The threat from COVID-19 doesn’t just come from its status as a contagious disease. As it spreads, it disrupts everyday life as people scramble to slow down transmission and to protect the vulnerable.
Families face a significant threat from COVID-19, but they are far from defenceless. You and your family can live a safe and healthy life, even as you navigate numerous social distancing measures and mitigate the fallout of this health crisis.
Know The Facts
The first step you need to take is to know the basics of COVID-19. It is a respiratory disease that can spread through droplets, which people release as they cough, speak, or even breathe. COVID-19 can infect people without causing symptoms, but these individuals can still spread the disease.
However, an infection may sometimes cause dangerous complications like pneumonia, and the elderly and sick are the most vulnerable at catching the illness.
Perhaps most importantly, COVID-19 has no cure nor vaccine. Hence, the best way to protect your family is to prevent exposure by using protective equipment and avoiding non-essential contact with other people.
Aside from the basic facts, keep yourself updated on developments. Uncertainty promotes fear and anxiety, but you can reduce it by arming yourself with information.
Of course, it’s not enough to know. You should also use this knowledge to guide you towards protecting your family from the disease. Instruct everyone to minimize contact with others and to stay indoors as much as possible. Teach children hygiene practices such as regular handwashing to help them form these into healthy habits.
Update Everyone Appropriately
Some people might not see the value in informing their kids about the coronavirus. They think that children might not be able to understand the situation thoroughly and might get confused. However, engaging with your children is a crucial part of surviving any crisis.
Dr Lisa Damour, Ph.D., writes, “Parents should have a calm, proactive conversation with their children about the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and the important role children can play in keeping themselves healthy.”
She adds “Let them know that it is possible that [you or your children] might start to feel symptoms at some point, which are often very similar to the common cold or flu, and that they do not need to feel unduly frightened of this possibility.”
As an adult, you’re responsible for informing younger members of the household about what’s happening to the world. However, you need to use an approach that is appropriate for their maturity.
For example, you might want to use a story or a drawing to describe how the virus spreads and how they can protect themselves. Whatever you do, never justify withholding information by saying that COVID-19 is only an adult matter.
One way to restore a sense of normality is to introduce routines. Make sure to have at least one activity every day that involves the entire family. It can be as simple as sharing stories during dinner or competing in multiplayer games.
Establishing routine reintroduces order and gives people something to look forward to every day. Ultimately, they also help your family members bond more with each other.
Make sure to include physical activities. Exercise is a powerful way to strengthen your immune system and to lift everyone’s spirits. It’s also fun, especially if your family tries out activities like dancing or hide-and-seek.
Encourage Child Engagement
Children are at higher risk of feeling disempowered during the pandemic. They might feel powerless against everything that’s happening around them. A powerful way to keep their engagement up is to restore their sense of control over the situation.
Converse with your kids and encourage them to voice out their thoughts. Engage with any suggestions they make and appreciate their efforts to help. Give them more freedom to choose what to do. For example, you may ask your kids to plan out their activities for the day. They may also pick chores that they can do to help, like dishwashing.
Even as COVID-19 rages on, there is a lot you can do to protect your family during these turbulent times. Most importantly, always communicate and engage with every member of your household. Now is the time to build unity, because together you will be victorious against the threat of the pandemic.