By Kimberly Harmon
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused fear and concern across the country. Schools are closed and children may be unsure or afraid of what will happen. It is important we talk to them and answer any questions.
Before talking to the child, we must first calm ourselves. Children will pick up on our energy. Speak in a calm manner. Pediatrician, Dr. Jamelah Tucker, suggests, “Let the child lead the conversation.” Ask what they know or have heard about the virus. Listen carefully. Then, clarify any misinformation. Respond in an honest, consistent, supportive manner. Remember to keep the conversation age-appropriate. Use language they would understand. Be careful not to give them too much information as this could be overwhelming. Stick to the facts and encourage them to talk to you anytime they have a question or concern.
Share what you as a family are doing to stay safe. These include frequent hand washing, wiping down objects, etc. Children need structure. Since they are home from school create a schedule. Set up time for play, schoolwork and family fun. Monitor their television for frightening images and be mindful they are listening and watching how you are responding to the news.
For more information on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and tips on staying safe visit: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov or Florida Department of Health: http://floridahealth.gov. Also, call the COVID-19 Call Center 24 hours a day at 866-779-612.
Locally, contact the Broward or Miami-Dade Public School sites for Parent Guides and information on breakfast and lunch distribution centers at: https://www.browardschools.com or http://dadeschools.net
Above all, by reassuring them they are safe in their home and creating an open environment where they feel free to ask questions, we can help them cope with stressful events like this.
Kimberly Harmon, Founder and CEO, Read2Achieve Inc. Find us at: www.Read2Achieve.net and smile.a