In the past few weeks, the world has undergone a whirlwind of changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with the spread of the pandemic is the sentiments of fear, uncertainty and panic sweeping nations worldwide.
Parenting at the height of the crisis
Every time we turn on the television or open our social media applications, we are bombarded with information about the situation. As parents, sifting through the flurry of information for the facts can be a challenging and overwhelming ordeal.
Even worse, with fake news about the pandemic spreading like wildfire, we may even be guilty of harbouring certain misconceptions about the situation.
Equipping yourself with all the right information
Gaining clarity about the situation is so important; it can make a world of difference in your parenting journey and in keeping your emotions at an even keel especially in these tumultuous times. Consequently, quelling your little ones’ fears, answering their questions about the pandemic and remaining confident in knowing all the right steps to take to protect your family no longer seems like such a tall order.
A good start to gaining clarity on the situation is to clear up some of your misconceptions about COVID-19.
Wearing a mask is sufficient in protecting you and your child against the disease.
The virus is transmitted through direct contact with the respiratory droplets of an infected person. Hence, wearing masks do decrease the likelihood of the virus being passed to you or your child. However, they should not be considered an iron-clad guarantee.
According to the World Health Organisation, additional measures like avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth is crucial. This is because contaminated hands can transfer the virus to the eyes, nose and mouth and from there, the virus can enter the body!
Remember to maintain good hygiene practices and teach your child how to do so. These include: washing hands frequently and thoroughly, covering the mouth and nose with a bent elbow or tissue when coughing and sneezing and seeking medical care early if you or your child has cold/flu-like symptoms.
There is very little we can do in the face of the pandemic.
It is easy to feel downright helpless with the influx of news coverage on the spread of the virus, the increase in reported cases and death counts worldwide. However, this simply isn’t true – there is so much we can do!
Do not underestimate the effectiveness of adhering to national health guidelines. Everything from following the recommendations against ‘panic buying’ to practicing social distancing goes a long way in helping to flatten the curve i.e. slow the rate of new cases.
The Chinese are to blame for COVID-19.
COVID-19 knows no geographical or social boundaries. While the virus originated from Wuhan, China, a person’s ethnicity, nationality or language is not a risk factor for the virus. Fear and panic breed xenophobia and social stigmatisation. It is now more important than ever for us to step in and level with our children about making incorrect assumptions like this.
Talk to your child about how reactions to the pandemic in the news and social media can perpetuate harmful stereotypes and anti-Asian sentiments. This is a good opportunity for you to have open conversations about xenophobia and the importance of being compassionate in these trying times.
At the end of the day, all we want is to shield our little ones from the virus and help them feel safe and secure amidst all the confusion, stress and fear. Perpetuating myths like these will only serve to breed panic and uncertainty in our own homes. Tackling COVID-19 begins with fighting misinformation and educating ourselves and our little ones!