After the initial outbreak of the Coronavirus, now more commonly known as COVID-19, we all sat and waited to see how much this new virus would affect us and our daily lives. As the virus slowly started to spread from shore to shore, it was declared a global pandemic. All nations were in panic mode on how best to keep their populations safe. Many new buzz words were floated around and, amongst them, the term ‘Social Distancing’ which spread quicker than the virus itself!
Suddenly our kids had to become very familiar and understand not only what Social Distancing meant but the impacts of what could happen if they didn’t distance themselves from their friends. As we all know, for a kid, social interaction with their buddies is vital and really important to them. Ask any parent of a teen: the best way to impose any consequence is to ground them, which takes away their social interaction. Is it any wonder then that our kids are all feeling anxious – they think they are all on a permanent grounding!
Do I Really Need To Stay Home All The Time?
World Health Organisation (WHO) experts tell us to practice social distancing. This means to distance yourself from people, avoid mass gatherings, maintain your distance from those not directly in your family and stay two meters apart from pretty much anyone at all times. However, social distancing is a very broad term and there are many different measures that fall under it, which include closing schools, cancelling playdates and sports events, all of which have a huge impact on our kids.
Explaining to our kids the importance of staying at a distance from others is a tricky task and I am being asked daily, “do I really need to stay home all the time?” It’s a very individual and personal choice but basically while kids can go out to walk the dog, take a walk in a park or chat to friends at the safe social distance, thats pretty much about it.
Kids, especially small toddlers naturally want to hug friends and physical contact during play is almost impossible to avoid. However, children also regularly either rub their eyes or put their hands near their mouths and sadly, thats all it takes. If Mum or Dad has travelled to work on public transport or been in an office even with limited people, improper sanitization can lead to spreading the virus very quickly. Whilst we have been lucky in Thailand in terms of numbers of infections, educating our kids on how to play safe and social distance is a great tool for them both now and in the future.
Explaining Social Distancing To Kids
UPMC Pinnacle’s Dr. Melissa Brown says it makes sense that kids don’t fully understand the new normal we are now living in. When explaining it to them, especially young kids, the child psychologist says we should keep our language simple and positive. When explaining why they can’t have playdates, don’t talk about, flattening the curve, overwhelming the hospital system or even keeping the family “safe.” “Kids don’t need to know all of those details,” Dr. Brown said. Instead she suggests positive, straight-forward language.
“We’re not having play dates because we want to keep our germs to ourselves and not share them and we’re just trying to keep everybody else healthy,” she said. Dr. Brown said it’s normal for kids to really miss their friends. “It really is a natural part of their development to want to be connected to their friends,” she said. “Most kids are absolutely starved of that.” Instead, Dr. Brown suggests online play dates as a way for them stay socially connected from a safe distance. “We do have to get quite creative right now with the way we’re connecting our kids,” she said. “Before we were cringing at the idea of them on their iPads and playing those online games with their friends, but it’s a good time to let them do that.”
If your kids push back, or argue that other kids seem to be allowed to play with each other in person, Dr. Brown suggests you stay firm about your own family’s rules, but also give them options. Instead of only telling them what they can’t do, she says we should remind them about the various things they still can do.
Kid Friendly Videos To The Rescue!
A good way to demonstrate this is to show them kid friendly videos or info-graphs and thankfully the WIGGLES SOCIAL DISTANCING VIDEO has been created to show kids the importance of staying home and that social distancing doesn’t have to be a scary conversation. Kids can sing and dance along at home and become a hand washing hero!
Check out the video links below which are a useful way to help kids understand why they are having to stay at home.
- How COVID-19 Spread
- Help stop the spread of COVID-19
- Stay home and stay safe
- Kids explain social distancing
- Fight the virus
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