Yesterday, Makenzie cried in the backseat of our car as we were “visiting” some friends. We had just finished doing some “drive-bys” to drop off some Easter treats on our friends’ porches. On our last stop, my friend JaQualia came out to talk to us from her driveway, as me and the kids sat in the car with the windows down. Since Coronavirus hit Florida, Makenzie has been constantly asking questions about why we aren’t going anywhere and why we can’t see our friends. Yesterday, it really hit her when JaQualias’ kids came outside and Makenzie was contained in her car seat, only waving at them from a distance. She eventually rolled up her window and began to cry. She was so sad that she couldn’t “live next to her friends so they could play together”.
On the drive home Makenzie asked 101 questions. I again attempted to explain the sickness to her and why we have to be physically distant from everybody to protect ourselves and others. She asked how long it would take for the sickness to be over. She suggested that we call everybody and ask them if they are sick, then when they say no, we go play with them. She suggested that we all move to a different planet where there is no sickness. She saw a park on the way home and suggested that we could still go play and she would run from any kid that tried to get near her. I did my best to answer all of her questions, but even for a super smart 4-year-old, there are just some things that she won’t be able to fully conceptualize.
My kids have literally been home since the middle of March, only leaving to go get lunch from the nearby school. They haven’t gone to any store, park, restaurant, or any place of business. They have only been in the house or out in the neighborhood for bike rides. If you know me, you know this is a stark difference from our usual life. We used to always be out and about, exploring. The fact that we can no longer do that is definitely affecting my family.
One thing I am realizing, is that despite how resilient kids may be, they are being affected by all these changes, just as much as adults. My younger son, Brayden, who will be 3 next month, is probably not as aware of what is going on, but Makenzie is fully aware that things are different. She is processing this new normal, just as much as I am. I realized that I have to be honest with her about what is going on and it is my responsibility to answer every single one of her questions to the best of my ability – including answering why she can’t just watch TV all day or why I don’t know the date this will all be over. I also learned that we will not be doing any more drive-bys because, sadly, it is just too much for Makenzie to handle.
After we got home yesterday, I got on YouTube to search for kid-friendly videos explaining
both Coronavirus and social distancing. Several of the videos displayed the virus as a villain with a knife in hand, on a mission to take us out. Of course, I decided against that one. I wanted a video that explained things in a way that a toddler could comprehend, yet didn’t incite fear. Below are the links for three videos that I highly suggest for toddlers (or even older kids) wondering what is going on in the world. One video is specifically explaining the virus. The other video explains how we can protect ourselves, including social distancing. The third video features a puppet explaining the virus and staying safe. I am also including a link to resources for parents to use during this time, such as a Staycation Kit or virtual field trips. There is also a link for some free coloring sheets to thank Essential Workers. Maybe consider mailing a picture to an essential worker you know! Share this post with all your parent-friends!
Check out these links:
Video to explain Coronavirus to kids: CLICK HERE
Video explaining how to protect ourselves (social distancing): CLICK HERE
Puppet Video Explaining Coronavirus and tips to stay safe: CLICK HERE
Coloring sheets; Thank you Essential workers: CLICK HERE
Awesome Parent Resources for staying home: CLICK HERE
Stay safe, healthy and in good spirits, my friends!