If there is one thing that kids cannot handle, its disappointment.
Telling your young child that they cannot have a birthday party with his family and friends is shattering for any kid. They probably started planning their next birthday party a day after their previous party. This is how excited parties make them.
With the current lockdown in place, children cannot leave the house, and their grandparents or friends cannot come to theirs either.
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So for upcoming birthdays, a big party cannot happen.
When a kid is smart enough to know that their birthday is coming up, then they are smart enough to have a conversation regarding why it cant happen. This would require parents to have conversations regarding the virus itself.
Save the Children, a global organisation that works to protect children advises parents to ask their kids what they already know about the coronavirus. This will create building blocks to talk about the importance of social distancing.
According to Save the Children, it is important to “ask your child what they know, answer their questions and address any misinformation”.
Dr. Melissa Brown, says it is important for parents to empathize with their children. Their disappointment or sadness “makes sense as kids don’t fully understand the new normal we are now living in”.
Also read: How to talk to your kids about the Coronavirus without freaking them out
When explaining the reason for canceling the party, explain social distancing, Dr. Brown says. Tell kids that at this time, it is important for everyone to “keep their germs to themselves”.
Telling kids that we are trying to flatten the curve, and have to quarantine is not going to be helpful when you tell them you are calling off a day they have been waiting for in anticipation. So it is advisable to use simple language.
This does not mean your child won’t be disappointed. To help with the disappointment, help your kids interact virtually with their friends. According to Dr. Brown, this will help them keep connected with their friends and the outside world.
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A 2/3 man party is still a party. Their birthday can still be celebrated, just without a lot of people.
Have a virtual party if necessary. The relatives can all call in and everyone can sing for the little one and make them feel extra special on their special day.
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