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TALKING TO YOUR CHILD ABOUT COVID-19
Monday, March 23, 2020 11:25 AM

 


How To Talk With Your Children About the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

WRITTEN BY MICHELE KAMERMAN, M.A., LPC, RPT

Chances are your children have heard about the coronavirus somehow, whether they overheard it on the news, they heard about it from other children, or they overheard adults talking about it. When adults present anxiety about the coronavirus, children will definitely pick up on the anxiety. Children may act out or internalize their anxiety.  Here are some tips on how to talk with children about the coronavirus spread.

Even if your child has not expressed any concern does not mean the coronavirus is not on their mind.  It’s crucial that your child does not keep their worries and concerns inside.  It may be helpful to start the conversation and provide factual and developmentally appropriate information.  This means you will need to also educate yourself in order to provide your child the important information. This will help your child have a better and true understanding of what the coronavirus is rather than rumors that may be spread at school.  It’s important to answer their questions with simple and honest responses to ensure they do not become more overwhelmed.

Always validate how your children is feeling and any concerns they may have.  No matter if their anxiety is about the coronavirus or if it’s about friends, validating their feelings helps them feel understood and heard by you.  This is a good time to practice active listening- recognizing their feelings and providing them your full attention.

It’s important to remember what we can control when it comes to any type of illness, rather than focusing on what is out of our control.  You may talk to them about what is being done to keep our community safe from the virus.  You can discuss how germs are spread and what we can do to keep ourselves healthy.  Some examples you can provide is washing hands for at least 20 seconds (or singing “Happy Birthday” while washing hands), using hand sanitizers, and saying “hello” rather than shaking hands.

Please remind your child that we all get sick sometimes, and that it’s normal.  There are steps we can take to protect our health.  Remember open communication is a great way to understand how your child is feeling.