How to talk to your children about COVID-19

Great Hearts Academies March 18, 2020

3 Ways to Talk to Your Child About COVID-19
Lauren Katz, Great Hearts Academies Director of School Counseling

With the national emphasis on keeping families and children safe and healthy from COVID-19, parents must also find a way to talk to their children about this Coronavirus. With constant information coming out about the virus, it isn’t unusual for kids to feel anxious or uncertain about all of the information they are hearing and seeing.

Washing your hands and exemplifying good hygiene is a great starting point to keep your child safe, but it is crucial to check in with your child about how they may be feeling. Here are three ways to keep the conversation going when kids ask us the big questions.

Validate Your Child’s Feelings
Provide a safe and open environment for your child to ask questions about what is currently going on. By encouraging your child to wonder and be curious without pushing them to talk, they will be more comfortable opening up about the situation with you. It can be helpful to ask them questions and find out what their understanding is; what have they heard so far that they have questions about? To help your child better understand what the virus is and how it spreads use words that they can understand and be prepared to repeat yourself if needed.

Make Them Aware of Others
Many kids are seeing this ‘break’ as time to play with their friends. It is important to stay calm when telling your child that they need to stay inside. By helping your children understand that other people can get sick or may have a higher risk of getting sick if they interact with one another, they can better realize why it’s important that they are not playing with friends as much. Let them know that there are also people out there working to help those who are sick and find an answer to make them better. Children follow their parent’s cues. If you stay calm, they are more likely to as well.

Be Reassuring But Be Honest
It is important for everyone, especially children, to be aware of the virus. Be honest with your child about the current situation, but reassure them that by practicing good hygiene and staying inside they are doing their part to make everyone safe. It is also important to make sure that what they are watching or hearing is not too graphic or sensationalized.

Using these tips make navigating this topic a little easier with your kids. Remember, they are looking to you for guidance.

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