Coronavirus, confinement … It’s not easy to put words accessible to children about what we are going through. A psychologist enlightens us.
We are worried. They feel it and they are too. They are our children. Whatever their age, the health crisis we are going through has real impacts on their daily lives. The proof? One of the first precautionary measures was to close the schools…
Valérie Gohel is a psychologist in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin. It gives us clues to guide parents who do not really know how to make all the information around the coronavirus accessible to children.
This is the first point on which the psychologist insists: not to leave the child left to his or hers interpretations.
“Explaining is a necessity for children. We have to explain to them that fighting a virus is something we can do, that treatments will come one day, and that we all have the opportunity to help this virus reach fewer and fewer people. “
There are tools for parents to explain to children what is going on. For example, a comic book by psychomotor therapist Marguerite de Livron , in two small pages.
“This comic strip is very well explained, the author decided to give the virus a name,” Coco le virus “, making learning fun”, explains Valérie Gohel, who indicates that it is possible “to find online lots of useful information and advice ”.
To protect yourself
During confinement, exits are limited to the strictest minimum.
“If this is difficult to understand at the start, after 15 days, the effects will be visible and it will be necessary to tell the children, who will better accept confinement”
Containment does not prevent family activities, it must even encourage it. “You have to talk, cuddle, but also play together, read, draw, tinker, do adapted sports activities. It is also necessary to preserve a framework of life punctuated by stable schedules, pay attention to food ”.
Everyone should also not abuse screens, the easy solution:
“We can watch adapted programs, but we must not loop the information, sources of anxiety for children”
On the internet, blogs, Facebook and Instagram pages are multiplying to support families in confinement, like the Mamans & Confinement group , which offers, for example, recipes to make with family:
It is sometimes necessary for one of the parents to leave home to go shopping or go to the pharmacy. In this case, the child can ask questions. “We must tell them that it is not dangerous if the parent respects the barrier gestures,” insists the psychologist.
The child can ask the same questions before going out into the garden.
“Children should be given information consistent with their age”
Parents can feel overwhelmed, exhausted, especially for those who have to take care of several children, sometimes alone. “Some parents need to be encouraged, they must not hesitate to call one of the listening platforms available to them for free,” says Ms Gohel. Psychologists can also always answer questions on a simple call ”.
In Normandy for parents seeking help, there is, for example, a toll-free number set up by Terra Psy: 0 805 383 922.