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Talking to your kids about health, hygiene and body image in a time of Covid-19

The reality of the novel coronavirus is hitting home after two cases have been diagnosed in South Africa.

Parenting expert Nikki Bush says this situation provides a number of valuable teaching moments for you and your child.

Aside from discussing health and hygiene, help them not to freak out amid the unavoidable news headlines and mounting hysteria in some quarters.

Talk to kids about why not as many people will die this time around compared to "plagues" in the past, she advises.

Also discuss the number of people in South Africa who die from "ordinary" flu every year - the death toll from Covid-19 is unlikely to reach that annual tally.

RELATED: 'Wash your hands at least for 20 seconds to curb spread of coronavirus'

If you go back in history to things like the Black Plague, one of the reasons why so many people died is because there was no sanitation. People didn't know they had to wash their hands, they didn't have proper sewage systems...

Nikki Bush, Parenting expert

You know, you teach your children to wash their hands after they go to the toilet. Well, this is a really, really good time to reinforce that, isn't it?

Nikki Bush, Parenting expert

She says it's important to keep things in perspective for your kids:

If we just let them listen to what's going on in the news, they will freak out.

Nikki Bush, Parenting expert

Yes, people are going to get sick. But most of them are going to get better, as they do from a common cold etcetera.

Nikki Bush, Parenting expert

This introduces a second teachable moment says Bush - discuss the fact that people who look after themselves through proper nutrition, enough exercise and sleep, are the people who survive normal colds and flu.

Under normal circumstances or whether it's a "Covd-19 day" what can we do to ensure we stay healthy?

Bush raises the issue of young people, girls especially, focusing so much attention on how what they look like in relation to what they eat.

Why don't we just celebrate a good old healthy body! This is a lovely opportunity to talk about the fact that if you have a body that works and is well, you need to be satisfied and happy.

Nikki Bush, Parenting expert

For more valuable pointers, take a listen:


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