How to Talk to Children About COVID-19

Suggestions on how to support and talk to your children

The impacts of COVID-19 have led to school and childcare provider closures, quarantines, and bare shelves in grocery stores. For children, this can be overwhelming and difficult to understand. They may worry about themselves, their family, and friends getting ill with COVID-19. Below are some suggestions on how to support and talk to your children about COVID-19.

Be reassuring, patient, and relaxed.

Young children and adolescents may not understand the gravity of the current situation, which may cause them to feel anxiety, fear, confusion, or frustration. Providing comfort and assurance, as well as being available to your children during this tumultuous time is vital.

Children may have questions regarding COVID-19. Allow them to ask these questions, which may relate to school closures, symptoms of the virus, changes in their daily routine, or things they see or hear from their friends or the media. Having an open discussion about this ever-changing situation may ease your children’s concerns; however, it is also important to allow them to set their own pace in these discussions and not feel any pressure to talk if they do not want to.

Your actions and words about COVID-19 can also have a major effect on your children. So, it’s essential to be a positive model for them, and give them honest information despite what they may see or hear from other sources. Create an open forum for them to address how they may be feeling.

What your children see in the news and on social media can also be a factor in how they handle the pandemic. Limiting your children’s exposure to some news sources and social media outlets might be helpful in alleviating any stress your children may be feeling.

Establish and maintain a routine.

The disruption of being at home during this pandemic can throw a normal routine into disarray.Establishing and maintaining a schedule while at home can help keep your children occupied during this stressful event. Kids should get up, eat and go to bed at their normal times. Consistency and structure are calming during times of stress.

It may help to print out a schedule and go over it as a family each morning. Setting a timer will help kids know when activities are about to begin or end. Having regular reminders will help reduce meltdowns when it’s time to transition from one thing to the next.

Incorporate new activities into your routine, like doing a puzzle or having family game time in the evening.

Build in activities that help everyone get some exercise (without contact with other kids or things touched by other kids, like playground equipment). Take a daily family walk or bike ride or do yoga - great ways to let kids burn off energy and make sure everyone is staying active.

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