Stop worrying. Harsh words. I know, It might even sound hilarious… But the truth is the actual physical action of worrying is really quite useless for anything other than giving us an adrenalin boost. Unless we apply these feelings of worry to serve as inspiration or directing our focus away from worrying and towards understanding. And by doing that, enabling us to beat stressful situations like the COVID-19 outbreak.

Throughout these difficult times of confinement and social distancing, as parents, we need to remember our worries directly translates into our kids’ fears and anxieties. So since it’s very likely that we will continue to worry about COVID-19 until it’s over, and maybe even long after, we need to start the mind-shifting process sooner rather than later. And thereby protect our mental wellbeing. The very first step is to face the facts and help ourselves and our kids understand the truth behind this pandemic without causing further anxiety. Here’s how.

stop worrying and understand COVID-19

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The biggest part of feeling scared and worried stems from fearing the unknown. Hence the best stress limiting solution we have right now is to understand and know what we are dealing with. And, what we can do to stay safe and positive. That’s exactly what we will discuss: How to limit our worries and help our kids understand COVID-19. And in the process, offer you access to valuable resources including

  • a free guide to help you understand and beat COVID-19 for moms, teens & kids
    • with fact sheets, activities, journal prompts and more
  • a 5-minute video sharing more than 50 important facts about the pandemic and coronavirus
  • credible information and resources you can trust

Save the post on how to stop worrying and understand COVID-19

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stop worrying

 

I felt chills when I read a piece written by the Italian novelist, Francesca Melandri, at week 3 under lockdown in Rome. It was like she was speaking from my mind, here in Switzerland, where we are under similar isolation at the moment. And I know without a doubt, whether you are in China, Italy or Spain where things are getting progressively worse, or in the USA, South Africa or any other country in the world where it’s just starting, at some point you are going to be sharing these very sentiments.

So I will kick this off by sharing a small excerpt. And then help you find the best ways to understand COVID-19 without causing panic and learn how to stay safe and positive. Maybe not how to stop worrying but at the very least, how to worry a bit less.

I am writing to you from Italy, which means I am writing from your future. We are now where you will be in a few days. The epidemic’s charts show us all entwined in a parallel dance.

We are but a few steps ahead of you in the path of time, just like Wuhan was a few weeks ahead of us. We watch you as you behave just as we did. You hold the same arguments we did until a short time ago, between those who still say “it’s only the flu, why all the fuss?” and those who have already understood.

First of all, you’ll eat. Not just because it will be one of the few last things that you can still do.

At some point, you will realise it’s tough. You will be afraid. You will share your fear with your dear ones, or you will keep it to yourselves so as not to burden them with it too.

You will eat again.

We’re in Italy, and this is what we know about your future. But it’s just small-scale fortune-telling. We are very low-key seers.

If we turn our gaze to the more distant future, the future which is unknown both to you and to us too, we can only tell you this: when all of this is over, the world won’t be the same.

Francesca Melandri, Italian novelist, week 3 under lockdown in Rome, Italy

Making this easy

Following intensive research to discover the best and most accurate information on COVID-19, this post, video, and guide were created. It’s based on information shared by experts in the field, the latest scientific publications, and recommendations from the

If you are like me, who has to read each and every article I can get my hands on to make sense of this pandemic and how to handle it best, go ahead. Click the links above to get started.

Or if you just want the condensed version, created after meticulous investigation and focusing on the listed sources

  • read through this post
  • watch the 5-minute video
    • and learn more than 50 important facts on COVID-19 before you
  • download the free guide for moms. kids & teens
    • to help your family, young and old, understand and do the right things to help beat this virus

free printable COVID-19 guide

This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may be compensated when you make a purchase after clicking a link, with no added cost to you.

Turn social distancing into distant socializing

social distancing

I read this clever line on some ad and although I can’t remember where I saw it, the slogan really appealed to me. Mainly because I believe the only way to get our anxiety over COVID-19 under control is to

  1. understand the reality and
  2. focus on staying mentally sane

After mentioning it earlier, we know that anxiety often derives from fear of the unknown and being in isolation, doesn’t help. So fighting this pandemic means we need to ignore the scary stuff social media promotes and learn the real facts. And secondly, reach out to others to satisfy our need for social interaction and preserve our sanity.

While I will answer to this first need and provide you with all the resources to understand the reality of COVID-19, and maybe even share a sanity-saving tip or two, I highly recommend you stay connected with your community, friends and family members to further rock the distant socializing part.

And one of the best ways to do just that is by starting your own online means of sharing advice and personal experiences. Expert mom blogger, Suzi from Startamomblog.com can help there. She has brilliant solutions to get your blog started in no time so you can stay connected and have the opportunity to also help others.

parenting advice on COVID-19

Everything you and your kids need to know about the COVID-19 pandemic

It’s time to have a look at all the facts, activities and resources to learn about and understand COVID-19. And we will focus on the following topics

  • what is COVID-19
  • how the coronavirus spreads
  • what we can do to beat it
  • what happens when we get infected
  • and how to make staying at home fun for everyone

And when you want a download of the post plus additional worksheets, remember to grab a copy of the free COVID-19 guide.

AUTHOR DISCLAIMER

This article is a representation of my view on guidelines published by the WHO, UNICEF, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and other authority sites as well as publicly available scientific publications.

Yes, I’m a medical doctor but I’m not your treating doctor. The information in this guide reflects my personal opinion on published guidelines and is merely medical information. It’s not medical advice and you should consult your own doctor before acting or relying on this or any other free information.

How to talk to your kids about COVID-19

Here are some age-appropriate tips and learning information in general and per age group to make your COVID-19 discussions easy and fun. When having a serious discussion over fear-provoking topics like the COVID-19 outbreak, we need to avoid causing panic. Try these tips.

GETTING STARTED

  • start a discussion with your kids by asking them to tell you what they know about the coronavirus and use there answers to gauge the depth of detail needed
  • and then first and foremost reassure them that you and your family will be safe as long as you follow the suggested precautionary measure
  • assure them that if they, you or anyone they know get sick, the doctors and nurses at your hospital will take good care of everyone
  • stay calm, don’t show your own concerns or panic
  • when they ask a question and you don’t know the answer, search together to find one from credible sources
  • don’t dismiss their fears and feelings, admit it, reassure them and find a solution
  • have repeated discussions to continue the conversation and pick up on new fears, especially in older kids
  • empower them with actionable steps and make them part of the solution by teaching them how to stay safe and healthy

MAKE SURE THEY UNDERSTAND

During and after your discussion, you can make sure your kids understand by

  • explaining things in easy language, in line with their age and comprehension abilities
  • asking questions
  • allowing them to ask questions
  • showing pictures and videos
  • doing activities
  • and asking them to repeat their take-home message

Adapt your discussions according to your child’ age by keeping these tips in mind

KIDS YOUNGER THAN 6 YEARS

  • gauge their interest by asking relevant questions
  • if they don’t show any interest, make them aware of the subject, but limit further discussions that can potentially cause anxiety
  • follow this through with checking in often and answering questions as they arise
  • do not offer an excess of information as they do not need to know or worry about this outbreak unnecessarily
  • and remember, even when they don’t understand everything they WILL feel your anxiety and the difference in routine and mood in the house
  • so be attentive to their mood and possible concerns and handle it as it gets mentioned

KIDS OLDER THAN 6 YEARS

  • do not underestimate their knowledge and understanding on this topic
  • even if they do not engage in discussion voluntarily, initiate the discussion from your side, check in regularly and be sure to identify and solve potential anxiety before it escalates
  • spend one-on-one time with each child and use this time to talk about their feelings and emotions regarding the pandemic
  • make use of the suggested activities and videos to help them learn and understand

TEENAGERS

  • our teenagers will probably be most affected by COVID-19 in terms of lasting impressions and possible emotional and mental distress
  • we need to be vigilant in order to support their emotional wellbeing and
  • make sure they have the right facts and know-how to deal with their anxiety
  • check-in with them regularly and
  • create opportunities for them to share their worries and questions
  • help them to stay in contact with friends, in a controlled and positive way
  • and only allow controlled access to the social media hype around the pandemic

parenting advice

We’ll cover the basics and then learn about the coronavirus causing COVID-19

THE FACTS

  • a pandemic is when a new disease spreads across the world affecting people in lots of countries and
  • a virus is a tiny organism that can cause disease in plants, animals and humans
  • you can not see it with your eyes and they can only multiply inside the living cells of animals, plants or bacteria
  • the coronaviruses commonly circulate in animals and sometimes it infects humans
  • they need optimal surfaces, humidity and temperature to stay alive
    • the last two points are important to help you understand that even though it’s possible, you likely won’t get infected from touching contaminated surfaces and packaging
  • the COVID-19 outbreak is caused by the novel SARS-CoV-2, short for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 infecting humans since December 2019
  • scientists are still studying the behavior and characteristics of this new virus and we don’t know or understand its actions fully yet
  • we do know that it’s very contagious, in others words it spreads easily from person-to-person and we need to take precautionary measures to keep us safe and healthy, we will talk more about these in the sections below
  • COVID-19 is short for the coronavirus outbreak that started in Wuhan, China in a market selling seafood and wild animals
  • it spread from there to many other countries across the world
  • thousands of people are already infected and the numbers grow daily
  • the good news is, thousands of infected people have recovered without any ongoing symptoms or complications
  • although older and already sick people may face breathing problems when infected and need to go to the hospital

PARENT NOTE

  • keep your discussion upbeat and create awareness but don’t cause panic
  • if you are anxious your kids will realize this and also feel anxious so
  • try to be calm and positive
  • it’s a good idea to work through the facts before sharing them with your kids to make sure you understand it before teaching them

ACTIVITIES

  • download the free guide and do the TRACK THE SPREAD activity
  • follow the instructions to do the activity according to the different instructions for younger and older kids

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

virus spread parenting kids with mask

When we understand how the coronavirus spreads, it’s easy to find ways to prevent it and understand what we can do to stop the spread or as the scientists would say – flatten the curve.

THE FACTS

  • we now know that the coronavirus traveled from China to hundreds of other countries
  • spreading from person to person via droplets from when people cough or sneeze
  • also by handshaking or touching infected surfaces before touching your face
  • it’s good to know that according to what we know currently, you can not get the virus from your pet or pass it to them
  • letters and packages handled by an infected person can carry the virus, but transmission in this way is much less likely than with direct contact with a sick person
  • incubation time is the time between getting infected and showing symptoms and can be anything between 1 and 14 days, on average 5 to 7
  • we don’t yet know if the virus will be affected by seasonal changes like other flu viruses, so for now, we believe that you can get it during warm or colder outside temperature

VIRUS FACTS

From what we know at this point, infection from contaminated surfaces is possible but UNLIKELY.

Yes NIH researchers have proven that the coronavirus can stay alive on copper for 4 hours, on cardboard for 1 day and on plastic for 3 days. But they did not say the virus will still be able to easily spread and be transmitted to people from these surfaces after 1 to 3 days. It’s actually very unlikely as the virus needs high humidity, moderate temperature, low wind and a solid surface to survive and remain contagious. So be aware when touching possibly infected surfaces but if you

  • wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds and
  • keep your hands out of your face

chances are not good to get infected in this way. You will have less chance of getting infected at the grocery store when you avoid other people than when you avoid touching surfaces!

CLEANING TIPS

Now is also a good time to do a proper clean throughout your house

  • focus on often touched surfaces like doorknobs, light switches, tables and kitchen surfaces and
  • high traffic areas like bathrooms
  • wipe down all electronic devices

The CDC advises we first clean and then disinfect with surface-appropriate cleaning agents or wipes

  • use a cleaning agent with at least 70% alcohol to kill most germs and viruses
  • or make your own
    • the CDC recommends mixing 4 teaspoons of bleach with one quart of water and then to use it to clean all appropriate surfaces

LEARNING ACTIVITIES

  • practice to wash hands for 20 seconds, with soap and water whilst singing your favorite song
  • download the free guide and do the FOLLOW THE GERMS activity to teach germ spread by making glitter germs
  • and do the VIRUS MONSTER activity to check your kids understanding of COVID-19 safety precautions
  • now is also a good time to discuss why you can’t visit other family members, especially grandparents and
  • suggest fun ways to stay in contact like
    • drawing pictures and sharing them online
    • having online face time with family and friends
    • asking grandparents to read a story over skype

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

parenting tips when kids get infected

Your kids will be worried about themselves, you or their family members getting infected. This was the biggest worry my 9-year old daughter had without me realizing until we started discussing the pandemic. So we need to take time and address this with them in a calm and positive way. And be sure to answer their questions to avoid panic by confirming your love, help and support no matter what happens.

PARENT NOTE

  • this is not the time to discuss death rates and disease complications
  • about 80% of infected people will recover without complication or being hospitalized
  • deal with worst-case scenario details only if and when they arise
  • let them realize the dangers but do not cause panic

THE FACTS

  • after transmission people start showing symptoms after about 5 days, although it can be anything between 1 and 14 days
  • people who are infected feel like they are having the flu
  • suffering from fever and a cough or even runny nose and diarrhea
  • 80% of infected people recover without needing special treatment or hospitalization
  • sometimes people, especially the elderly and those with other chronic diseases, get more sick (about 1 in 6 people)
  • and have breathing difficulties that have to be treated in hospital
  • where doctors and nurses are working very hard to help everyone
  • so far kids don’t get very sick when infected with this novel coronavirus
  • and that’s why we have to do whatever we can to keep our grandparents and older family members safe and healthy
  • experts advise that when you do have symptoms like cough and fever, you need to self-isolate for 7 days and everyone you were in contact with, for 14 days
  • coronavirus will be part of our world forever, but scientists are working hard to develop a vaccine to protect us from future infections
  • and there is currently no proven treatment for the coronavirus infection
  • and we need to do whatever we can do beat this virus together

LEARNING ACTIVITIES

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

CORONAVIRUS AND PREGNANCY

Due to the sensitive nature of this topic and there being very little research done to know exactly how the coronavirus can affect pregnant moms and babies, I highly recommend you click here and read the CDC publication on coronavirus during pregnancy to find the best answers.

SAFE SHOPPING

  • as mentioned earlier, you are more likely to get infected from the people in a store than by touching surfaces or products
  • so keep a safe distance
  • don’t go to the shop if you are sick or coughing
  • don’t panic and stick to the basic rules to keep yourself and your family safe
  • use a disinfectant wipe to clean the shopping trolley handle before you start, immediately dispose of it in the nearest garbage bin
  • DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE
  • keep a safe distance from other people
  • be more attentive at the pay point
    • avoid touching hands
    • and transferring money, rather pay by card
    • keep a safe distance to protect yourself and the brave cashier
  • wash your hands with soap as soon as you get home 
  • unpack your groceries and then wash your hands again
  • throughout the process DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE and give the virus an entry point into your body

what can i do advice for parents

The best thing we can all do is stick to the recommended safety measures and do our part to stay safe and healthy

THE FACTS

  • wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer
  • it doesn’t matter how hot or cold the water is, as it’s the soap getting rid of the virus and not the water
  • stay at home
  • sneeze into a tissue and throw it away
  • don’t touch your face, nose and mouth, to prevent entry into your body
  • stay 2 meters away from others
  • clean surfaces and areas in the house that are touched often like electronic devices, doorknobs, kitchen and table surfaces
  • hand sanitizers and surface cleaners need to contain at least 70% alcohol to effectively get rid of the virus
  • if you were outside, wash hands properly before touching anything or anyone
  • boost immune systems by
    • sleeping enough
    • eating a healthy diet
    • doing exercise

LEARNING ACTIVITIES

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

stay safe parenting parenting advice

Staying sane and positive should be our number one priority. Especially since our emotional wellbeing determines how well we handle this difficult time. And that will reflect our kids’ emotional wellbeing.

THE FACTS

Confinement will be a lot more fun for everyone when we follow these tips

FOR PARENTS

  • stay in contact with family and friends
  • check-in with kids often about their fears and feelings
  • allow everyone me-time
  • have fun together
  • take time out
  • create a structured daily routine
  • start a new hobby
  • prepare healthy meals
  • exercise often
  • learn a new language or skill
  • help your kids with school work

FOR KIDS

  • be obedient
  • be respectful
  • help with chores
  • pay attention to school work
  • read a lot
  • learn new life skills
  • exercise often
  • have fun

LEARNING ACTIVITIES

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

PARENT NOTE

Stay sane by making time for yourself and establishing a daily routine so everyone knows what is expected from them. A good way to stay happy en healthy is to create your own kickass morning routine.

MOST IMPORTANTLY

You need to stay calm and not cause panic in your kids. So make sure you understand COVID-19 before discussing it with your kids and do whatever you can to stay happy, healthy and positive.

How to stop worrying and understand COVID-19 summarized

There you have it. More than 50 important facts about COVID-19. Helping you convey the message to your kids without causing panic. You should now be able to explain to them

  1. what COVID-19 is
  2. how it spreads
  3. what happens if you get infected
  4. what we can do to beat COVID-19 and
  5. how to stay safe and sane during confinement

SO HAVE WE DONE ENOUGH TO CURB YOUR WORRIES?

Just because I know your brain is suffering from information overload at this point, I will allow you a couple of minutes to enjoy your worry-induced adrenalin rush. As long as you promise to enjoy it for a brief moment only. And then, put it to good use kickstarting your action plan towards beating this virus.

It’s time to make that mind shift, stop worrying and re-direct your focus towards understanding COVID-19.

Together we can do this!

Free COVID-19 Resouces

Here are the quick access links to the free resources

stop worrying and get free guide

PLEASE NOTE

All the information included in this post, video and guide is intended as medical information and not medical advice. Consult with your own treating doctor before acting or relying on this or any other free information.

Leave a comment

and let me if you had a discussion about COVID-19 with your kids? What kind of questions did they have? Do you feel comfortable talking about this pandemic?

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