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How to talk to your children about the CoronaVirus

After several weeks of being cooped up at home, cabin fever has undeniably kicked in for parents and children, the number of at-home activities is wearing thin and all relationships are being tested. How have you explained the current situation to your children? We know children are hyper aware of their emotional surroundings and through the process of attunement they adapt to the role models of their environment. So chances are if you have been stressed out about the current spread of the coronavirus, so have your children. During times of stress and turbulence it can be tempting to feel the need to protect our children from what is happening and not talk about the situation, or create a pseudo enemy for them to fear to motivate their behaviour.

The best course of action at this time is to equip our children with age-appropriate knowledge of health and preventative practices to keep hygiene and safety in their (sanatized) hands. Instilling healthy habits, there’s been no better time to get talking about hygiene and health, the same way we teach children to brush their teeth to stop decay, there are other health preventative practices that can also ben adopted.  It’s also important to equip children with enough information about what and why the disease has spread.

What is it?

In December 2019, people started showing a set of symptoms, coughing and fever, but had different germs than had ever been recorded. This was an unknown virus (a virus is a set of germs that attacks the body making it weak), people had not caught this kind of disease before so there wasn't any medication available to fight it. To date, there still is not medication to fight it. The name coronoavirus is the name given to respiratory (anything that involves breathing) diseases that spread from person to person. It's called Corona because the word means crown in latin and this germ looks like a crown.

Why did this happen?

Originally the disease came from contact with wild animals. We need to be careful and respectful of animals. Now with the spread of the virus contracted we need to be careful with how we interact with people because germs can spread very easily. It's important to take hygiene seriously as germs spread more easily in environments where hygiene is poor.

How do we take care of ourselves?

  1. Always washing your hands whenever possible. Our hands touch everything, so it is imporant to keep them away from our face and try to eliminate touching things with our hands whenever possible. It’s important to keep your hands clean! Keep them away from your face and always wash your hands when you come home and before you eat. Your fingers are the most germ infested part of your body so do your best to keep them as clean as possible at all times.

  2. Keep your home clean by keeping the outdoors out and the indoors in. This can easily be done by taking your shoes off before you come though the door, taking off your outside clothes when you come home, especially when you’ve been in busy crowded places.

  3. Keep yourself healthy by eating a vegetable heavy meals, sleeping 10 hours if you’re below 16 and 7-9 hours if you’re older than 16, staying active doing three sessions of exercise a week.

  4. Be mindful of your immunity by managing your stress-level, if you’re keeping stressed about what’s happening remind yourself that this situation won’t be forever, it’s just right now so take the best care of yourself until this is over. Be patient and kind towards yourself and others. Reach out to friends, remind your family how much you care for them and take this chapter day by day.,

Useful Resources

MindHK booklet - Tips on Managing Mental Health as the virus spreads

World Health Organization - Information about the virus and accurate medical updates


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