COVID-19 – Our somewhat experienced and educated brains are not sure;
is it ‘Careful – the virus might kill you!’ or is it ‘Relax, it’s just a virus!’
Can you imagine how our children feel if we are not even sure how to react to government advice and actions, to the horrific daily media noise and all the online pseudo-experts with all their nonsense posts?
Excited by everything they hear, kids will talk amongst themselves – their little imaginations blowing everything totally out of proportion. Then, they become genuinely scared.
COVID-19 is only the newest addition to our list of human fears, and fear should be a natural part of our lives. Fear has the function of warning us about any danger and guiding us to act carefully. And especially for young children, caution is super important. Otherwise, they would run on the streets, touch snakes or follow strangers.
If fear develops into a panic, parents and adult friends are needed; as children often can’t master this on their own. Children need closeness and explanations; they must know that we take them seriously. Even if their fears are irrational to us, we need to react with care and empathy.
Do not try to take their fears away, but help them understand and learn to live with them. Tell them situations about your fears and how you learned to live with them, so you become a role model and encourage your child, so they know that they can do it too.
Please take advantage of fears and turn them into positive habits for good. In the case of COVID-19, teach them to wash their hands several times a day with soap, don’t put everything in their mouths, eat lots of vegetables and salads and don’t shake hands. And as always, love, mindfulness and empathy are the most critical ingredients of parenting!