Twin Cities doctor writes children’s book on tackling the coronavirus pandemic

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A Twin Cities doctor has written a children’s book, inspired by the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Holly Belgum, a pediatrics resident at the University of Minnesota, said she wanted to help kids process the emotions they may be feeling while stuck at home.

“I have a good friend whose daughter is 7. She FaceTimed me and she was crying and said, ‘I’m so scared of this virus and I miss my friends,’” Belgum said. “There are so many kids in Minnesota and around the world who are dealing with the effects of this.”

The book Belgum wrote and illustrated is called “Piggy and Bunny and the Stay-at-Home Plan.”

"Basically, it’s a story about two best friends, piggy and bunny,” Belgum explained. “They’re sad things aren’t normal but together they figure out ways to comfort each other.”

She said the book explores difficult emotions while also giving kids ideas for how to interact with each other from afar.

Psychologists in the Twin Cities told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS it is an important topic during this pandemic.

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"What I’m starting to see now is that kids are really grieving that life they had before and I think the uncertainty is starting to increase their stress,” said Sarah Jerstad, associate clinical director of Psychological Services at Children’s Minnesota.

Jerstad shared these tips for parents about how to talk to kids about coronavirus and social distancing:

  • Take your child’s age and stage into account,
  • Keep the information simple and honest,
  • Stay calm because your child’s reaction to a subject will often mirror yours,
  • Tell your kids we are social distancing for the safety of ourselves and others,
  • Let them know the pandemic and isolation won’t last forever.

“Keeping that information kind of hopeful,” Jerstad explained, “that they have a part in making a difference and keeping themselves safe.”

While Dr. Belgum initially wrote her book for the kids in her life, she is now sharing it with the public in the hope that it can inspire others.

“It is basically, how can we find cheer in our weird new lives? And how can we comfort each other and reach out to the people we love?” Belgum said.

The book is available for free online here.