How to Talk to Your Kids About COVID-19 (Opinion Piece)
As the coronavirus continues to spread, it is inevitable that your kids are going to hear about it and ask questions. Although everything feels overwhelming, it is a good thing that your family is having open conversation about the global crisis that is occurring. Talking to kids about coronavirus will be able to help keep them educated, feeling safe, and conscious of what they can do to help.
When it comes to coronavirus and kids, honesty and comfort go hand in hand.
Always be truthful while making sure your child feels safe. If your child approaches you with questions regarding the virus, answer them to the best of your ability. However, don’t over-share information that might worry them. Provide them with the facts and stay away from the “what ifs” that may cause unnecessary panic.
If your child is asking questions you don’t have an answer to, check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website to find what you are looking for. It is best that you do the research for or with them. That way, you can avoid them stumbling across the unsettling headlines that are only meant for adults to see.
Always stay calm around your kids and especially when talking to them about the pandemic. Kids pick up on their parents being worried and it installs fear within themselves if they feel as if their parents are uneasy.
If your child does begin to get fearful, reassure them that they are safe. Due to the fact that they were still at school when this began, they most likely heard others talking about it. If they are worried, remind them how rare it is for children to be affected by the current virus and if they have any questions that they need answered, you are always there to answer them.
Help your kids gain some sense of control.
Provide your child with opportunities where they feel in control. By teaching your kids how to wash their hands correctly or the importance of getting a lot of sleep, they are able to take matters into their own hands and feel safe knowing that they are positively contributing to the issue. Let them see that you are diligently following the rules so they can fully comprehend how crucial it is to regularly wash your hands and not touch your face.
Discuss how hard medical professionals are working. By talking to your children about hospitals and the actions doctors are taking to protect those that are sick, they gain a large sense of reassurance that things are going to be okay. If you have older children that are a bit more in tune with what is happening around them, discuss the fact that scientists are working to quickly find a vaccine.
Have them talk to their loved ones. During this time, it is normal for both kids and adults to greatly worry about those around them, especially their grandparents. Allow them to facetime, skype, or simply call them to help ease their mind. Encourage them to practice their writing skills by writing emails and letters to their family and friends.
Put COVID-19 into context for them. Explain to them that although it is fast spread, death from the virus is rare. Although huge preventative measures taking place throughout the nation can appear scary, such as social distancing and public gatherings being shut down, it is a good thing. These are necessary actions that must take place in order to prevent further spread of the virus and keep the world around them as safe as possible.