How do children cope when every day is Covid Day?

The year will end in 53 days.

Some of us just want the remaining days to pass by in a flash.

For the most part, 2020 has been a depressing, painful, uneventful year, no thanks to Covid-19.

Earlier this week my four-year-old uttered: “Mummy, every day is Covid day.”

I was taken aback, not knowing where he had picked that up.

Later that night, as we were browsing through photo albums, he asked when Covid-19 cases will decrease. Pointing to a picture in the album that was taken during Christmas last year, he said: “I wish we could go to KLCC. I really love this gingerbread man.”

It was not the first time in recent weeks that he has asked about the pandemic.

He had previously asked if a cure had been found.

Two weeks ago, we were forced to cancel his birthday party as the Conditional Movement Control Order was re-imposed in the Klang Valley.

It then struck me that I could have unintentionally been the cause of “Every day is Covid Day.”

My husband and I are both journalists and we talk about the pandemic a lot.

We also tune in to updates on television and phones when we are at home.

For the past eight months, we have been constantly reminding him to wash his hands, the importance of wearing a face mask and the need to adhere to physical distancing.

We have also been telling him that Covid-19 cases were on the rise and explained the need to stay indoors whenever possible.

I assured him that things will go back to normal but it may take some time and promised we will go to the field to indulge in his favourite game of football soon.

Is there a guidebook for parents on do’s and don’ts when it comes to our children in dealing with the adverse effects of this pandemic?

Browsing through the Internet, I found a ‘Covid-19 Parental Resources Kit – Ensuring children and young people’s social, emotional, and mental well-being’.

Developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the kit is meant to help support parents, caregivers, and other adults serving children and young people in recognising and ensuring children and young people’s well-being.

It lists down the social, emotional and mental health challenges faced by each age group early childhood (0-5 years), childhood (6-12 years), adolescence (13-17 years) and young adults (18-24 years).

Reading up on the challenges that could be faced by a four-year-old, I found some useful tips on how we can speak to our children right now.

One tip was the need to reassure our children they are safe.

We also need to pay attention to what they are seeing on television, radio or online and the need to reduce the amount of screen time focused on Covid-19 as too much information on one topic can lead to anxiety.

There are tips on how to use play and talk to get children to express their emotions.

It may seem I’m a little paranoid about my child’s wellbeing, but I know I am not alone.

Instead of focusing on the negatives, say and do what is necessary to ensure our children feel safe (and remain safe) regardless how terrible we adults feel right now.

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