Handling COVID-19 fears with your child


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Schools in South Dakota will be closed for another week to slow the spread of COVID-19. As extra cleaning takes place, students may be left with some fear about all the changes happening.

It’s been just four months since Ethan Corbin opened the doors at his custom t-shirt shop Big Frog in Sioux Falls.

While his doors remain open for now, the coronavirus outbreak is changing how he operates.

“It’s definitely not business as usual,” Corbin said.

Shorter hours and social distancing practices have been implemented, but his work life isn’t the only thing experiencing changes.

His daughter’s preschool is closed, leaving him and his girlfriend to line up childcare during the days she would regularly be in school.

“Luckily we have family that’s really close here so you know she’s able to go to their house or they’re able to come to our house and I help out a couple days a week when I can,” Corbin said.

While his daughter Halle isn’t old enough to fully understand what’s going on, he says it was still important to have a conversation.

“We’ve told her you know, like what it’s called and you know, like what it is but she’s only four years old, you can only tell her so much without scaring her,” Corbin said.

And explaining what’s going on is exactly what Karla Salem, integrated health therapist with Sanford Health says parents should do to help ease kids’ concerns.

“Making kids feel safe seems to be the number one thing that we really want to strive for. So they feel like their world might be different but it’s still a very safe world to live in. So explaining you know why there’s differences, what the changes are,” Salem said.

And while many things are changing during the coronavirus pandemic, experts recommend trying to keep things as normal as possible.

And for children, Salem says a routine is key.

“To overlay this time of not being in school with some normal kinds of things, like this is our time for reading, this our time to do this, having regular meal times,” Salem said.

Corbin’s family is keeping things as normal as possible, as his daughter looks forward to getting back to the classroom.

“She’s bummed out, she loves her teachers, she loves her school and you know… she just wants to get back,” Corbin said.

Salem also suggests giving your child something to be in control of while they’re at home, such as letting them come up with songs to sing while they wash their hands or looking for ways to help neighbors without physically seeing them.

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