Panic is rapidly setting in as the coronavirus continues to spread across the United States and around the world.
So what should you do in times like this, when it feels like mass hysteria and panic are about to ensue? Here at Let Grow, we believe childhood independence is a critical part of growing up. For parents, this often means taking some deep breaths, letting your kids figure things out on their own, and just remaining calm as possible. And right now in the midst of alarm and confusion, we think similar advice is applicable to everyone.
There’s no doubt the coronavirus is going to impact our lives, both in the short and long term. It’s already been upgraded from epidemic to pandemic. Plus, they’re already predicting that the economic impact will be huge. Yet, these stories don’t inspire us to stay calm and remain rational. So in true Let Grow fashion, we are here to do what those stories won’t by reminding you to focus on what you can do.
1. Avoid misinformation.
Getting online to figure out what is and isn’t true can quickly lead you down a rabbit hole littered with untruths. With news like the coronavirus, which is changing daily and even hourly, there are all sorts of memes, graphics, and photos popping up—many of which have no sources or vetted facts. Before you hit the share button or take something for face value, think about whether it’s accurate. Even just looking for the source cited or trying to figure out where it came from is a good start. You might also want to check out this article on teaching media literacy online. It has great tips.
2. Embrace logic and common sense.
It’s not easy to consistently remain somewhere between the extremes of “OMG what is happening?!” and “Everyone needs to just calm down and stop overreacting.” Even the most logical, practical people have moments of doubt, worry, and panic. If this sounds familiar, then figure out what works for you in those fearful moments. Does it help you to go for a walk, stay busy, cook, or work out? Whatever you need to do to avoid panic, do it.
3. Keep doing the things that work.
At some point, you’ll realize that you can only control certain things, and even those things aren’t really entirely under your control. It’s a lot like parenting—you can only do so much before you just have to let your kids figure it out on their own. So in this case, keep washing your hands and practicing good habits, which are things you were probably already doing, right?
4. Let your kids rise to the occasion.
Schools are already announcing closings due to the coronavirus. If you’re a parent who is slightly panicking over this, know that you’re not alone. Who is going to watch your kids? Even if you’re working from home, what are they going to do all day? Is this going to put them behind in school? This is where the Let Grow philosophy can really come in handy. We say, just let them figure it out! Let your kids play, entertain themselves, and just make it work. It is not your job to entertain them, and yes, it’s okay to let them be bored. Kids have been busying themselves for hundreds of years, and yours can certainly figure it out, too.
5. When all else fails, stick to the facts.
It’s easy for people to sensationalize numbers or exaggerate based on fear. (Take a look at the information we pulled together about how overall crime stats are actually down.) But at the end of the day, it’s important to stick to the facts. Right now, the coronavirus is spreading, but the stats and overall risk are still small. So seek out accurate facts, using a media source or organization you trust. You can find official sources, like this one from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Let those be your guide first.
It doesn’t take much for a scare like this to quickly become a big worry or panic. Yes, we need to be aware of what’s going on. But let’s all try to remain calm and avoid the mass hysteria in the process. And we’ll all be in much better shape.