The MLO Minute: A Two-Part Series by Kimberly Caputo, Esq.
Kids and students are at home. School is different and challenging. Television, radio and internet news is on much more often, and parents and caregivers are worried about health, work, family and community. Your kids and those you know may be struggling with thoughts and concerns about the virus. They may have questions and they may be having a tough time trying to feel safe and in control.
At our firm we are here to support and empower parents and caregivers during these times. This is the first of a two-part installment with information and suggestions from the CDC (Center for Disease Control). In our 2nd installment, we will share some facts and conversation tips to help navigate questions children may have for you.
Steps to Make Children Feel Safe
- Remain calm and reassuring.
- Kids are watching and listening to you and those around them. They will react to what you say and how you say it. They pick up cues from the conversations you have with them and with others.
- Make yourself available to listen and to talk.
- Make time to talk. It does not need to be long, drawn out conversations or every day. Be sure children know they can come to you when they have questions. Share news that is positive like, “Scientists from our country and from other countries are working together!” and “There are things we and you can do to be safe!”
- Avoid language that might blame others and lead to stigma.
- Remember viruses can make anyone sick, regardless of a person’s race or ethnicity. Avoid making assumptions about who might have COVID-19.
- Pay attention to what children see or hear on television, radio, or online.
- Consider reducing the amount of screen time focused on COVID-19. Too much information on one topic can lead to anxiety.
- Provide information that is honest and accurate.
- Give children information that is truthful and appropriate for the age and developmental level of the child. A general guide is the younger the child the less detail they need to have a question answered and to feel heard.
- Talk to children about how some stories on COVID-19 on the Internet and social media may be based on rumors and inaccurate information.
- Teach and reassure children that everyday actions can reduce the spread of germs. They can play a part in safety!
- Remind children to stay away from people who are coughing or sneezing or sick.
- Remind them to cough or sneeze into a tissue or their elbow, then throw the tissue into the trash.
- Get children into a handwashing habit.
- Teach them to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, (Sing Happy Birthday 2 times) especially after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
- If soap and water are not available, teach them to use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. Supervise young children when they use hand sanitizer to prevent swallowing alcohol.
We are all in this together and even from a distance McAndrews Law Offices is here to help! Stay tuned for part 2 of “COVID-19 Can Be Scary for Anyone, Including Kids: Conversations to Reassure”.