I always like to put a positive and somewhat light-hearted spin on the little missives that I write, unfortunately there is no way I can put a smiley-face on the Corona Virus pandemic. With the entire world on virtual lockdown and constant news and social media updates there is no getting away from the severity.
As parents, especially of little ones, the current problems are magnified because with schools being shut, Mom and Dad working from home (where possible), how do we minimise the fear factor to the kids whilst ensuring they are aware of the problem?
First and foremost, explain very calmly, that it is a very bad sickness but even if children, big brothers and sisters and Mommies and Daddies do get infected they will just feel poorly for a few days and should be back to normal within a week or so.
Once they are aware, but not alarmed, emphasise how important it is to be super hygienic which will help make sure they don’t get even a little bit poorly. Show them how to wash their hands properly whilst getting them to sing a song, recite a poem or nursery-rhyme that lasts for at least 30 seconds. It is probably best that you do it together so you can turn it into a little game. Of course, if for any reason washing facilities aren’t available, hand sanitizer will do the trick.
As an extra precaution against the fear factor avoid streaming news channels, both on TV and radio, while the kids are around, because as we are already aware every newscast is scarier than the previous.
Make good use of your time at home by doing activities that you and they will enjoy. Read them the books that thrilled you as a child, bake cookies and cupcakes. With the weather improving, if you have a garden, plant some flowers or start a vegetable patch that the little ones can tend to. And whilst I would never advocate leaving the kids in front of the TV for prolonged periods there’s nothing like a couple of hours of the Disney channel to give you a well-deserved break.
If you have kids over the age of 5, there are several sites that specialise in making education fun and like The Learning Network that features free standards-aligned daily lessons on civics, social studies, history, and other topics related to current news and events. Quizzes, activities, and a student version of the NYT crossword offer more opportunities for learning in the classroom or at home.
Just in case you are suffering from any postpartum soreness or haemorrhoids don’t worry if you are housebound ‘cos Gentlepak will deliver to your door…one less thing to worry about.
It is a time for concern, and the repercussions will be felt for a very long time, but with our hopes and prayers plus a lot of common sense the crisis should be over within a few months and we can get on with the new normality and raise happy and healthy children.