This Morning's Dr Ranj reveals top tips on how to talk to your children about coronavirus
23 March 2020, 12:00
Dr Ranj has shared his top tricks and tips of how to talk to your little ones about the current pandemic.
As the coronavirus pandemic forces us into a new way of life, it's no surprise children up and down the UK are a bit confused about what is going on.
Many parents have stressed that they don't know how to approach the subject with their children in a sensible way and without scaring them.
Dr Ranj appeared on This Morning on Monday, offering some tips and tricks to parents looking to open the conversation with their children.
Here were his top tips:
They will mirror your reaction
Dr Ranj told parents to remember that their reactions to the pandemic will be mirrored by their children.
He warned: "Children will mirror your reaction, if you're anxious and nervous and you're freaking out, they will pick up on that and feed off that."
He suggests that if you're talking to under fives about the virus, keep it simple and don't be alarming.
Know your facts
Dr Ranj also added that when you sit down to talk to your little ones about it, make sure you know your facts.
He suggests avoiding Facebook groups and social media rumours, and instead use the NHS website for the facts.
Be honest, but not alarming
"Be honest with your kids, try not to fudge the facts if you can, but don't be alarming", Dr Ranj advised.
He continued: "Make yourself available, your kids need you to be the voice of reason and safety, show them that if they've ever got a question or they feel uncertain, or unsafe, you are always there."
Ask them what they already know
Dr Ranj said that if you are going to sit down with your children to talk to them about the coronavirus, ask them about what they already know first.
"If you're going to have a chat with them directly, then it might be a good idea to find out what they already know, with the little ones, if they haven't heard of coronavirus you may not need to bring it up, actually, because that might confuse them a bit more", he said.
He went on: "But access what their questions actually are before you dive into it. Things they'll all want to know about is things like school, preschool, friends, relatives, and will want to chat about that.
"With under fives, you might find that less is actually more, so don't over complicate things. If they haven't heard of the coronavirus think about whether you do need to bring it up, your main aim around them is going to be safety and trust."
Turn washing hands into a game
Dr Ranj said if you're trying to explain the importance of washing your hands, the best way to show children is through a game.
On This Morning, he demonstrated how you can use glitter on a plate to show how germs can spread.
Placing your hand in a plate of glitter shows your children how the coronavirus can be picked up on the skin, you can then explain to your children that by using that same hand to touch surfaces the glitter – or the virus – transfers to different surfaces.
You can then use soap and hot water to wash the glitter away to show them how important it is to wash their hands before sneezing, coughing, and touching their faces.
If you're looking for more information, Manuela Molina Cruz has put together a PDF book that parents can access for their children to help them learn about the virus.