Parents are encourage to make kids feel like they’re part of the solution through small acts like calling friends and grandparents over FaceTime, and writing thank you notes to doctors and nurses. (Pxhere photo)

Talk to your kids about COVID-19: here’s how

B.C. child psychologist gives advice on speaking to children about ongoing health emergency

Schools are closed. Soccer practice has been cancelled.

And you have been wondering how to explain to your child why that play date probably isn’t a good idea right now without giving them nightmares for a week.

A B.C. expert in child psychology says it is a good idea to talk to your elementary school-age kids about COVID-19 if you sit down and do it thoughtfully, meaning putting phones and distractions away and taking time to explain things.

Dr. Jillian Roberts is a registered psychologist who specializes in children and families, and an associate professor of educational psychology at the University of Victoria.

“First thing, say that your child is safe, that your family is safe and that everything is OK and is going to be OK,” Roberts said. “Explain that a lot of what is happening is happening to prevent a problem, and that by staying home and not going into crowds, germs can’t be shared.”

ALSO READ: B.C. coronavirus cases jump by 83, public health emergency declared

Roberts also says to also let children know that the doctors and nurses and hospitals are doing great work to make sure that anyone who does get sick gets great care, and how lucky they are to live in Canada where there is a great health system.

“Remind them we have a caring community,” she said.

The last thing she recommends is asking the kids if they think there’s something they can do, such as calling grandparents, drawing a picture that can be emailed, or writing a thank you note to doctors and nurses.

“That way they can go from feeling passive and unhelpful to being full of agency and hope because they are full of the solution.”

As for staying at home together as a family for self-isolation, Roberts recommends establishing come kind of schedule to create stability in a unique situation, with an emphasis on still keeping up education time, especially for reading and mathematics. She recommends two apps: Ooka Island and Prodigy Math, which offer educational platforms in a game format.

ALSO READ: B.C. to suspend K-12 schools due to COVID-19

Kids can also reach out to friends via Skype or FaceTime, or other online measures.

B.C. cancelled school indefinitely and declared a public health emergency Tuesday as the COVID-19 death toll in the province rose to seven, with at least 186 confirmed cases.

In her practice Roberts said she’d noticed a significant rise in anxiety due to the COVID-19, and that it is important for everyone to focus on the positives.

For example, adults can also take the time at home as an opportunity to start (or finish) any projects they’d been planning on, such as a starting a novel, finishing a renovation, or starting a quilt.

“We can all try to find a silver lining in this,” she said.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook, send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

CoronavirusParents medical help kids

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Peninsula organizations fund food bank ahead of ‘looming crisis’

Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank receives more than $5,000 from local organizations

Saanich teen earns $100,000 commerce scholarship to the University of Calgary

Matias Totz is graduating from St. Michaels University School

Barbecue thief leaves hat behind at Victoria residence

Anyone who recognizes the hat is asked to call VicPD or Crime Stoppers

Traffic impacted on the Malahat near Goldstream Park

Reported crash in northbound lane of highway

COVID-19: Saanich police respond to calls about skatepark gathering, group volleyball game

‘Some people are still not taking this seriously,’ officer says

‘Hold our line’: 29 new cases of COVID-19 announced in B.C.

Saturday’s number of new cases marks the lowest in weeks.

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

Nanaimo’s Harmac mill works to fill doubled pulp order for medical masks and gowns

Mill’s president says extra cleaning in place and workers are social distancing

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

POLL: Will you be able to make your rent or mortgage payment this month?

With the COVID-19 delivering a devastating blow to the global economy, and… Continue reading

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Black Press Media ad sparks discussion about value of community newspapers

White Rock resident hopes front-page note shines light on revenue loss during COVID-19 crisis

Most Read