Talking to Children about COVID19

Olympia Therapy would like to provide our community with an update to our current office functioning and ways to support you and your family during this stressful time.

As COVID19 is beginning to impact our community directly, we would like to provide the community with ways to get up-to-date accurate information, ways to talk with your children about pandemics, and to remind you to take care of yourself!


Prevention:

In order to help us prevent the spread of illness, please remember to NOT come into the office if YOU OR A FAMILY MEMBER have experienced any of the following within the last 72 hours. . .

Fever

Coughing

Difficulty Breathing

Runny nose

Gastrointestinal Issues


Because our clinic works with medically fragile individuals it is imperative that if you or members of your family are experiencing any of the above symptoms- stay home.

In the office we are sanitizing and cleaning daily. We deep clean all public spaces and offices nightly. We encourage everyone to wash their hands when they enter the building or before their appointments.


In the event of school/office closures, we will be taking precautions as well. We are concerned with your mental health as well as your physical health, and want to ensure your mental health service is still available by providing Telehealth appointments if you/family are symptomatic.


Adult and adolescent clients are encouraged to take advantage of telehealth, meaning phone or online meetings. It is up to your provider's discretion regarding your young child’s involvement in Telehealth appointments. We advise you to keep your child home if anyone in your family is symptomatic. We can provide parent appointments through telehealth. We reserve the right to send you home if your child/family arrives for a session and demonstrates symptoms (cough, runny nose).


It is important to note, that while you may not fear getting the coronavirus and feel that everything is being blown out of proportion, the use of social distancing and quarantine are used to protect the medically fragile and elderly population who are at greatest risk. This action is usually done through vaccination, because we don’t have one, we use alternatives to support a healthy environment for everyone. These actions also help our medical community to not get overwhelmed and use their resources most efficiently. Our medical community was already overwhelmed before this pandemic. This overtaking of our healthcare system could lead to more dangerous and lethal outcomes that aren’t even virus related.


Doing our part to limit the spread is in all of our best interest.


Thurston County has reported active COVID19 cases and the World Health Organization (WHO)  has officially declared COVID19 as a pandemic. Thurston County and nearby school districts may close soon.


Below is information to support you and your family during this stressful time.


Know your facts:

What we do know about COVID19:

  • Transmitted by contact of bodily fluids (eg. hands and mouth) from an infected person

  • Washing your hands the correct way is an effective prevention method

  • Cover coughs and sneezes

  • Keep all surfaces in commonly used areas disinfected

  • Children and young people are carriers, and are not likely to die from this virus

  • Stay away from crowded spaces to decrease chance of infection

  • It is unhelpful to perpetuate stereotypes about this virus (Asian people & food are safe)


What you can do to keep your home healthy:

  • Get accurate and up-to-date information from the CDC, Department of Health, World Health Organization.

  • Be Mindful that stress (due to changes in routine &  anxiety in the community) can impact your body. Keep to household routines and bedtimes, to ensure bodies are getting enough healthy food and sleep to counteract the stress.

  • Sanitize toys frequently. Before bed, spray toys and child furniture with disinfectant or wash with good old soap and water!

  • Regularly disinfect light switches and door knobs!

  • Limit exposure to news/media. Be mindful of little ears listening in--they hear everything and can struggle to understand what they are hearing.

  • Children hear adults whispering and trying to be secretive, this adds to their stress!

  • Explain words like quarantine, pandemic, COVID19, Coronavirus, and isolation.

  • When your children are playing inside: it is important to monitor screen time as too much indoor/screen time will cause your children to be irritable and angry.

  • Play board games! Try a new puzzle! Make art! Build with Legos! Engage the family in activities together. This will keep your brains and bodies flowing with joy juice.

  • Make sure you and your children are washing hands before and after touching screens. Frequently wipe down that screen!

  • Most plastic Ipad cases are dishwasher safe!

How to talk to your kids about COVID19:

  • Encourage kids to get information from trusted adults.

  • Focus on prevention and what your kids can do.

  • Teach your children how to wash their hands properly by singing ABC’s or Happy Birthday to ensure they are washing for a full 20 seconds.

  • Talk about keeping germs to self

  • Cover sneezes and coughs appropriately

  • Use tissue and wash hands often

  • Explain that most illnesses have vaccines to protect vulnerable populations (babies, elderly, medically fragile) and we don’t have a vaccine for this virus because it is new. Explain that quarantine means-that healthy people are doing what is needed to protect those more vulnerable.

  • There is a lot of anxiety around this. Validate how your child is feeling, and answer any of their questions, even if it is repetitive. Acknowledging your child's feelings helps them feel heard, connected, and safe.

  • Encourage your children to play outside (and wash their hands when they come inside).

Our community thrives when we encourage and support one another. Take a moment to make an action plan, talk to family members, and strive to be flexible as new information comes out. If you are talking openly about your worries and stress, remember this stress is absorbed by your children. When children are fearful and lack understanding they act out, are moody, clingy, and demand more attention. Have patience for them, have patience for your significant other, and have patience with yourself.


Cary Hamilton

LMHC, RPT-S, CMHS, NCC, CDWF

1534 Bishop RD SW

Tumwater, WA 98512

 

Call Us:                Fax Us:

360-357-2370       360-357-2374

 324 S Main St Suite B, Montesano, WA 98563

 

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