Coronavirus: How I fit talk to my pikin about Covid-19?

Girl sneezes into her arm

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Big news events, like di coronavirus outbreak, fit make children body dey shake.

Every day reports dey about coronavirus outbreak as e dey spread fast around di world.

Many pipo don dey worry about di dangers, including children wey naturally dey look up to dia parents for advice and support.

So how you suppose tok to children if dem say dem dey fear about di outbreak.


Dr Punam Krishan wey be family doctor wey get six-year-old pikin tell BBC Radio Scotland say: "Na just to reduce worry and tell dem say di virus just dey like when you get cold or you get diarrhoea and vomiting."

She believe say make parents "get really open, honest discussion - wey I don dey do with my son and I don dey encourage parents wey dey come to see me to do di same."

Dr Richard Woolfson, wey be child psychologist, believe say di right way to speak with children about big issues like coronavirus depends on how old di pikin be.

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To reassure children dey important

"Children wey dey younger, from seven, six downwards, dey likely to dey worried by everything dem hear around dem becos dia parents dey tok about am wia dem dey."

Im add say: "Dis fit dey scary for pikin dem."

For young children im say: "First of all make dia mind rest. You no know wetin go happen, but tell dem 'dem go dey alright, everybody go dey alright. Some pipo go catch am but we go dey ok."

Practical steps

While Dr Woolfson admit say you no fit dey certain say your pikin no go dey affected, e dey better to get hope than to begin worry dia mind unnecessarily.

Also, im say: "No be about to make di children mind rest, na to empower dem."

By dis im mean say you suppose give dem practical steps dem fit take wey go not only reduce dia chances of infection, but go also make dem feel like dem get some control ova di situation.

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To teach children proper hygiene fit give dem practical and psychological benefits

Im say make we tell young children "tins wey dem fit do to keep demsef and ourself healthy - and dis na wetin you fit do. You fit wash your hands regularly and so on".

Dr Krishan agree, she say she recommend "make parents tok about infection control to prevent dem from catching di virus and tok about 'how to wash hands with kids."

Dr Woolfson say di tok go "give di pikin dem something dem fit actually do, rather than to say we go cross our fingers."

Dis combination of to make di pikin mind rest and to give dem some kind of strategy mean dem fit do something to protect demsef and dia family, na wetin di doctors recommend as di best strategy.


But to remind children about good hygiene no be only about to make dia mind rest.

Children naturally sabi ask plenti questions and like to touch tins and share food and drink.

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Young children like to share food, which means dem fit help spread diseases quickly

Dr Krishan add say e "good to teach children dis important skill set early."

To teach better hygiene skills to your kids fit help protect di entire community.

Fake news

One of di sources of worry and fear according to Dr Woolfson, fit be from pikin parent.

"I certainly tink di younger age group dey heavily influenced by dia parents and if dem seem say dia parents dey concerned, dey worry and overhear conversations wey dia parents dey get with dia friends, younger children dey likely to act on wetin dem don hear or see from dia parents".

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Children fit pick up rumours from dia friends and social media

Parents fit control how dem dey act around dia children but wetin happen for dia school dey out of dia hands.


E dey different for adolescents wey no dey rely on dia parents for news about di world around dem and get more information from dia friends.

"Dem get dia own information network," na so Dr Woolfson tok, "and dem rely on dia friends more. But one of di problems with that na say adolescents dey much more realistic. E dey hard to tell 14-year-old 'no everything go dey alright' becos dem go say 'you sure?'.

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Adolescents are far less reliant on their parents for information than younger children

"So di older child dey much likelier to provide tough argument. Dem dey much less likely to just accept wetin you tok."

However, Dr Woolfson say, one tin dey wey apply to children no matter how old dem be.

"Irrespective of di age group na about creating atmosphere wia di pikin fit tok wetin dem want."