Disclosure and Management of the Pandemic Process to Children

We are facing an epidemic called covid -19, which started all over the world, and our country has been affected a lot. Since it is a new situation, we have many shortcomings in information and treatment. We quarantined ourselves for a long time in our homes in order to close this gap and to contribute to healthcare workers and our nation. The quarantine process has been a situation that separates us from our daily lives, schools and jobs for a while. Apart from the Covid-19 measures, another issue that compels us is to be exposed to various questions from our children. Mom, what’s the corona virus? Mom, why can’t we go to school? Why can’t I go play with my friends? What if Corona enters my body? Will I get sick if I don’t wash my hands well? Etc. If you, as parents who have been faced with these questions, think how better to answer them, you will find the answers you are looking for here.

The quarantine process has affected us adults, both physically and mentally, as well as children. Our desire is to get through this process by minimizing the effects. We should pay attention to some points in order to manage the quarantine process in the most correct way for our children, to protect them from the mental effects of quarantine and to minimize these effects. The first of these points is uncertainty or misinformation. Uncertainty and false information from the environment can increase the child’s anxiety level. For this reason, we must begin by eliminating them.

We should make our children open to asking us questions and provide an appropriate environment for them. They should be able to ask us anything that comes to their minds with peace of mind, and the information they receive should satisfy them. In order not to create more question marks in their minds, the answers we give to our children should be clear, that is, easy to understand. But to be clear, you should avoid trying to introduce unnecessary details or facts during the conversation that the child did not ask you as a question. However, we must be very careful about being honest. We should give as accurate answers as we can. We should avoid exaggeration and pessimism when talking to them.

Our attitude during the conversation is also extremely important. It should change according to the age factor. Especially when talking to children; As parents, great importance should be attached to establishing a dialogue at eye level, shaping the language according to age, helping them to make sense of situations that they cannot understand emotionally, listening carefully and making them feel understood, and avoiding the words that will cause stress to the children. Children often tend to ask the same questions over and over. Being tolerant in such situations and being able to maintain our calm and patience during the explanation protects our communication from being injured. In adolescents, it is necessary to make them feel that we respect their ideas and feelings and to talk to them like adults.

It is very important to pay attention to our cleanliness and health in order to protect ourselves from the virus. Let’s not forget that the more we support our immune system, the less the possibility of transmission of the virus will be reduced. Children learn many behaviors through observation. For this reason, parents should be a model for them. If we pay attention to our cleanliness and health, they will imitate us and perform these behaviors. By inviting them to many activities, we can show them the ways of protection, create space for them to observe, and even turn work into fun.

For example, experts recommend washing our hands for 20 seconds to avoid the virus. So, how can we show our child why and how it should be done? We put our gloves on our hands and pour some gouache paint on our palms. Then we rub our hands until this paint paints all over the glove. The black dye we use represents the soap. By spreading soap everywhere, we teach children why and how to wash hands. Doing this process every time may bore the children or the timing may not be adjusted correctly. It takes us 20 seconds to sing the songs of a mini mini bird, just yesterday our mother, the walnut man, the red fish. While songs make work fun, they also help us a lot in time management.

Another application implemented to keep the virus called Covid-19 away from ourselves is social isolation. We are far from our loved ones, friends, traveling, school and business life. This is also a situation that can increase the level of depression and anxiety. We cannot reduce the impact of this domestic life process on children or adolescents as much as we can. The first step for this is to create a layout. We can get their thoughts on their new normal life for adolescents. This will instill a sense of competence while conveying the message that we care about their opinions. The continuity of healthy living habits such as correct and proper nutrition and exercise should be ensured for both adolescents and children. If we consider the issue in terms of social relations, we may have to maintain our social distance or we may be at home as we are within the prohibition limit, but we should not separate our children from their friends and loved ones. It is time to experience the comfort of being in the age of technology, even though children cannot hug each other and play, it is possible for them to feel side by side and try to socialize thanks to smartphones. Of course, the family’s control and adjustments regarding the use of technological tools will gain great importance here. Instead of leaving our children completely in the arms of technology, we can reduce or even eliminate the child’s desire to always sit in front of the screen by increasing physical and social activities within the family after the necessary socialization and relaxation are provided. Again, ensuring that children and adolescents participate in housework can give them a sense of competence, but of course, we should not ignore the age factor when assigning these tasks.

Lastly, I would like to warn families that they should be careful about possible mental disorders. It is quite normal to experience some mental changes due to the quarantine process. For example, bedwetting in preschool children, regression in skills and behaviors; not being able to do the activities expected to be done in school-age children, exhibiting child behaviors at a younger age according to their age and cognitive development level; in adolescents, such as restlessness, sleep and eating problems, aggression, introversion. The most important thing is whether the behavior change is permanent or not. If these changes, which negatively affect your child, last longer than two weeks, it is recommended that they get help, even online.

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