggests sticking to your routine and carrying on as normal as best you can. Try to be aware of projecting your own fears onto your child, too, as there’s a good chance she will pick up on how you’re feeling and follow your lead.
However, now that social distancing and self-isolation is advised across the UK, and the threat of school closures seemingly drawing closer, it may be proving more difficult to stick to your usual routine.
In these instances, try to ensure your home-time stays as normal as possible. Where possible, morning routines could remain unchanged and a school hours spent with at-home learning.
“It’s worth explaining that, although coronavirus appears to be very contagious, most people who get it will soon feel better and be back to normal afterwards. If you do catch it, it will resemble a heavy cold or flu,” Emma says.
Videos to teach kids about coronavirus
Videos are circulating on social media of some simple experiments to teach your kids about coronavirus.
A Miami-based pre-school teacher, Amanda Lorenzo, found a great visual way of explaining the spread of germs using pepper. Her video has since gone viral and even been picked up by a number of celebs with children, including Tom and Giovanna Fletcher, who used the experiment to teach their brood about Covid-19.
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Learning about the importance of washing our hands!🧼 I wish you all could’ve seen how truly shocked they were that the “virus,” (pepper) moves away from the soap! So much fun and very informative! The things you learn from #TikTok 😂 #prekactivities #coronaviruspreventiontips #dabbooratnani
This article originally appeared on baby-magazine.co.uk.
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