Emotions How to explain well to children what is happening

How to explain well to children what is happening

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Communicating well to the children why we are living in a confinement and what is happening with the coronavirus crisis has a double function: that they understand and comply with the security measures and that they better cope with the situation they have had to live.

Children have a higher level of activity than ours, and it is especially hard for them to spend whole days locked up within four walls. Also, if we don’t explain what is happening to them well, they may not understand why we are demanding this effort from them. Communicating well what the coronavirus is and why we are protecting ourselves from it is essential for them to cope with this situation in the best possible way.

If we do not explain well to children what the coronavirus means and why we find ourselves in this unprecedented situation, they may belittle the problem and be reluctant to follow health recommendations. Or the opposite: the little ones can also come to think that their life or that of their relatives is in danger and live the whole process with more anxiety than they should.

THE BEST WAY TO PUT IT

The Official College of Psychology of Madrid recommends a series of guidelines to adequately explain to children between 4 and 10 years of age what the coronavirus is, what it implies and why they cannot go outside.

  • Search for the best words. We must adapt the message to its psychological characteristics. Explaining it to them through pictures can help them better understand what is happening. Another option, especially in the case of younger children, is to explain what is happening through a story. You can download the story “ Hello! I am the Coronavirus ”devised by the Colombian psychologist and teacher Manuela Molina. Through this simple story, children can learn what coronavirus is and how it can affect them.
  • Explain it as soon as possible. Instead of waiting for them to imagine what is happening (children’s imaginations are overflowing), we must bring up the subject as soon as possible. The Official College of Psychology of Madrid recommends that parents be sincere: it is necessary to talk to them about the danger of the virus, explain how it is transmitted and what are the symptoms of the infection. This way they will understand that they must protect themselves and that it is important to follow the recommendations.
  • Convey serenity. As adults we often have crude conversations in front of children and that can cause them distress. We must make an effort to transmit tranquility. Let us explain to them that doctors work very hard to cure people with coronavirus and that many precautions are being taken so that we are all safe.
  • Ask about their fears or doubts. Psychologists recommend promoting meeting spaces where you can talk with them about the subject naturally. It is better to face the subject head on for a few minutes than to talk about it too often but vaguely. Information can overwhelm them. Ask them if they are afraid, if they understand why they have to be at home, if there is something that could help them cope better.
  • Remind them that they, too, are important in this fight. The psychologists of the Official College of Psychology of Madrid suggest that we make them feel like superheroes in the fight against the villain coronavirus and that we explain what their “superpowers” ​​are against him: wash their hands, stay at home without playing with friends, cover your mouth when you cough.

TAKE CARE OF YOUR NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION

The psychologist Ramón Soler also recommends that we take care of our non-verbal communication when we speak to our children. If our words say one thing but our attitude says another, they will probably end up more confused than they may already be.

  • Look them in the eye. Human beings communicate a lot with our eyes. In fact, our eyes are designed to capture and convey emotions. Looking indicates attention, the absence of looking transmits restlessness and helplessness. Look at your children with affection, let them know that you are there to take care of them
  • Get at their height. For children, adults are like giants and this can be very intimidating. If we want our children to listen to us from trust and not from fear, we must lower ourselves to their height, so that our eyes are on the same level. Imagine that a 3-meter-tall giant speaks to you. How would you feel?
  • Try to be relaxed. From a distance, children can pick up on our muscle tone, they can recognize whether we are tense or relaxed. We cannot pretend to have a calm and fluid communication if our body is rigid. Learning to relax will help us not to be so tense in front of them.
  • Talk to them when they are ready. We must never push or pressure children by invading their personal space. Children detect this invasion and react with blockage and rejection. Give them their space, do not insist – for example – that they give a kiss to someone who goes home, respect that they do not want to be hugged or touched by everyone; in this way, they will learn to defend their space and their body from the attack of predators.
  • Do not pretend. Our body language must be authentic at all times. If we show incoherence between verbal and non-verbal language, children will always pay more attention to the second, much more automatic and intuitive.
MindFixes Staffhttp://mindfixes.com
MindFixes is dedicated to promoting mental health, preventing mental disorders and advocating, educating, and serving all people with mental and substance use conditions. MindFixes is determined to persevere, learn, grow, love and laugh through our wellness journey and we invite all to join.

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