Q&A with my 7 Kids on Social Distancing and COVID-19
A lot has changed in 2 weeks since I wrote my original post about how I talked to my kids about Coronavirus. At this point with community spread, school closures, community and global panic and the overall necessity to flatten the trajectory of the number of illnesses has changed how we all need to respond to this pandemic.
As a Physician Assistant at a busy ER, I cannot imagine if we had to become like Italy and have to ration resources based on a person's likelihood to recover. But without going into horrifying details about that, I explained the current situation in ways my kids could understand without causing them unnecessary anxiety.
1) What is Covid-19?
It is a new virus sort of like the flu but some people, mostly older people, can get super sick from it. Thankfully it has not been making kids super sick so you are probably going to be just fine.
2) If I'm going to be fine, why can't I see my friends and go to school?
Well the virus is spread by people coughing and sneezing. Remember that one time you had the flu and then within a week our whole house had the flu? Well this virus spreads like that, but if we aren't around other people we can't catch it and this virus will stop spreading. If it stops spreading, people that can get super sick from the virus won't catch it.
3) What are other ways we can stay healthy?
Do the same things mom always tells you to do to stay healthy:
Wash your hands with soap and water for 30 seconds after using the restroom and before eating
Don’t touch your face – pretend you have Halloween make up on your face and you don’t want to mess it up
Use a tissue to cough or sneeze into, throw away the tissue then use hand sanitizer/wash your hands
Go to bed early when mom and dad tell you to every night because sleep makes it so you can’t get sick as easily
Take your probiotic and vitamins (this is the one we use) every day for gut health which is where our immune system needs the most help
Don't panic, because anxiety and worries can make it easier for your body to get sick
4) Are you going to die?
(I've had chemotherapy recently and with a CD19 count of zero and my kids knowing how many times I have been hospitalized the last few months, they worry about this) I will do everything possible to stay healthy. We are doing everything in our power to stay healthy. We are staying away from other people so we don't catch anything, I'm taking my vitamins to improve my immunity, I'm exercising and drinking water, I'm washing my hands, and not touching my face. By you doing the same, we can all stay healthy.
5) I really miss my friends, is there anyway I can see them
What a blessing we live in the age of technology so we can use FaceTime or Marco Polo app to send video messages so we can still see our friends. I can get your friends' moms numbers and we can find a way for you to connect. We can also get their address and spend the next few weeks being pen pals, and writing to each other on fun blank cards or postcards.
6) How are we going to finish school?
Right now your school is doing everything they possibly can to give us the necessary tools to do some school at home. No it won't be the same, but there are some positives to doing school at home. It means we can have a pajama day for school, we can play outside more often in the backyard instead of just one recess a day, we don't have to wake up so early, and we can break up the day by doing some fun activities.
7) What about my sport I was going to play this Spring?
Unfortunately it will likely be canceled, but that also means on weekends we could go camping sometimes or do some more fun activities as a family we normally couldn't do because of sports on Saturdays. We can also go outside and practice your sport and play against each other so when you can play that sport next, you will still be improving on your skills.
8) What about Easter, can we still go to church and hunt eggs?
We still have several weeks until Easter, but if we are still avoiding large crowds then, we can watch church on TV, we can have an egg hunt either in the yard or around the house, we can dye eggs and we can still make a very special meal at home. We can love and worship God anywhere because he is everywhere.
There are still more variations of these questions, but bottom line is this, whatever question your kids ask you, find a positive to respond to what they are losing out on. If I have learned anything the last few months from being ill is that even in the most dire of situations, there is always good to be found.
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