As a parent or caregiver, knowing how to support your child at this time can be challenging. Here are five ways to help.
1. Create Intentional Family Time
- Give your child the opportunity to ask questions and express their feelings.
- Keep explanations honest, simple and developmentally appropriate.
- Try to limit your child’s news/social media viewing – it may contribute to increased worry.
- Emphasize the steps you are taking to keep them safe.
REMEMBER: Kids need to be reassured that they are safe, loved and cared for.
2. Engage in the Power of Play
Play is the universal language of children. This is how kids can express their thoughts and feelings.
Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood, for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child.
REMEMBER: 20 minutes of fresh air is good for the mind, body and soul.
3. Create a Daily Routine
Kids often respond well to a predictable routine. Include in your routine: educational time, play time, meals and downtime.
REMEMBER: Many free online resources are available to you and your kids during this time.
4. Practice Good Hand Washing
- Set up a hand washing station for kids that includes a slip-resistant step stool, easy-to-use faucet, liquid soap and a child’s own towel.
- Keep fingernails short to make it easier to clean them.
- Encourage kids to wash their hands often, including before meals, and not to touch their face or place their hands in their mouth.
REMEMBER: Kids can sing 30 seconds of their favorite song to promote proper hand washing.
5. Create "Physical Distance" Rather Than Social Distance
- Strong and loving relationships can be fostered virtually without physical contact with one another. Explain that keeping a physical distance from peers is temporary, but necessary.
- Children may express disappointment and confusion about why they cannot attend school, have play dates, participate in sports, etc.
- Get creative and talk about/find ways to stay socially connected with friends and loved ones through video calls, sending emails, video games and other online avenues.
REMEMBER: Children in the hospital would love to receive uplifting messages from you and your family through email. You can reach out to our patients at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Child Life Specialists and the Pediatric Psychology team at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital have partnered together to share the love. We are here to support and comfort our community during this challenging time.