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Child fears in corona time: this is what you can do as a parent | NOW

Since the opening of primary schools in February and the new testing policy, the coronavirus has come closer to children than ever before. The number of children tested every week is on average around 30,000. In the week of March 16, 3,609 children between the ages of zero and nine were taken home with a positive test result. As a parent, how do you ensure that your child does not become anxious or worried about all this?

Keep asking questions, is the advice of Tischa Neve, child psychologist and educationalist. “Tells your child what he is afraid of, do not put things into perspective, trivialize or propose solutions. Listen and let it be. Recognize your child’s feelings: it is all equally exciting now. Try to find out exactly where your child fearful or worried about it and how real that is, children sometimes make things very big in their heads, ”she says.

You can then help your child to put the fears and worries back into perspective, Neve knows. “You can’t guarantee that grandma won’t get sick or that your company won’t go out of business, but you can make it manageable. By telling how you deal with it when you’re concerned, such as having a chat with someone or looking for distraction,” he said. child psychologist.

“Also focus on the facts, that will help you reduce your fears. So look up factual information together, explain that there is a very small chance that you will end up in the hospital, if that is the big fear. Or that it is important that your case will open again soon, but that there are still pennies and no acute emergency. ”

For a child it can also be nice to mention that other children and adults are sometimes also afraid or insecure. Neve: “With that you normalize it and show that these kinds of feelings are part of this difficult time.” Saying that you are sometimes a bit scared yourself is therefore not a problem at all. “But don’t project your fears onto your child or make it unnecessarily big. Pay attention to how you talk about it, for example on the phone or when you meet someone you know on the street. Children pick up everything and fill in the gaps with their own imaginations, that can frighten them ”, Neve explains.

“You don’t have to worry that your child will suffer trauma from a corona test, as long as you explain well what is going to happen.”

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Tischa Neve, child psychologist and educator

‘Try to keep everything as normal as possible’

According to Arlette van Amerongen, psychiatrist and care director at youth mental health institution Youz, the most important thing that parents should know is: if you behave anxiously, it can also make your child anxious.

“It is of course okay to be careful, but if you are very spastic, it may be that your child goes along with this and becomes more anxious. Washing your hands excessively, for example. Try to keep everything as normal as possible, with adjustments where we are now. Obviously, this cannot be avoided. Contact with peers, sports and hobby, structure, rhythm: it all contributes to the psychological well-being of your child.

Even if your child ends up at home because of an infected classmate: get dressed and start the day as always. If your child is snotty herself and should undergo a corona test under the new rules, Neve recommends that you don’t panic about it.

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“It’s no fun, but it’s no different for a child than having to take blood samples, fill a hole at the dentist or undergo a medical examination,” she says. “Again, keep calm yourself, don’t make it a drama. You don’t have to be afraid that your child will suffer trauma from a corona test, as long as you explain well what is going to happen. And that it is annoying for a while, but is also over very quickly. ”

‘Most children are flexible enough’

If you are concerned because your child is anxious during this time, you can consider contacting the doctor, according to Van Amerongen. “But also reassure yourself. Realize that most children are flexible enough to deal with all the consequences of corona.”

“However, there are children who already had anxiety symptoms before the corona crisis, such as children with autism. Their anxiety symptoms can increase. All changes, uncertainties and changes are extra difficult for that group.”

Kim had only just started her new job when corona came along.

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