COVID-19? Social Distancing And Talking About It With G-Kids
This health crisis”Social distancing.” In this time of coronavirus, it sounds straightforward: Avoid crowds. Don’t shake hands. Shield the elderly and infirm from infection. If necessary, go home and hunker down. can be scary.
As we all scramble to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe from infection of the
COVID-19 virus, we are following the lead from NPR with this advice: Keep it simple, age-appropriate and fact-based. For example, don’t tell your child they won’t get COVID-19; you don’t know that. Instead, the CDC suggests telling children that, from what doctors have seen so far, most kids aren’t getting very sick. In fact, most people who’ve gotten COVID-19 haven’t gotten very sick. Only a small group has had serious problems. And, channeling the great Mr. Rogers: Look for the Helpers. Assure your kids, if they (or someone they love) do get sick, the world is full of grown-ups who will help. And be sure to check out this incredible comic by our colleague, Malaka Gharib. She made it specifically for kids who may be scared or confused about coronavirus.
Make sure they understand that hand-washing isn’t optional. And that means showing them how to do it properly: using soap, warm water and time. Washing should take 20 seconds, which means you may need to help them find a song they can sing (in their heads, maybe twice) — like the ABCs or “Happy Birthday” songs. Be sure they wash whenever they come in from outside, before eating, after coughing or sneezing or blowing their nose and, of course, after using the bathroom.
For younger kids, it can’t hurt to remind them that nose-picking is a no-go and that they should cough into their elbows. If you’re feeling ambitious, clip their fingernails frequently, as they provide a sneaky hiding spot for viruses. Hand lotion keeps skin comfy and unbroken, which also helps prevent the spread of infection.
What To Say To Kids When The News Is Scary
“Look for the helpers”
Fred Rogers, the beloved children’s TV host, famously passed on this advice from his mother: “When something scary is happening, look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
Truglio did this when she talked to her then-young son about the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting. The shooting happened on a Friday, and she kept him away from the television all weekend.
“We didn’t turn on the TV until President Obama spoke and there was a memorial service,” Truglio says. “We focused on the positive — how people were gathering and taking care of each other.”
The images were full of violence, Truglio says: “guns and knives and dead people.”
There’s evidence that talking about helpers really does make a difference in how kids see their world. After the Columbine school shooting in 1999, Sesame Workshop studied school-age children’s perceptions of the world through their drawings. The images were full of violence, Truglio says: “guns and knives and dead people.”
But after the Sept. 11 attacks, just two years later, media coverage changed, she says, focusing more on themes like “the country is strong. The country’s coming together. We are united. We are going to get through this.” And this made a difference for kids: Their drawings featured American flags and heroes like police officers or firefighters.
According to researchers at The Atlantic, here are some best practices for social distancing
If I’m Symptom-Free, Of COVID-19 should I avoid bars and restaurants?
Carolyn Cannuscio, the director of research at the Center for Public Health Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania: People should avoid gathering in public places. People should be at home as much as possible. The measures that have worked to get transmission under control or at least to bend the curve, in China and South Korea, have been extreme measures to increase social distancing.
Crystal Watson, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security: It depends on the local context. If we’re in a situation where the disease has been shown to be spreading widely, I think people will start to want to stay home and not go out into crowded settings.
Albert Ko, the chair of the epidemiology department at the Yale School of Public Health: If you go to a crowded bar where you’re up one against another, that’s a lot different from going to a bar where you’re spread out. The CDC recommendations are to keep six to 10 feet away from other people. The bottom line, there’s no absolute indication not to go to bars and restaurants, but in practicing good public health—which is a kind of responsibility for everybody in the country—really think about how we can decrease those close contacts.
Can I have a small group of friends over to my house for a dinner party or a board game night?
Watson: I think small gatherings are probably okay as long as nobody has symptoms, respiratory symptoms. As soon as someone seems sick, you should probably not get together.
Ko: We’re in a gray zone now. The public-health imperative is to create social distance; that’s the only way we’re going to stop this. Think about having those get-togethers but practicing good public health: not sitting very close, trying to keep a distance. Wash your hands; avoid touching your face. There are places on the board game that people are constantly touching—routinely disinfect [those, as well as] doorknobs, the bathroom faucets, those types of things. There’s no absolute rule about what works, but what we do know is that decreasing the size of those gatherings, increasing the distance, practicing good hygiene will go a long way. Read the full article here