As a parent, you may have read that it is important to talk to your child or teen about the Coronavirus. This may feel scary or overwhelming and you may be worried that you won’t know what to say or how to say it. It is normal to feel this way. Hopefully this article will give you some guidelines that will help you feel more confident in your ability to have those conversations with your children.
Guidelines on how to talk with your child about coronavirus
- Be calm and reassuring. Children will react to how you say something as well as what you say. They will be looking for cues from you on how to feel about this situation. If you stay calm, you convey to your child that it is okay for them to be calm as well
- Be available. While it can be difficult to always be available to our children, especially as we may be navigating working from home for the first time, letting your child know that they can come to you with questions can help them feel safe.
- Provide your child with age appropriate facts. It may be helpful to focus on positive facts such as the fact that most people who get sick, especially children, with the Coronavirus will get better. Remind children that stories they see on social media or the Internet may not be accurate. Let them know that doctors and scientists are working hard to learn more about the Coronavirus and help people who get sick. This does not mean that you should lie to your child, or tell them that everyone gets better, but focusing on information such as how many people have died from the Coronavirus can be especially scary, as children may not understand that those numbers represent a small percentage of the population.
- Empower your children by teaching them ways that they can help stop the spread of germs such as practicing social distancing, coughing or sneezing into a tissue, and using good hand washing techniques.
- Discuss with your child things that have been done to help protect people from getting sick such as closing schools and churches, mom or dad working from home, restaurants being closed.
- Acknowledge your child’s fear if someone they love is an essential worker and can’t stay home. Remind them of all the things that person does to keep themself safe such as hand washing, wearing a mask, cleaning work areas. Remind your child that not every person who gets sick has the Coronavirus and most people who do get the Coronavirus recover.
- Acknowledge children’s feelings of sadness. Children and teens may be experiencing grief for many reasons. It may be due to loss of experiences such as prom or graduation, the loss of not being able to spend time with friends, or even the inability to participate in a sport or camp that they love. This is a time of loss for many people and allowing your children to express that grief can allow them to deal with it in a more healthy way.
Talking to your child or teen about the Coronavirus can feel overwhelming. You may not feel prepared to answer the questions that your children have, or you may feel a need to protect them from the truth about what is happening. Providing age appropriate information, in a calm and reassuring way, can help you and your child have a healthy conversation about a difficult topic. Stay safe and healthy!
If you or your child is struggling with anxiety related to coronavirus, don’t wait. Seek help today
You don’t need to feel alone. We have a team of caring professionals who can help you and your child get through this very difficult time. We are just a virtual telehealth call away.
Call Waterford Counseling Services at 630-898-5322.
More Information about coronavirus can be found at:
Blog submitted by Shannon Corn, LCSW