“Mommy, can I marry you when I grow up?”
“Dad, why is there hair on your back?”
If you have young kids, then you know that they never run out of questions. They are on another level when it comes to their curiosity — and their questions seem to come out of left field at times.
I can only imagine the questions some kids asked their parents about this coronavirus pandemic — questions that parents undoubtedly didn’t know how to answer or just didn’t have any answers.
Many parents likely had no choice but to talk to their kids about the coronavirus if for no other reason than to explain why they were suddenly yanked out of school. And, in some cases, schools have canceled classes for the remainder of the year. It’s a big deal. Historical, actually.
Still, there are probably a few parents out there who are struggling with how to broach such a heavy topic with their kids — or they’re not sure how much is too much. They just want them to be kids and not worry about grownup stuff.
But when the grownup stuff can indirectly affect them and directly affect Grandma and Grandpa, it’s time to have a conversation.
7 Tips On Having The Coronavirus Conversation With Your Kids
- Don’t avoid the obvious — they can see that something’s not right in the world right now.
- Before you tell them anything, ask them what they know first.
- Be truthful but don’t give more information than they need.
- Tell them how they can help by simply washing their hands often.
- Point out what medical professionals and everyday people are doing to keep us safe.
- Stay calm when speaking to your child and never allow your child to see you panic.
- Be careful not to blame others for this pandemic.
Sources: Kids Health, Child Mind Institute, CDC
Out of my own curiosity, I wanted to know how much the CareContent kids know about the coronavirus — and how they’re feeling about being at home with their parents during this extended period of time.
So, I gave the CareContent Moms their own homework assignment of sorts, and armed them with some questions to ask their kids during this time at home.
Here is what Quinn (age 6), Lorin (age 3), Taylor (age 7), Josiah (age 5), and Kelis (age 3) had to say.
Do you know why you’re at home instead of school? Tell me what you know.
Quinn: Yeah, Mom. Don’t you know this already? (Quinn is losing her patience.) We’re at home because of coronavirus.
Lorin: It’s ‘maronas bias.’ It can make you sick. Really, really sick.
Taylor: Because of the coronavirus. It’s really bothering me because it’s hard to do school on the internet.
Kelis: It’ll make you sick.
Do you know why washing your hands is important? What can happen if you don’t do this?
Quinn: You have to get the germs off your hands, especially after you use the bathroom. And the coronavirus doesn’t like soap or anything.
Lorin: Mommy, can we watch the handwash song? (Vietnam’s Health Ministry PSA handwashing song)
Taylor: To get the germs off. Because people have their own germs, and if you share them you can very possibly get sick.
Josiah: So we don’t get sick.
Kelis: So I don’t stink. (This little one has earned the “realest” title.)
How do you like being at home with Mom and Dad? What do you like about it?
Quinn: It’s OK, but sometimes I get kind of bored around you guys. Every time we start running around, you tell us to stop.
Lorin: I DON’T! (Little Miss Lorin takes home the “keepin’ it 100” trophy.)
Taylor: We get to take really long walks. And bike rides. I just like staying in the nature and exercise.
Josiah/Kelis: No answer. Zilch. Nada. (Learning to plead the fifth early. They have to eat here.)
Do you miss school? What do you miss about it?
Quinn: Yes. I miss [teacher’s name] and my friends. And I miss my specials [afterschool activities]. But I like that I can see everybody online [school’s weekly virtual class]. It’s pretty cool.
Lorin: Circle time. And playing.
Taylor: Well, there’s many things, but if I had to say only one thing: my friends and teachers.
Josiah: Blank stare.
Kelis: Blank stare.
(Now is probably a good time to tell you that the “no-answer-blank-stare” children are siblings and they belong to our CEO, Kadesha Smith. They don’t have time for this nonsense.)
What do you love to do most while at home?
Quinn: Playing teacher and making slime. And reading all my books, like all my unicorn books.
Lorin: Watching movies and my doctor stuff [playing doctor].
Josiah: Watch Lion King and play with animals.
Kelis: Play with Magna-Tiles.
Are you sad about anything?
Quinn: I miss [family members]. And going outside and riding to the park. But the weather has been kind of ugly, so maybe not. But the light shows on the balcony at night have been A LOT of fun! (Solidarity at 8 in the South Loop neighborhood, also happening across the country and around the world.)
Lorin: Yeah, the lights are so much fun! I miss [names every single family member — and their dogs].
If you could make one wish come true today, what would that wish be?
Taylor: For coronavirus to stop. And for more people to believe that coronavirus is a big thing, especially people who don’t really understand what the coronavirus is really about. I think it’s important for all of us to be washing our hands. And if you can’t make it to your elbow, then cough into your hands and then right away don’t touch anything and go wash your hands. (Taylor for the win!)
I should note that CareContent kid #6 — Josh, 3, and Taylor’s little brother — was MIA. Rumor has it that his scooter was more important than answering questions about some stupid virus. Maybe we should all just play in our backyards on a scooter, walk around in circles on our balcony, or pace the floors in our home. And then maybe one day soon, our collective curfew will be over.
Well done, kiddos. Well done.
This is a challenging time for everyone, kids included. If you need a little guidance on how to talk to your kids about this pandemic, there are plenty of resources available to you — including Child Mind and Kids Health.
To some people, landing a remote job is like winning the job lottery. And if we’re talking about millennials, it’s practically an expectation.
Working remotely — also known as telecommuting — is when employees work from home at least half-time. It’s one of the perks millennials desire the most, and it may be a deal-breaker if a company doesn’t offer it — even if it’s just for a few days per week.
This year, millennials will make up about half of the US workforce — and they will represent 75% of the global workforce by 2025.
Since millennials are taking over the workforce, employers may not have a choice but to offer this much-desired work flexibility.
Some people may think telecommuting jobs only exist for those in creative types of positions like writers, copy editors, and graphic designers. But many companies — private, startup, public, non profit — are allowing some sort of telecommute option these days.
Even in the medical profession there are some work-from-home opportunities available, such as:
- Physicians – online teaching or telehealth services
- Medical call centers, which typically consist of RNs and LPNs
- Medical coders and billers
- Medical transcriptionists
- Legal nurse consultant
- Nurse manager
- Phone triage nurse
- Healthcare recruiter
Working Remotely Doesn’t Just Benefit Workers
Employees aren’t the only ones who benefit from working from home. Employers can also reap rewards since working remotely can:
- Reduce turnover: Workers will generally stay at a job longer since it meets their work-life balance needs.
- Encourage loyalty: Telecommuting makes employees happy, particularly 82% of millennials who would gladly give their loyalty for such flexibility.
- Increase bottom line: Employers save money on office space and relocation, and reduce absenteeism-related costs.
- Help the environment: By eliminating the office commute, utilizing telecommunications, and using less energy, it reduces climate change.
Do The Benefits Of Working Remotely Outweigh The Downsides?
Remote workers have many options on how to spend their breaks at home. They can wash last night’s dishes, throw a load of clothes in the washer, or even take a quick nap.
Heck, they might even steal a few moments to swipe left or right on some unlucky or lucky fellow. (Let’s not pretend, though, that onsite workers don’t do this, too.)
But in a typical 9 to 5 office setting, the only potential “naughty” perks may be grabbing a nap if the company provides a quiet room — but you’d likely have to beat a lot of other coworkers to it first.
The thought of employees doing all of their household chores on the company’s time (break time or not) is precisely why many employers aren’t excited about offering this benefit. Some employers fear a drop in productivity and say that not all workers have the maturity and discipline to handle this perk.
While the maturity and discipline thing may be true for some workers, the opposite is true when it comes to productivity. Remote workers are more likely to work longer while in their own environment — more than 3 extra weeks per year. They will generally work while sick and during vacations, too.
Further, they will spend only 29 minutes of their day chatting with coworkers, whereas the “Gossipy Greg” onsite workers spend an average of 66 minutes per day.
Employers’ concern about remote workers experiencing a drop in productivity might be a little misdirected, given that 50% of onsite workers say they’re significantly less productive when there are workplace distractions. Along with chatty coworkers, too many pointless meetings are to blame for some of the distraction. In 2019, companies lost nearly $400 billion due to ineffective, poorly run meetings.
Overall, workplace distractions cost businesses a whopping $600 billion per year. By allowing the “Productive Pamelas” to work remotely instead of forcing them to come into the office to interact with the “Gossipy Gregs” who are spreading rumors from cubicle to cubicle, employers will save a nice chunk of change.
They may want to consider giving a percentage of those savings to their most productive workers.
Working Remotely And Loneliness
When you work remotely, you are likely working in isolation, even if you live with someone. This can create feelings of loneliness and contribute to depression.
However, one study found that telecommuting just a few hours a month could lower the risk of depression. This could be due to the fact that remote workers are less likely to be obese or overindulge in alcohol consumption.
Some easy ways to curb the loneliness factor are to join a shared workspace, speak with team members and clients via teleconference, and just simply get out of the house for a while.
At the end of the day — whether working remotely or onsite — our interaction with others is a significant human need. Those who telecommute must keep this in mind as they mark their work territory at home.