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how to talk to kids about coronavirus

It's hard to escape talk of coronavirus right now. It's in the news, on TV, and in your face when your local store sells out of things like disinfecting wipes or hand sanitizer. With that level of saturation, even kids who are too young to read the headlines are likely hearing about it, and may even be feeling as nervous and anxious as many adults are.

Talking to your kids about coronavirus is important, whether you're soothing their worries or simply reminding them about the importance of good hand washing.

The potential for disruption to daily life is high, but the CDC still says the risk is low and the recommendations for keeping kids safe from coronavirus are just the same as they are during the typical cold and flu season.

Here are some answers to the questions your kids may have.

No, we don't need masks

The U.S. Surgeon General says that masks aren't necessary, but washing your hands with soap and water, staying home from work or school when you're sick, and getting your flu shot are the best protections (the thought being that the fewer flu cases there are, the more doctor and hospitals will be available to support coronavirus patients).

If your kids have questions about the coronavirus, Dr. Robin Goodman told ABC News that it's i to answer them honestly and with age-appropriate information—though kids don't necessarily need to know every single bullet point. "Be careful about giving too much detail," she warns. There's a happy medium between going over the current death toll and pretending like nothing is amiss. "Be open and available for questions, allow expression of feelings and how to cope," she says.

Yes, we can make an emergency plan

It's almost important to let kids know that while they should take the virus seriously and follow the safety guidelines, it doesn't need to be all-consuming. "It is key to help children continue their lives as normally as possible, but at the same time be aware of what is happening," Dr. Daniela Raccanello told the New York Times. If older kids are worried about the worst-case scenarios—like what happens if someone in your family catches coronavirus—involve them in your emergency planning. That could include stocking up on groceries or over the counter medications to get you through a period of self-quarantine or talking to their teachers about what happens if their school closes. Knowing that there's a plan in place will likely be a huge comfort to an anxious child.

No, viruses don't target specific people

Another unfortunate layer to the coronavirus pandemic is the "stigma and discrimination [which] can occur when people associate an infectious disease, such as COVID-19, with a population or nationality," as the CDC notes, adding that this happens "even though not everyone in that population or from that region is specifically at risk for the disease (for example, Chinese-Americans and other Asian-Americans living in the United States)."

If children are exposed to misinformation it is important for us to correct it. We can teach our kids that "viruses cannot target people from specific populations, ethnicities, or racial backgrounds," and that stigma and discrimination are extremely hurtful.

No, children are not more susceptible

Perhaps the most important thing for moms and dads to do right now is to keep calm themselves. It should be reassuring for both kids and their parents to know that young people seem to be weathering the virus better than older ones. Robert Lahita, a New Jersey doctor who has been studying coronavirus, told USA Today that "with very young people, there is something that is preventing them from getting very sick."

Coronavirus's spread may be inevitable—it's reached over 75 countries already, according to CNN—but no one should be paralyzed by fear, least of all children. Keeping an open line of communication (and keeping a good supply of hand soap on hand) is the best line of defense.

If you need help explaining COVID-19 to your kids, this comic is a great resource

We love this comic from NPR's Malaka Gharib, which offers age-appropriate explanations about COVID-19 to school-age kids in a very digestible form.

Gharib's comic takes kids on an educational journey and ends with the best advice: "Don't forget! There are a LOT of helpers out there who are working to protect you. It is NOT your job to worry. But seriously, though....Please wash your hands!!!"

That's a message mamas and kids should take to heart.

Mom life demands efficiency. Because while the amount of hours in the day are the same as before kids, now a sizable chunk of that time is spent caring for and loving on those little people. Compromises happen—and let's just be honest, the old beauty routine is one of the first things to get cut.

But, wait! You don't have to sacrifice putting on mascara or, worse, skipping the SPF. Instead, why not flip it, reverse it, and look at the bright side? Here's your opportunity to streamline your morning makeup routine. With some savvy skin care and beauty hacks, you can get your radiant glow on in record time.

Here are our tried-and-true hacks passed down from Motherly mamas:

1. Embrace multipurpose items

If the most pressing issue is limited time, consolidate multiple steps of your beauty routine with a multipurpose item. For example, instead of starting with a SPF moisturizer, followed by spot concealer and a blendable foundation, you can take care of all of that in one go with one of our favorites: Earth Mama's 3-in-one Lady Face™ Tinted Mineral Sunscreen. The beauty stick also allows you to easily fold SPF 40 into your routine, because Lady Face doubles as super-safe, clean sun protection. Even better? The sunscreen blocks blue light from those ever-present digital screens with a ray-scattering, non-nano formula.

2. Revive dried mascara

Especially after a sleepless night (#motherhood), mascara can make a major difference in how well rested you appear to be. If you realize your tube of mascara is dried out, don't write it off as a lost cause. Simply soak the sealed tube in warm water to loosen up the mascara — or add a drop of a multi-purpose saline solution into the tube. That should do the trick until you have time to buy a replacement. (But let's face it: You're a mom. It's okay if you're tired.)

3. Keep coconut oil handy

Coconut oil isn't just for the kitchen. From a DIY hair mask to an in-a-pinch lip balm or naturally removing makeup at the end of the day, coconut oil's cosmetic hack-list is long. For summer, we especially like adding a thin swipe of organic extra virgin coconut oil to the cheekbones at the end of the makeup routine for a bit of an extra glow.

4. Multitask while deep conditioning

If your hair needs a bit of TLC, consider applying a natural, paraben-free deep conditioner before doing chores around the house or even a short workout. By working up a bit of a sweat, the conditioner will set even better before you rinse off in the shower.

5. Start your hair care routine the night before

As you work to find your new normal morning routine, it can help to simply reschedule a task or two—like hair. If you shower the night before, get a jumpstart on your look by blowdrying, straightening or even braiding it for loose waves in the morning.

6. Even out your skin tone

Between multiple wake-ups during the night and wavering hormones, complexion issues can become a thing for most mamas. Thankfully, the hack for managing that is as simple as finding a great foundation that goes on smoothly and doesn't cake or crack through a morning of momming. Scope out the ingredient list for naturally nourishing components like coconut oil, shea butter or beeswax — and skip the stress (and the return process if the shade doesn't match) by going for something that easily blends with most skin tones.

7. Find brands your feel great about

As a mom, you might find yourself considering bigger life questions: Are my cosmetics safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding? Are they helping the world my children will grow up in? Can I trust the ingredients and mission? Pro tip: read the ingredients on all your personal care products, memorize the ones you want to avoid, and look for third-party certification to ensure the product is actually what it says it is. When you find a brand that walks the talk, you're going to want to be loyal.

8. When in doubt, go for a bold lip

With happy hours swapped for play dates, your daily routine may look a bit different than it used to. But who says you have to leave your personal style behind? If you've always been a fan of makeup and going a bit glam, keep going for it, mama! The extra 60 seconds it takes to apply lipstick or whatever else gives you a bit of pep in your step is well worth it.


This article was sponsored by Earth Mama Organics. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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