The ongoing outbreak, the social distancing, stockpiling and generally heightened situation the virus has created is a lot to process even for us adults. So how can we talk to our kids about everything that’s going on in a way that is accurate but won’t make them anxious?
Here are a couple tips that might help.
1. Figure out what your child already knows
Your conversation will be different if they’ve heard it’s the flu or the grim reaper going around.
2. Address your own stress
Kids take their cues from the adults around them. You don’t want to panic in front of your kids, so process your own feelings before talking to your children to avoid passing your own anxieties on to them.
3. Use age-appropriate language
Not sure how to talk to your kids about what’s going on? This comic made just for kids is a great starting point to help them understand what all the adults are talking about.
4. Be reassuring
If your child is anxious, listen to them and make them feel heard. This might mean saying something like I can tell that you’re really scared right now. Then explain how it’s very rare to get really sick when we listen to the scientists by staying inside and washing our hands.
5. Focus on staying clean
You should ensure your kids wash their hands for 20 seconds (the length of the birthday song, twinkle twinkle little star or bah bah black sheep) before and after they eat, after they come in from outside, after they blow their nose and after they use the washroom. Consider making it a game by seeing who can make the most bubbles.
6. Stick to Routine
Humans in general and kids in particular don’t like uncertainty. Do your best to keep structure in your child’s day with regular meal, play, sleep and learning times. (Click Here for a collection of free online learning resources)