5 Tips For Talking to Your Kids About Coronavirus

How to Talk to Your Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

 

Your kids likely have questions about COVID-19, aka the new coronavirus. How you answer depends on their age, maturity level and more.

With many school districts cancelling classes, and so many other changes to daily life, your children are likely confused and a bit nervous about what’s going to happen. Here are five helpful tips you can use when talking to them about this new public health crisis.

1. Acknowledge your own anxieties and concerns

Kids and teens look to adults for cues on how to act and react. If you are visibly worried or consumed with anxiety about the coronavirus, your kids will pick up on that energy. That’s why it’s so important to process these difficult emotions.

It’s completely normal and okay to be scared right now, and I’m not advising you to hide your fears. Again, balance is so important — you can be a calm and reassuring figure to your children while acknowledging the severity of the situation.

2. Make sure you have accurate information about the coronavirus

To help your kids cope with anxiety and fear, you need to give them accurate information that doesn’t lead to excessive alarm. Striking this balance is far from easy. To find a balance, I strongly suggest learning more about the coronavirus, but only from reliable and trustworthy sources. This will make it easier for you to have a calm and factual conversation with your kids.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have a number of excellent resources, which can be found here on their website.

3. Address your child’s concerns, never dismiss them

If you want to avoid making your child feel stressed and overwhelmed, you must listen to their concerns and answer their questions honestly. When they express a worry or fear, listen to what they’re saying without judgment. Reassure them that their concerns are valid and that you’ll always be around if they want to talk more.

Of course, your exact approach will be dependent on your child’s age and maturity level. Teenagers and older kids are likely very much aware of what’s going on. Young children may not fully understand what’s happening. Regardless of age, parents should still be prepared for questions… and potentially, opinions.

4. Be prepared for opinions

Older children and teens are more likely to have formed an opinion on how the coronavirus should be handled, and their opinion may differ from yours. At the same time, remember that even the strongest-willed kids may be experiencing fear and anxiety, which can lead to combativeness.

You can use this as an opportunity to practice the art of having a healthy disagreement, but don’t let your teen use it as an excuse to be disrespectful.

5. Remind your kids that they’re in control, too

Many of us feel helpless and hopeless right now, but the fact is that there are plenty of things we can to do reduce the risk of becoming infected with the coronavirus. Make sure your kids know that prevention is an important tool that everyone can use to stay safe and healthy.

For example, explain how preventative measures (like hand washing and social distancing) are a great way to reduce the chance of getting infected. This knowledge can provide a sense of control and relief to anxious kids.

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