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5 Ways to Help Kids Understand Social Distancing

If social distancing is difficult for adults, imagine what it’s like for kids? Children are trying to make sense of a new reality where their loved ones are out of reach, summer camps are closed, and every public place they go requires them to wear a mask. As daunting and confusing as these health precautions sound, parents can help their kids shake some of their uncertainty and understand why social distancing is important for their safety. 

When having these conversations about coronavirus with your children, it’s important to provide honest, accurate, and age-appropriate answers. “You should discuss the truth and nothing but the truth, but not the whole truth,” pediatrician Douglas L. Krohn told SheKnows. So, if your child asks you why they need to stay six feet apart from their friends in public, you can explain to them how their actions will stop the spread of this “new virus,” as the CDC says to call the coronavirus when speaking to kids. 

According to the CDC, COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet) for a prolonged period, explaining, “Spread happens when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, and droplets from their mouth or nose are launched into the air and land in the mouths or noses of people nearby.”  

But how will your kids actually follow these rules, you ask? Well, for starters, you can turn mask-wearing and avoiding germs into a game. For example, tell your kids that whoever can maintain a distance in public will get a fun surprise — say, a sticker — at the end of the day. You can even create a mask with your child adorned with their favorite color, print, or character. They’ll be way more willing to wear a mask that involves their participation. 

Additionally, psychologists recommend explaining to your kids that wearing a mask and social distancing will protect others. Young kids will take great pride knowing they’re helping to save the world — just like their favorite superheroes!

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