Coronavirus, COVID-19, has seemed to change everything we ever knew or found comfort in. We live in interesting times. Globally society has changed, and as much as we want to safeguard our children from all things perceptibly scary, whether we talk to them or not they are exposed to it. This does not have to be a talk revolving around fear.
Remember while some children may feel anxiety from all the change, some kids may be cherishing the opportunity to spend more time with their families…or beloved X-Box.
Kids are unique, and their journeys will vary, and that’s why this conversation sticks to the facts.
I have compiled Google slides to accompany the below discussion . It is broken into 4 parts, where you as the parent/caretaker can decide which topics will best benefit your child by age.
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Day 1 Germs
The Warm Up
What’s a better opener for this conversation, then to ask our child to define Coronavirus? Have them draw or write out what it means to them.
Also be sure to complete the K-W of the K-W-L (know, what to know, learned) chart to help you better guide your discussion.
How Do Germs Spread?
- Cough and sneezes
- The air we breathe
- The surfaces we touch
- Loose Glitter
- Paper plate
- Choose a patient zero to press their hand into a plate of glitter, as if they had coughed or sneezed on their hands.
- Then have them touch a person, a few household things,
- Discuss where their germs traveled?
- How much do we have to wash our hands to get all the germs off?
How Do We Stop the Spread?
- Washing hands frequently
- Sneeze or cough into tissue
- Wear a mask
- Keep surfaces clean
- If Able, Stay Home
After this brief discussion the kids were itching to play more with the glitter, so we went outside, found new patient zero and played germ tag!
Day 2: Immunity
The Warm Up
- Trace Hand on paper
- Inside the hand draw the things you feel you have control of
- Outside the hand draw the things you feel you have no control of
An important piece of coping with stress is identifying the aspects of our stress that is within our control. COVID-19 or no COVID-19 this is a great coping strategy to teach our children. You may be surprised to find what you learn, I know I always am!
- Eat Fruits and Veggies
- Get Plenty of Sleep
- Reduce Stress/Anxiety
- Avoid Germs
Using toy food you can have the kids compile a snack of immunity boosting foods. Or I have provided this free color, cut, and paste activity.
Day 3 What is COVID-19?
The Warm Up
With COVID-19 the kids have been forced to spend quite a bit of time cooped up in the house. It’s important to think of what makes their house, home. Come Over to My House By Dr. Seuss is a great tool to use to open their eyes to not only the unique attributes of other homes, but the unique special touches of their own.
What makes your home special?
Who is Effected?
- This is worldwide
- It’s most dangerous for:
- Can Kids Get it?
- Yes, but rarely will feel sick.
What Is It?
When will it go away?
- Grown-ups don’t know.
- Scientists are working on a way to prevent it.
- Doctors are working on a way to treat it.
Why has everything changed so much?
- If we aren’t careful more people can get sick.
- If too many people get sick our hospitals could run out of room.
Now that they have been equipped with the facts, allow your kids to ask questions. Check CDC for questions you may not have the answer to.
- Children draw a frame around the outside of the paper.
- In the frame they draw symbols of the virus.
- In the center of the paper they draw and color a picture of their home.
Day 4: Changes In My Community
Depending who you are, changes can be fun, or changes can be scary. Changes can make you mad, or changes can seem exciting! How do the changes you see in society make you feel?
This free worksheet download allows kids the opportunity to explore their present emotions with visual and tactile cues.
On the back of the page the children are encouraged to draw any other concerns that may be unique to their situation, and use the extra emotions to cut and paste.
Changes in my Community:
- A parent that works in healthcare
- A parent whose unemployed
- Cancelled Summer Camps
- Zoom/ Google Meets
Changes in my Community:
- At the grocery store
- At the park
- In our own home?
Changes to Come with School:
- What will they Decide?
- Will kids wear masks?
- How long will School Days be?
- Will the playground be used?
- Knowing everything we know about Coronavirus, what suggestions do you have for the schools?
Activity: Coping with Mindfulness
Mindfulness can sound cheesy to many, but it is helpful when teaching our children how to healthily cope with their more negative emotions. We don’t want to ignore them an let them create worry monsters, we want them to accept them and learn to cope with them.
A great starter into mindfulness is the 7-4-8 breathing technique. Breathe in for 7 seconds, hold for 4, release for 8.
- Have the kids draw their face without hair, or print out a black and white of their faces.
- Dab puddles of watercolors along the scalp of their drawing.
- Have them breath in a worry, and hold it for 4 seconds.
- Then have them let that worry go by blowing for 8 seconds through the straw onto a puddle of paint.
- Keep in mind, the slower their exhale the further their wacky hair will travel.
- The end result will be fun, and have them giggling away their worries.