These tips will help you have a positive and reassuring conversation with your kids.
Information about the COVID-19 pandemic changes every day. This makes it hard to know what is true or false. Learn the facts about COVID-19 by sticking to credible sources of information.
Start a discussion
Ask your child or teen if they have questions about the COVID-19 pandemic.
Choose a good time (right before bedtime might not be the best option).
Listen to them and acknowledge their feelings about the situation.
Avoid telling them not to worry because it creates anxiety and invalidates their feelings.
These questions can help start a conversation:
HOW DOES COVID-19 SPREAD?
Check your child’s knowledge about the virus. Are they aware of the five measures we must adopt to keep our loved ones and ourselves healthy and safe (#DoTheFive campaign)? If not, provide them with the right information in simple and direct language.
HOW ARE THEY COPING WITH PHYSICAL DISTANCING AND SELF-ISOLATION?
These measures are designed to protect Eeyou Istchee from COVID-19, especially our elders, but they force us to be apart from friends and loved ones. For children and teens, not seeing their friends can be especially hard. Recognize the signs of distress. They may be feeling sad, angry, anxious or depressed. Remind them that the situation is temporary. The more we follow the rules, the sooner life will return to normal.
ARE THEY WORRIED ABOUT MISSING SCHOOL?
Since the schools are closed, your child or teen might have concerns about grades, schoolwork, sports or other activities they had planned. Some schools and teachers have provided educational resources by email, on their websites or Facebook pages.
Continuing to learn should help your child focus on better days to come.
We understand that it might be hard to keep your child or teen busy because all the recreational facilities and Youth Centers are closed. Take this opportunity to be creative and find new activities or hobbies to practice as a family.
Plan some activities at home or outside such as cooking, doing chores, making music, doing arts and crafts, snowshoeing, walking, hunting or fishing.
Some families will go to their bush camps. This is a good way to stay connected to our culture and traditions. Staying in the bush, while limiting contact with others, is a strong source of healing for your family, especially your children and teens. Families are encouraged to bring your youth with you so they are not left at home when you are going in the bush.
Limit access to media and social media
It is important to stay informed, especially when the situation is evolving quickly. Once you have the information you need, try as a family to limit media and social media consumption. The volume of information and posts is overwhelming and may cause even more anxiety.
Instead, use technology to stay connected to your loved ones. Talking by phone or video is a great way to help yourself and others stay positive in during this stressful time.
Take care of yourself
As parents, we sometimes forget to take care of ourselves. For your children and teens to feel safe, secure and happy, we need to teach by example. Develop a plan to regulate your own feelings and worries about the pandemic. Talk to your friends, family or colleagues to get support. Be confident in your abilities and your children’s abilities in facing this hard situation. Praise and reward yourselves by doing things that you enjoy daily as a family.