News Psycotherapy

How to explain Coronavirus to children

Dott.ssa Francesca Cosentino

Hello, these days I am receiving daily messages, e-mails and requests from parents that I have they ask how to explain the health situation and the infection of Corona virus to children, which words to use and which modalities. 

As a psychotherapist I can reassure that school-aged children and even the most small, they can already understand what is happening.

In particular, even if they are not clear the concepts of viruses, contagion, disease, children they manage to perceive very clearly the emotional climate that surround this news. 

School closings put them in one a particular situation which, if lived in a serene way, does not generate traumatic or noteworthy situations. 

The mood of the parents of family, the request not to join, however, could be experienced by them with some difficulty. 

Children have a vivid imagination and are able to elaborate stories and narrations that allow their cognitive system to understand the events. 

It is important for them to accompany them, through a simple explanation with images, drawings and representations with dolls, puppets, characters to concretize and work out what their fears may be. 

The schools are equipped for manage the educational emergency through online platforms and homework, it is very useful for younger children to be able to see teachers, also through video recordings, also between families children can continue to see companions interacting with short videos. 

In these cases the technology is of great help so that children can continue to feel part of the school system, they can understand with simple rules but clear what they can do to avoid infection.
So, some simple pointers for parents and teachers who face this emergency:

INFORMATION: explain with simple words suitable for the age of the child what is going on, what are viruses, diseases and what can we do for face them.

use the drawings, suitable images, characters, dolls, puppets etc.

TELL THE TRUTHS: don't try to tell other things, tell children the truth in an appropriate way, without judgments and with a more serene emotional modality. Self you are worried do not try to hide it but explain the thing in so that the message that it is necessary to know how to live the
emergency situations. 

WELCOME THEIR EMOTIONS: welcome theirs emotions without judging them, without seeking excessive control and elaborate the experiences of children.

USE TECHNOLOGY: for teachers, make short videos or recordings because the children they need to "see" and know that teachers are doing well and they are continuing to work together for them, in a way different but always useful.

CREATE A ROUTINE: Children have need to feel content, to have simple and manageable rules and of a routine that allows them to predict the moments of day, dividing them into gaming activities, commitment to the committees, and "online meetings". Physical activity is very important for which can be created according to spaces and possibilities of recreational motor activities to allow their development psychophysical. It's not about creating a home gym but it can be useful a jump rope, simple games and exercises coordination etc. This is why gymnastics teachers can use creativity to find activities suitable for small spaces.

INTERACTION: This moment particular favors family interaction. People always busy with work, now at home they can get busy every day to improve their interactions and relationships, involving i children in daily activities and improving communication.

Dott.ssa Francesca Cosentino