Updated: May 1, 2020
The magic and mystery of this new home-schooling effort is starting to wear off and it's only day 2! The news of more and more dramatic changes to our normal lives now spans coast to coast. With that, you might be getting more questions from your kids inquiring what this new lifestyle is all about.
Answer the question(s) being asked. Your child may ask: "What is coronavirus?" or "Why is school closed?" or "Why can't I have a play date?" You want to answer their questions without extra, adult-generated, information. What I mean by that is this: as adults, we have years of experience and a fully-developed brain that can comprehend what's going on around us beyond the basics. We understand longterm ramifications of these changes to our normal lives and we know the high risks. Our kids don't have these details and, more importantly, don't have the cognitive ability to understand them either. When we give them more information than they can handle, we add confusion and, subsequently, anxiety to their mental load.
So, here are some age-appropriate answers to some big questions (for your average 4-10 y/o):
"What is coronavirus?" Coronavirus is type of germ that can make us sick.
"Why is school closed?" School is closed to keep as few people as possible from getting sick. By not being with groups of people, we make it harder for the virus to spread from person to person.
"Why can't I have a playdate?" It's a lot like the reasons why we're not going to school or our other activities right now. We want to make it as hard as possible for the virus to spread from person to person. We can meet our friends outside for walks, hikes or bike rides as long as they, their parents and siblings are feeling healthy.
"Am I going to get sick?" It's very unlikely that you'll get sick. If you do, we'll do everything we always do to make sure you get better as soon as possible.
"Are you going to get sick or die?" I might get sick and if I do, I'm going to do everything I know I should do to make sure I get better as soon as possible. Doctors, nurses and scientists are working their hardest every day to make sure people who do get sick, get better.
Just remember, all the thoughts that pop up in your head when your child asks these type of questions are because of your lived experience and lack of naiveté. Your child is looking to you as the expert to answer her simple question in language she understands. You can do this.