Talking to Your Children about the Coronavirus

16/8/2020

It is very important to remember that children look to adults for guidance on how to react to stressful events. Given all the discussion about the coronavirus, your children might have heard about it and have questions for you. Below are some tips on how to respond to their questions.


  • Try to strike a balance between answering questions well enough without fueling the flame of anxiety. Children have elaborate imaginations that may lead them to create unnecessarily catastrophic stories in their minds if parents do not talk at all, or enough, about a topic like this. At the other end of the spectrum, providing too much information may create extra alarm.
  • If your child asks about something and you don't know the answer, say so. Use the question as a chance to find out together.
  • Know when they need guidance. Be aware of how your kids get news and information, especially older kids who go online. Point them to age-appropriate content so they don't end up finding news shows or outlets that scare them or have incorrect information.
  • Keep checking in with your child. Use talking about coronavirus as a way to help kids learn about their bodies, like how the immune system fights off disease. Reassure them that they are safe, which is the most important message your kids can hear from you.
  • Navigating time at home. A situation such as long-term school closures not only forces parents to be creative, it also throws kids out of critical routines. Parents should anticipate this might cause some sleeping difficulties, lack of concentration, an increase in irritability, and a decrease in children’s ability to retain new information. It's also important for parents to take a step back when emotions are running high and patience is thin, and to provide extra attention and love to kids as much as possible.

If you still feel you don’t have all the answers here are some articles that can help you answer the questions your children might have regarding the coronavirus.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/how-to-talk-to-children-about-the-coronavirus-2020030719111

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/talking-with-children.html

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/coronavirus-what-to-do-if-your-kids-stay-home


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