This Current Crisis and Conversations I’m Having With My Child

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With conversations surrounding coronavirus growing on social media, I’ve seen several posts and suggestions about what to do with kids if schools close and you find yourself at home with limited social interaction.

As of now, I don’t know what’s going to happen at my daughter’s school. This is spring break week, and I would not at all be shocked if next Monday, we transition to virtual school days.

If her school moves to the virtual option, we will have assignments sent to us. I will need to administer and oversee her coursework. I don’t know how it will work, exactly. But we had a test run last year for situations such as this.

Other than that, I haven’t given a lot of thought to structured activities to keep her occupied during our time at home due to COVID-19.

For the most part, we’re not a structured and scheduled type of family. We’re more of an off-the-cuff and fly-by-the-seat-of-our pants family. I’m also a big fan of “making your own fun.”

But while I may not be organizing science experiments and math races, I can tell you what I will be doing:

Having very open and real conversations.

In fact, they’ve already started.

Our big three conversations so far?

Preparation vs. Panic. Social Distancing with Consideration for Others, and Ethics.

Preparing for Coronavirus vs. Panicking

As reports of new cases increased, I did get anxious. And as the Great Toilet Paper Shortage of 2020 ramped up, there was a part of me that, for a moment, wanted to go and grab as many packs as possible.

Along with soap, hand sanitizer, rubbing alcohol, wipes, and let’s be honest, wine.

Herd mentality.

I was able to get a grip, luckily, and remind myself that this behavior was not helpful to anyone. It wasn’t helpful to other people who had not had a chance to make it out for food and supplies, and it wasn’t helpful to participate in that panicked typed of behavior.

So while I did go grab some groceries and essentials, I did not lose my mind and grab everything from the shelves that I could fit into the cart.

But when I came home the provisions, Little B wanted to know if everything was okay. She was curious and also, a bit concerned.

While choosing my words carefully, I explained that there was a good chance we would be spending an extended period of time at home and would definitely be limiting our random Target and grocery store trips. And Lord knows, we make a lot of them.

But I also emphasized that getting organized and buying essentials wasn’t panicking. This was simple planning for the next several days.

Planning for self-isolation or social distancing means buying a reasonable amount of food and essentials. Panicking would be taking much more than necessary without regard for others who also need to plan responsibly.

While this conversation probably looks different among households due to the fact that people have different needs, it’s a worthy conversation to address staying calm and acting rationally while still taking measures to protect and provide for your family and loved ones.

Social Distancing and Considerations for Others

Call us crazy, we’ve already begun to practice social distancing. Not only have we canceled our spring break plans, but also a long-awaited trip to the mall for ear piercings.

Let me tell you how dramatic that reaction was.

We made the decision to postpone the mall trip after the State of Emergency announcement came on Friday afternoon and additionally, reports that health officials were encouraging people to avoid large gatherings, keep a distance from others, and stay home more.

It’s this simple: if people interact less, they are less likely to spread the virus.

This news devastated her. (Eleven-year-old problems.)

And then she got really mad. So I explained to her that basically, this wasn’t primarily about us not getting sick.

(I mean, don’t get me wrong, I don’t take this lightly and I want to avoid any of us contracting coronavirus.)

But more than that, this decision to stay home was about the fact that we could be exposed, pick up the virus, and then unknowingly spread it to someone with a compromised immune system.

I see many people are saying things like, “It’s just a cold or the flu.” Or, “I’ll be fine if I get it.”

But I think there is a component that a lot of people aren’t grasping right now.

As I explained to her, if we get sick, yes, we would likely be fine.

But others? Maybe not.

And staying away from those who we know are at-risk individuals isn’t enough. We have no way of knowing who is living with a compromised immune system and who isn’t. The elderly are not the only people with compromised immune systems.

Many people who look like a typical “healthy” person are actually immuno-compromised. This means a virus like Covid-19 could hospitalize them and could very well be life-threatening.

Therefore, staying home as much as possible is a smart and considerate practice to adopt. Now. Not later. This is what they mean when they talk about taking steps to flatten the curve.

Plus, given the numbers of people who could be asymptomatic and carrying it without knowing it, why take the risk?

The message? Things aren’t always about You. Yes, it’s inconvenient as hell. And frustrating. But think about how your actions could be impacting others.

Ethics During Times of Coronavirus

Last night, Little B came to me and said one of her friend’s mom had some hand sanitizer she was going to sell online for $60.

I don’t know if this is true or not. But it was a good opening for another enlightening conversation:

Why it is not okay to price gouge and take advantage of a pandemic in order to make a buck. (Or in the case of this guy, with nearly 18,000 bottles of hand sanitizer, a lot of bucks.)

Listen, I’m all for free enterprise. I am. And I applaud you if you are business savvy and turn a nice profit in your endeavors.

But as we explained to Little B: there is a difference between seeing an opportunity in the market and jumping on it, and taking advantage of a crisis situation.

Not only is this price-gouging, but it’s keeping necessary supplies from those who really need it.

Not cool.

What Else Should We Be Talking About in Light of Coronavirus?

I imagine we’ll be having lots more real conversations in the coming weeks. Who knows how this is going to play out or what we are facing.

Hopefully, the measures we are taking now will help slow the spread of coronavirus and we can return to a state of some sort of normalcy soon.

In the meantime, we will do the school work if we go to virtual days. (And I assume we will.)

We will explore activities to alleviate what I’m sure will be a lot of frustration and boredom. Fine. I’m sure Pinterest will be exploding with ideas.

But most of all, we will be having more conversations about how to react, respond and navigate some of these crazy times.

Conversations with kids about this pandemic

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