How to Teach Kids About Social Distancing, COVID-19, coronavirus, social distancing, kids safety, childrens safety

How to Teach Kids About Social Distancing

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Teach Kids About Social Distancing

If you have found lockdown hard to cope with, spare a thought for how your children must feel. Kids have had no hugs from grandparents for months, no school, and no playdates with friends.

When the coronavirus restrictions were at their strictest, social distancing for kids came naturally. Children have not been interacting with people outside of their own homes, so they had no choice but to keep their distance.

Now that lockdown restrictions easing, though, kids will need to be taught the importance of social distancing. Children will need to be taught that they cannot go out and hug or play-fight with a friend.

The challenge now facing parents is how to tell children about the need for social distancing without scaring them. After all, an invisible virus that can kill you is a tricky subject to broach with young children.

So, as kids get ready for potential return to school, here are some tips on how to teach children about social distancing.

Header image by Orna Wachman from Pixabay

What Should You Tell Children About Coronavirus?

Parents will need to strike a balance between ensuring that kids know that social distancing is crucial and not making children worry too much about the pandemic. So, how much you tell kids about COVID-19 will depend on the age and the maturity of the child.

For older children who may have seen frightening things in the news, you may need to help them put the situation into perspective. Statistics that how hundreds of thousands of deaths are frightening for adults, let alone young kids.

However, when you compare the number of coronavirus cases with the total population, you can see that the chances of becoming sick are quite low. It should also be stressed that most people who contract coronavirus get only very mild symptoms.

Experts agree that very young children do not need to know too much about COVID-19 to understand the importance of social distancing. The virus can be explained in terms of a nasty cold that can make some people extremely sick.

There are some excellent books and videos that parents can use to teach kids about social distancing.

Here is a video for kids that explains why social distancing is so essential.

Explain the New Rules to Children

Just as you will have no doubt taught your children rules about strangers, you will now need to teach kids rules about social distancing. Those rules must include washing your hands more often as well as keeping your distance from other people.

The current advice is that we should all try to keep at least 2 meters or six feet from other people. While adults may be able to visualize 2 meters, though, young kids may not. So, you may need to demonstrate to children how far they need to stay away from other people. Or you could give them examples of objects that are six feet long.

Here is a video for young kids that explains the 2-meter rule.

How to Explain to Young Kids Why We Need Social Distancing

When you tell a young child that they cannot touch people, and they must stay six feet away from everyone, kids are going to need some encouragement to follow the new rules. Again, this can be tricky to do without scaring a young child so much that they will not come out of their room.

The best way to teach kids about social distancing is to explain that everyone is working together to help prevent the spread of the disease. Leading by example is, of course, the most compelling way to demonstrate that everyone must follow the new rules.

Telling young children that we must all be heroes right now may also help to get the message across. The doctors and nurses are the heroes who are helping people who are sick. The rest of us must be heroes by keeping about distance so that more people do not get sick.

You may also have to deal with the tricky question, “Will I die?”. The best answer to which might be explaining that for young, healthy people coronavirus is like a bad cold. But for older people or people who are already sick, the virus can make them very poorly.

Older children will understand more about what is happening during the COVID-19 pandemic. For kids that do appreciate the gravity of the situation, you might want to have a conversation about flattening the curve and minimizing the strain of the healthcare services.

Here is a video for older kids that explains the need for social distancing and flattening the curve.

Conclusion

COVID-19 is likely to be with us for some time, so understanding how to teach kids about social distancing is only the beginning. We will also need to have an ongoing conversation that we will need to have with our children about the disease.

We hope that you have found this article useful. If you think that other parents might find this post helpful, please do share the page with your friends on social media.

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