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The Quintessential Health Blog

Talking to Children about Coronavirus (COVID-19)

As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold, you may be wondering how to explain our new normal to the children in your life. By now, they have likely heard about the coronavirus from friends and family. Nevertheless, many parents, caregivers, and teachers may be wondering how to talk to children about the impacts of the virus in a helpful and supportive way.

Here are 5 tips to assist in guiding these conversations:

  1. Find out what they already know

  2. Ask your children what they have heard about coronavirus. For older kids, open-ended questions may work best. For younger kids, you may need to ask more specific and concrete questions.

  3. Address the uncertainty

  4. The pandemic has caused many people to feel uncertain about everyday life circumstances. When we first learned about coronavirus, it seemed like change was constant and there were many unknowns. Unfortunately, we still have a lot to learn. Children may ask questions that we don’t have the answers to. The best thing to do in these situations is to tell them you don’t know. Although it may be tempting to reassure them that everything is going to be okay, children can actually benefit from seeing their parent or teacher tolerate uncertainty. When parents and teachers model this behavior, children learn to experience uncertainty without anxiety.

  5. Help them feel empowered

  6. Show them how to take control and remain safe. Teach them how to wash their hands, and explain how they can do their part to keep themselves and others safe.

  7. Check in with yourself about your own anxiety

  8. The saying “children are like sponges” applies here. Your child can sense when you are anxious. If you’ve just learned some worrisome news, take some time to calm down before talking with your child.

  9. Keep the conversation going

  10. You may not have all the answers, but being available to your child is what matters most. Let them know that you are open to continuing to talk about this. You can keep the conversation going by welcoming questions and sharing fact-based information.

Click here for access to our COVID-19 workbook:

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