As schools reopen after H1N1 flu concerns, you need to make appropriate decisions and provide your kids with reassurance.
The National Parent Teacher Association (PTA), National Association of School Nurses and National Association of School Psychologists have developed 10 tips for talking to your children:
- Remain calm and reassuring. Your children will react to and follow your verbal and nonverbal reactions.
- Your children may need extra attention and want to talk about their concerns and questions. Make time for them.
- Know how flu spreads and its symptoms: fever, sore throat, and cough, among others.
- Review basic hygiene practices. Encourage children to practice proper hygiene each day by washing their hands, covering their mouths with a tissue when they sneeze or cough, and not sharing food or drinks.
- Be honest and accurate. In the absence of factual information, children often imagine situations to be far worse than reality. Be frank in an age-appropriate manner.
- Discuss new school rules or practices. Many schools will be enforcing prevention habits.
- Avoid excessive blaming. It’s important to avoid stereotyping any one group of people as responsible for the virus.
- Limit television viewing and Internet access. Constantly watching news updates can increase anxiety.
- Maintain a normal routine. Keeping to a regular schedule can be reassuring and promotes physical health.
- Let your school know if your child is sick, and keep him/her home. Talk to your school nurse, psychologist or counselor if your child shows anxiety or stress related to the flu. Follow instructions your school issues.
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