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How To Talk To Kids About COVID-19


COVID-19 has been a source of great anxiety for people all over the globe.  While working parents are dealing with fears about employment, illness, loss of employee benefits and family benefits, children are dealing with fears of their own.  It can be difficult to broach a topic like coronavirus with your child, but here are a few tips that can help:

Ask What They’ve Heard

If you have a child under the age of 6 who hasn’t heard about coronavirus, psychologists suggest that you may not want to cause needless anxiety by bringing it up.  If they have heard about it, start the dialogue by asking what they’ve heard. You may be having a very different conversation with them if you have to dispel fearful rumors they’ve heard on television.

Tell Them The Facts With A Comic

This comic from NPR is an excellent way to explain to your child why it is that schools are closing down and what the coronavirus is.  NPR designed this comic to help you explain to your kids in an easily understandable way how to be safe and healthy.  This can be a great way to communicate to them what they can do to stay safe without making them fearful about the virus.

Meet Them At Their Level

Giving too much information to a young child can overwhelm them.  Instead, let them ask you whatever questions they have about coronavirus and be prepared to answer their questions in a calm way.  You’ll also want to invite them to share how it makes them feel, so that you can be there as a resource to help them deal with their anxiety.

Empathize With Their Emotions

If your child is dealing with a lot of fear and anxiety about coronavirus, logic is not a great way to help soothe that fear.  Empathize with what they’re feeling instead of trying to stop them from feeling anxious. You can say, “I get it, things feel very scary right now.”  If they’re upset about not seeing their friends, you could say, “I know how frustrating it feels. I miss my friends too.”

Manage Your Own Anxiety

If you’re experiencing high amounts of stress and anxiety, chances are your child is going to pick up on that.  For the same reason that businesses emphasize employee wellness, you need to take care of yourself in order to be an effective parent and help your child manage their anxiety.  Practice healthy tactics to deal with your own anxiety by talking to friends, your partner, or a therapist. This will help you be a role model to your child.

This new period of self-quarantining is changing childcare for many working parents, creating a new kind of childcare crisis.  It can be difficult to take on the role of teacher, babysitter, and parent all at once. By using these tips to talk to your child about coronavirus, you can make sure they’re educated in a safe way.