How to talk to a child who is afraid of a pandemic?


The last weeks have greatly changed people’s lives: in quarantine countries, children are switching to distance learning, and adults are switching to a remote work format. In such conditions, children suffer no less than parents, and maybe even more.

If fathers and mothers, due to their age, are able to adequately perceive the situation with forced self-isolation, then children can be really scared. Firstly, they suffer from the inability to see friends, and secondly, the information noise around the pandemic scares them. The question arises: how to calm a child who is afraid of the coronavirus?

Our useful tips will help children to perk up and at the same time take the current situation with all responsibility.

Facts and nothing but facts

If a child, having heard enough news on TV or on the Internet, began to be afraid of contracting a mysterious coronavirus, a complete educational program should be carried out.

Tell your child that this type of virus is primarily dangerous for older people, and the likelihood of getting the disease before the age of 19 is quite low. Yes, there is such an opportunity, but children who have had coronavirus have already recovered and had it in a rather mild form.

Try to study with your child the official sites that provide complete information about the virus. At the same time, be restrained and answer all questions as much as possible. However, it is worth remembering that you do not need to savor the details of deaths and the consequences of a pandemic. Leave horror and horror stories for commentators on social networks!

Preventive measures

If children are worried about the coronavirus, they probably have questions about how to protect themselves, mom, dad, grandmother and little sister. You should tell your child about preventive measures that, if properly observed, significantly reduce the risk of infection.

In particular, it is worth telling the children that they need to wash their hands with soap more often and for at least 20-30 seconds, the room must be periodically ventilated, but the habit of touching the face and biting the nails should be completely eradicated. “On the wave” of the coronavirus, you can cheat and explain to the child the benefits of 8-hour sleep, proper nutrition, the need for physical exercise and following the daily routine. However, all of the above really helps to strengthen and maintain immunity.

What is self-isolation

Sometimes children are scared not so much by the virus itself as by quarantine: adults do not really explain anything, but they are forced to stay at home. Not surprisingly, children begin to experience anxiety and stress.

It is necessary to conduct an explanatory conversation with household members. Yes, now almost everyone has to stay at home, study and work remotely. But this is not happening because there was a zombie apocalypse or a war. Maintaining the self-isolation regime is necessary so that the virus does not spread: this way you can prevent its spread and infection of people who have very low immunity.

You can also talk about China: there, all the sick people almost recovered, since they observed quarantine for a certain period. Now the rest of the world needs to be patient.

Draw together a colorful diagram of how the virus lives and spreads and what can stop it. This will captivate children and allow them to visually understand what is happening and how it can be controlled.

An important step is limiting the negative

Why is the coronavirus scaring kids so much? Of course, because of the huge amount of negativity that literally permeates social networks, news, radio, and the Internet. All this once again increases anxiety and forms excessive anxiety.

The best option for parents is to identify 1-2 reliable sources for their son or daughter, where you can read the latest news. But not during the day every five minutes, so as not to stir up anxiety, but, say, 10 minutes in the morning.

An excellent medicine in the fight to eradicate fear is humor! Teens are the best at handling it. They make short funny videos that they post on Instagram or TikTok, as well as funny pictures about the coronavirus. Arrange a family competition for the best pandemic meme!

In order to communicate with relatives and friends, the child can be offered to choose one messenger (for example, Whatsapp). It is better to limit the use of others in order to reduce information noise and the flow of negativity.

Feelings discussion

When a child is under stress and his anxiety is increased, it is very important to find a special approach to children. During quarantine, you should talk to them more often about their feelings, experiences, fears. So you can find out what scares you the most in the situation with coronavirus and find a way out of the situation together. You can tell the child about your fears, thereby showing him that everyone has the right to be afraid and worry — this is completely normal! With kids, you can compose a fairy tale with a good ending about the virus that attacked the fairy kingdom and how the wise king and his court doctors helped everyone to recover there.

It happens that a child is not afraid of the virus itself, but that he will no longer see his friends, will not be able to attend his favorite robotics club for a long time, or will not get to his girlfriend Masha’s birthday. Of course, support is needed here.

Through trusting communication, the child learns to express their negative emotions, and this also helps to reduce the level of anxiety. If it’s hard for him to talk about it personally, you can introduce the practice of keeping a diary during quarantine in order to splash out all your negativity on paper. You can also draw, sculpt, stage performances and express yourself in this situation in any other way.
Long live the competition for the scariest mask!

Exercise as a way to deal with anxiety

Tell your child that physical activity is good for reducing anxiety. If he is really very worried and does not know where to put himself from disturbing thoughts, suggest that he do some physical exercises. It can be jumping rope, exercises with the crossbar on the Swedish wall, dancing to your favorite music, and even banal cleaning.

Of course, you should not force the child to spend energy if he does not want to. But expanding his scope of activity in quarantine is very useful.

creative activity

Creativity is a great way to let out fears, negative emotions, stress and anxiety. Want to comfort your son or daughter? Help them find something they love. Let them draw, weave beaded baubles, collect origami, sing karaoke, or experiment with homemade non-Newtonian fluid. So they will be distracted from negative thoughts and calm down.

The main thing is that moms and dads also keep a calm and critical attitude to the current situation. Often, children’s condition largely depends on the experiences of adults. It must be remembered that fears and stress in such a difficult situation are normal. As the experience of mothers and fathers from other countries shows, the period of adaptation to quarantine takes time. Spend this time being creative!


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