Coronavirus has officially been categorized as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization, which means offices, schools universities are closing down in order to prevent the spread of this scary new virus. As such, parents are now tasked not only with making childcare arrangements in light of the closings but also to have honest conversations with their children about what coronavirus actually is.
Psychotherapist Perri Shaw Borish, MSS, LCSW, says parents are reporting higher anxiety as they begin to face the wave of school closings spreading across the country. “It’s normal to feel stressed at the thought of being quarantined with your children for days, even weeks, on end – and it’s important to be reminded that having these feelings doesn’t make you a bad parent,” says Shaw Borish, who specializes in treating anxiety and depression in mothers and fathers.
The coronavirus pandemic not only affects children, but also the parents who will be working from home in order to avoid unsafe commutes. Realistically, your productivity will be affected if you find yourself working and staying at home with the kids. “For parents who will be working from home, you should have a frank discussion with your boss about a realistic workload,” says Shaw Borish.
While there is no evidence to support that children are at increased risk of contracting Coronavirus, the CDC recommends that parents teach their kids preventive actions to prevent the spread of respiratory infections including covering their mouths when coughing, washing their hands often with soap and water, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and keeping them up to date on vaccinations, including the flu shot.
Though it’s tempting to want to stay in for the day, Shaw Borish says keeping some semblance of normal day-to-day life is critical during this time. “It’s going to be crucial to plan ahead. Set up childcare if you can afford to, plan outings (if your kids are healthy), and schedule the day to have a balance of planned activities and free-play.”