Being a Good Parent During a Pandemic Period: Addressing Kids’ Fears and Isolation – Part 2

Since the COVID-19 quarantine started, social media has had a significant impact on spreading the panic: the exponential growth of the cases in some countries, announcing that flattening of the curve should happen in 2 months, 3 months, then not sure anymore, talking about a virus mutation, a second wave and much more.

The MIT Technology review called it the first true social-mediainfodemic”.

If you are reading an article from the John Hopkins Medicine it looks like the number of deaths caused by COVID-19 until mid-July is within the same range as the yearly number of deaths caused by the flu. They even developed a beautiful interactive dashboard: COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

On the Statista site you can find that as of July 4th in the US, the number of COVID-10 alone deaths (119K) is similar to the number of Pneumonia alone deaths (128K).

According to National Post, in May 2020, the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that there “There is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan”…

All this abundant and sometimes contradictory information is overwhelming and could cause panic.

As parents, we have to address our children’s fears and ensure that they feel safe and have a normal life within the new context.

The Child Mind Institute has some interesting resources for talking with your kid about the Coronavirus Crisis.

The National Association of School Psychologists published an interesting article on Helping Children Cope With Changes Resulting From COVID-19.  

So, I started by limiting my son’s exposure to the pandemic-related news.

I explained to him that if he respects the social distancing rules and has a good hygiene routine, the risks are lower. On top of that, many studies are showing that healthy kids are less affected:

  • According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, in general, COVID-19 is less severe in children than adults.
  • A statistical study from the Nature Search Journal shows that “susceptibility to infection in individuals under 20 years of age is approximately half that of adults aged over 20 years” and “clinical symptoms manifest in 21% (95% credible interval: 12–31%) of infections in 10- to 19-year-olds, rising to 69% (57–82%) of infections in people aged over 70 years.”

My kid faced a second problem: the “lack of socialization”. Spending time with other children is very important for him (and I am not talking about playing online games ;)).

This is the way a child develops his/her social skills, trust, and even mental health. As his best friend was still afraid to play outside, I “pushed” my son to call his other friends and meet them in a park at least twice a week. Each time they choose the place, with the condition that it be at less than one hour of driving time from home.

The most important step was implementing a routine.

Here are a couple of ideas from our summer vacation routine:

  • Every day, my son is chatting on social media with his friends and planning the next rendezvous (like what activity they will do, what toys they will bring, and where).
  • Every morning, he is spends about 2 hours doing exercises (Math, French or English). After completing the most difficult homework tasks, he will get some small rewards. I will share in another post how to reward a child using a positive parenting approach.
  • Every day, he has one hour of online gaming with his friends (not more).
  • Every afternoon, we spend 30 minutes or more walking together.  
  • Every weekend, we have a family activity (like cooking, gardening, crafting something together).
  • Before going to bed, almost every evening, we spend the last 20-30 minutes sitting outside and talking with each other. It is very calming and it is a great opportunity to share comments about what happened during the day or ideas for what to do in the next days.

I hope this helps, but please let me know if you have any questions or other ideas.

Stay Safe!


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this site are the personal views of the author.

You might want to read also Tips for Working from Home with Kids – Be Efficient at Work and Raise a Happy Kid.

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