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How to Talk to Your Kids about the Coronavirus

Published on 3/10/2020

Help Them Feel Safe and Secure

With coronavirus (COVID-19) in the news and on social media, kids are hearing about it too. This information can be scary and confusing, especially for already anxious kids. Children depend on their parents, teachers, and other trusted adults for their safety and sense of security. This includes looking to the adults around them for information and cues about what to think and how to respond. When the adults in their lives are anxious, worried, or apprehensive about safety concerns, children often take on and internalize this heightened anxiety.

Start a conversation with your child now to give them accurate, reassuring information and tools to feel in control and safe. Find out where they are hearing about coronavirus and keep your door open for ongoing questions and concerns. Follow these guidelines from our experts and read our blog post Supporting Our Children in Difficult Times:

  • Stay Calm and Empathize
  • Listen Attentively to Your Child
  • Provide Honest, but Thoughtful and Brief Information
  • Maintain Consistent Family-Care Routines
  • Express Gratitude and Share Positive News

Empower your child with tips and tools like handwashing for at least 20 seconds, the time it takes to sing happy birthday twice. Teach them new ways to say hello to friends besides hugs and high fives, like tapping feet or elbows. Help your children stop touching their face by turning it into an awareness game – they can help you stop too. Assure your child that these precautions are to keep them safe and prevent anything bad from happening. If your child has a cold or other symptoms, keep them at home and cancel all activities. Changes in routines can also be difficult for children, so keep this in mind, if you have to adjust your normal schedule.

The good news is that coronavirus is affecting children less than older adults and populations with already compromised health. For your child, however, this may increase their concern about parents and grandparents. Reassure them that most people only experience mild symptoms and that we have a strong network of doctors and hospitals to keep us all safe and well.

Most importantly, stay calm and keep washing your hands!

Posted with permission from Parent's Place