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

Oak Bay pool to reopen Aug. 17

Swimming, other activities return this month

Island riders conquering new heights

With no races, cyclists tackle Everest challenge to lift community

Saanich police search for suspect accused of using stolen credit, debit cards

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers says suspect made numerous fraudulent purchases

Homeless woman sentenced to 18 months in jail for selling drugs to Victoria police officer

Officer paid $20 for a substance consisting of heroin, fentanyl and caffeine

Family restaurant to hold Saturday fundraiser for Beirut blast

Wrap and Roll will donate all sales to victims of blast

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

Vancouver Island team takes on wacky challenges of world’s largest scavenger hunt

Greatest International Scavenger Hunt taking place Aug. 1-8

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Aug. 4

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Most Read