It is no doubt that we are currently living in a very strange time. While we are moving through stages back to ‘normal’ life, life is still different, and we don’t know if it will ever go back to the way it was. Everyone has had different experiences during the pandemic, but this is also the one thing we have in common. Our children are no different, no matter their age, they have and are still experiencing changes to life as they know it due to COVID-19.
Whatever it is your family has experienced during this time – your children are watching how their parents respond and act, as they do in everything we deal with in life. We cannot control all the information our children have been given about COVID-19, but we can help them process, deal with any concerns and provide them with accurate information around it. In doing so we can help give them security, as we continue to move towards a new normal way of life. Here are some pointers to consider in supporting your children through this time.
Find out what they already know
Have a chat to your child about what they already know and ask if they have any questions themselves. Consider making your questions more specific depending on the age of the child. Roll with your child’s interest – if they have no interest, that’s OK, but they may be interested, and it is good for them to know that you are there. Sometimes kids don’t want an adult telling them stuff all the time, sometimes they just need someone to listen.
Give them accurate information
There are a lot of articles and information out there that are scary. The data in specific places is overwhelming and there are many sad situations people have had to live with. Listen to your child’s fears/concerns and be prepared to answer their questions. Be honest if you don’t know the answer to a question. Check out https://www.australia.gov.au/ for some helpful information and health.gov.au for up to date Australian data.
Whatever the answer, be reassuring and calm when talking to your children. If it is needed, remind them the death rate and severe cases are low. Also remind them of how well Australia is doing in terms of data.
Help them know how to live wisely concerning the virus
Wash your hands! Don’t touch your face in public! Keep 1.5m apart! You may feel that these instructions have been drilled into you everywhere you go. They are helpful though and a huge reason why Australia is in the position of easing restrictions. So, remind your kids of these helpful actions if they are feeling concerned – especially being surrounded by so many people at school.
Keep talking about it going forward
Even though Australia’s numbers are so encouraging– we are far from this being completely over. There are still thousands of cases in Australia and millions worldwide. We’ll also be experiencing ongoing different lifestyle changes as the restrictions are eased in stages – but social distancing is still enforced. So, keep those verbal channels open with your kids. Make sure they know you are there and are willing to listen.