Well, life got real this week. How do you parent in a pandemic when everything is so uncertain? What is safe for children? How do we manage if or when the kiddos can not attend school or day care?
These are hard times filled with difficult choices. Where are the best answers and information?
And how do we prevent our children from being traumatized during this time?
Parenting in a pandemic
First, don't panic. Remember, your job as a parent is to keep your children safe and emotional safety is as important as physical safety. Make wise choices on how you will share information about the coronavirus and Covid 19 with your children. And plan to answer some difficult questions with just the information needed.
Our daughters were six and eight on September 9, 2011. After an initial viewing of the morning news on TV and listening to the radio, we turned them off.
And decided to learn what we needed to know when the children were asleep. It was a terrifying time, but our daughters did not need a constant exposure to the information coming from New York, Washington, D.C., or Pennsylvania. And, thankfully, we did not add traumatized children to our daily concerns. Which were many -- the uncertainty was the worst part.
We stayed on top of the news. We answered our daughters questions to the best of our abilities. But we did so without allowing them to witness the viscerally acute images or hear the constant stories of horror.
I cannot image how much more difficult it must be to protect children during times of duress now that we are so digitally connected in ways far beyond 2011.
How to keep the kiddos healthy
Make sure your sources of information about the coronavirus are legit!
What to do when school is closed?
I just learned the major school districts in my area have already closed, so this may not be useful to those of you who must react rather than plan. But if your school or day have not yet closed, start to create a plan now -- do not wait until you are left scrambling to put together care for the kiddos. Losing income without any preparation will not help your state of mind. If your child's school or daycare remains open, great!
First lines of defense
Finally, learn some new hand-washing songs and wisely practice social distancing!
Halsey Schools provided a great post in 2015 with hand-washing songs for pre-schoolers and there's a viral Vietnamese TikTok on YouTube your middle schoolers might appreciate.
Sounds trite in the face of such difficult circumstances, but washing our hands is our first line of defense and gives children a sense of agency over their own health during a scary time. And social distancing will flatten out the curve of this virus ensuring our health care infrastructure is not overwhelmed.
With prayers and encouragement,