How do you talk to your children about Corona virus?
Updated: Mar 24, 2020
How do you talk to your children about Coronavirus? There is so much news, fear and insecurities in regards to Coronavirus. It’s time to support our children and youth as they may not be able to process all these in the same way adults do. Worse still, they may not even be able to articulate their concerns with clarity. Following are the simple ways in which we could support them (collected from various online resources, please follow the link given below if you would like to learn more); 1. Be honest and don't keep them in the dark: It's important to validate fears held by children, to listen to them and to be sure to speak to them at the age-appropriate level. If they have asked questions, answer them honestly, and don't share any more information other than what they asked. 2. Limit exposure to the news: As with any difficult news story, telling them the realistic truth at their level of understanding is very important. Don’t hide the news. All the same, be prudent in exposing them to the news more than what they can process. If possible, read/listen to the news with them. 3. Deal with your own anxiety/be a role model: When you’re feeling most anxious or panicked, that isn’t the time to talk to your kids about what’s happening with the coronavirus. Parents themselves will have to deal with their own anxiety in regards to their job, finance, childcare etc. Amidst all these, not doubt that it will be hard to take care of the emotional needs of children as well. But, by trying to manage your anxiety, you have an opportunity to be a role model for your children at home. 4. Watch for changes in your kid’s mood and limit media exposure: Even if a kid does not tell you they are worried about the novel coronavirus, changes in their behaviour may indicate internalized anxiety. If a child has an increased amount of tummy aches or headaches, they could be feeling fearful or anxious. If you notice such behaviours, ask your kid how they are doing. 5. Don’t be afraid to discuss the coronavirus: Most children will have already heard about the virus or seen people wearing face masks, so parents shouldn’t avoid talking about it. Not talking about something can actually make kids worry more. Look at the conversation as an opportunity to convey the facts and set the emotional tone. 6. Be developmentally appropriate: Don’t volunteer too much information, as this may be overwhelming. Instead, try to answer your child’s questions. Do your best to answer honestly and clearly. It’s okay if you can’t answer everything; being available to your child is what matters. 7. Focus on what you’re doing to stay safe: An important way to reassure kids is to emphasize the safety precautions that you are taking. Kids feel empowered when they know what to do to keep themselves safe. So remind kids that they are taking care of themselves by washing their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds (or the length of two “Happy Birthday” songs) when they come in from outside, before they eat, and after blowing their nose, coughing, sneezing or using the bathroom. If you would like to read more about these, please click the link - https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/covid-19-coronavirus-kids-1.5495831 https://childmind.org/article/talking-to-kids-about-the-coronavirus/ https://globalnews.ca/news/6671709/talk-to-kids-about-coronavirus/ Thank you and take care, Parent Support Network
Binu Sebastian, MSW, RSW Phone: 403-617-4469 Web: www.welcome2wilderness.com