5 important ways to support ourselves and each other in the era of Coronavirus.
We are entering an era where we need to care for ourselves and each other more than ever. As public conversations continue, children and adults may worry about themselves, and friends and family getting ill with the Coronavirus. Adults play an important role in managing their own responses to the outbreak, and helping children make sense of this information.
Here are 5 ways that we can help ourselves and other adults and children navigate through the Covid-19 outbreak and the path ahead.
1. First and foremost, the most important thing that we can do is try to remain calm. Distress, whether expressed or not, is one of the biggest challenges to our physical and emotional health. Consider small things that you can do each day to calm your mind and body. Even a moment or two of quiet can go a long way.
2. Remember that children are looking to us for guidance and will often mirror our emotions, words, and body language. Pay close attention to what you say and do, what media you interact with, and how it affects your mood and behavior.
3. The more we can provide a safe place for ourselves and our children, the less fearful and stressed we will become. Children and adults often fear what they do not understand. Make sure to get your information from reputable sources like the Center for Disease Control website, or your local public health department.
Take the time to listen and respond to children's questions in a way that is calm and direct. Expect them to ask the same question more than once, and provide them with clear and accurate information that is appropriate to their age. If you can’t answer their question, be clear that you are not sure, and do your best to find an answer if possible.
4. Feeling powerless is highly related to experiencing distress. The more we empower ourselves and children to take control of uncertain situations the better. Use as an opportunity to teach your children how to reduce the spread of disease. That may mean instructions about washing hands for at least 20 seconds, keeping at least 6 feet away from others, and coughing or sneezing into a tissue and discarding it.
5. Lastly, being alone or isolated from friends, family, classmates and other supports can make being out of work or school particularly challenging. Make sure to connect with others at a distance as much as possible. Use the telephone, video conferencing and other forms of messaging and communication to keep in touch, and arrange time with others. Help children to connect with friends and family, and schedule as much quality time with them as possible.
Remember, we are all in this together.