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If parents have to self-quarantine for COVID-19, who will care for their children?

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Due to their heightened risk if they become infected, it is imperative that children learn from their parents why they and the whole family need to stay at home during the 14-day self-quarantine period.
  • Additionally, children must be kept apart from elderly relatives, especially those aged 70 and above, who are particularly at risk of developing severe symptoms if they become infected. Consulting with a doctor or childhood psychologist via Samitivej Virtual Hospital can help give families the peace of mind they need to successfully overcome these troubling times.

 

During these difficult times, as we are all facing the COVID-19 pandemic, there may be cases where both parents have, or are at-risk of, infection and must enter self-quarantine. Here are some suggestions on how to explain and discuss the matter with your children, helping them to cope with the situation while you are away.

Before going into your 14-day quarantine, clearly explain the reasons to your children in a way that they can understand, using explanations and wording appropriate to the child’s age.

  • In the case of younger preschool or kindergarten-aged children, parents should explain simply and briefly that they may be infected with a cold and need to stay away from their children for 14 days. They want everyone else in the house to be safe and don’t want anyone to catch the cold from daddy or mommy.
  • In the case of older, school-aged children or teenagers, parents can explain more about the specific reasons for the self-quarantine. They should say that the actions they are taking are a way of showing responsibility for themselves, their family, and society, and want to set an example through good deeds and positive actions.

Make sure to emphasize to children that daddy and mommy are not seriously ill, and that by taking these quarantine steps they and everyone else is less likely to catch any sickness from you. Make sure they understand that after the 14 days have passed, the family can go back to living together as before, and that, in the meantime, there will be people there who they know, like their grandparents, uncles and aunts, or other people you trust to look after them. Tell them that whenever you miss each other you can keep in touch through social media and by video-call.

Your attitude and demeanor is key. Try not to show anxiety or wear a sad face. Tell yourself and your children with confidence that self-quarantine is the best, most appropriate action to take right now. There are times when we must have patience and endure certain difficulties or give up things we want or desire. You will want to be close to, and care for, your children, and your children will desire to be with you. However, for everyone’s best in the long-term, everyone in the family must be patient and stay strong so that you can get through this difficult time together. In general, children will easily adjust to living for 14 days without their parents without developing any psychological or emotional problems. Once you return from this short-term separation you will be together and happy just as you were before.

In certain rare cases, if your child has issues with anxiety or depression, or starts to display symptoms such as separating from others, crying often, a lack of appetite, difficulty sleeping, irritability, frequent whining, or throwing fits to the point that the adults caring for them are unable to handle the situation, consulting a developmental pediatrician or child psychiatrist may be helpful. These professionals can help to identify any factors that may contribute to the child’s extreme reactions to separation from their parents, and they can help advise relatives or guardians on steps to take and ways to handle the child’s outbursts in a rational, appropriate manner. Consulting a doctor or childhood psychologist through our online Virtual Hospital can give your family the peace of mind to successfully navigate these troubling times.


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