Staying within your own hula hoop is an expression with more literal meaning these days.
“Give grandma a hug,” has turned into, “Don’t get too close.”
“It’s good to share,” has become, “Don’t touch that. It’s not yours.”
How confusing is this?
How we explain this recent shift in behaviors depends on your child’s age. Many children can grasp the nature of spreading sickness. How when one person gets sick, others may also become sick from them. This is not new to them. But explaining the physical distancing, even when others do not appear to be sick, is a challenge.
We don’t want to scare our children. We want them to be safe and provide them with basic information. We can reinforce a few simple things like coughing or sneezing into their arm, not touching their face, and regular hand washing.
Beyond that, when having a conversation about this, I’d like to suggest we follow their lead. Listen to their concerns and thoughts. This can direct the conversation based on their needs rather than our own pre-set ideas of what we should tell them.
Trust yourself. Trust your sense of what your child needs and can comprehend. Tap into your inherent ability to soothe them. Help them understand this is not forever.
Perhaps at some point, the expression of staying within our own hula hoop may shift back to the original metaphoric meaning.
Until then, let’s hold to this expression: “This too shall pass.”