How to Speak to Your Kids About COVID-19
How do you explain a global pandemic to kids?
Well, that’s certainly a question we never thought we’d try to address in a post, but here we are.
As the reality of COVID-19 sets in with all of us (and seems to change every day), it’s hard enough to come to grips to it with yourself, let alone your kids. But, right now, as always, our kids are looking to us for safety, comfort, love, and answers.
And, because we are wondering how to speak to our kids about COVID-19 just like you are, we got tips from Florida International University mental health counselor Yasmin Rey and Becky Bailey of Conscious Discipline. Read on for their top tips on how to address COVID-19 with kids.
How to Speak to Your Kids About COVID-19
1. Don’t avoid the topic. You don’t need to talk about it ALL the time, but it’s real, and it needs to be discussed in an age-appropriate way so that your kids know what’s going on, Rey says.
2. Pay attention to how you’re feeling. Bailey says that young children co-regulate with trusted adults and older children feed off our internal states. So, check in with yourself. How are you feeling? “Practice active calming by taking three deep breaths when you feel yourself becoming frustrated, fearful, angry, or desperate,” Bailey recommends.
3. Reassure your child by providing factual information. Be honest with them, Rey says, but also …
4. Avoid giving too much information. Use the simplest terms possible in an age-appropriate way.
5. Limit news exposure. Do this for television and social media, Rey says.Try to watch the news in private and not have it on in the background. Limit social media time for both you and your kids, Bailey says.
6. Show empathy and warmth. Bailey says to focus on statements like, “You’re safe. You can handle this. We will get through this together,” instead of dismissing with comments like, “Everything’s okay,” or “It’s not something you need to worry about.”
7. Let your kids choose activities that bring them joy. It’s important for them to have a sense of control, Rey says.
8. Keep a routine. Because our days have been turned upside down without warning, Bailey says that it’s essential to create a new normal. Families with older children can work together to co-create a new daily schedule, while parents of younger children can create a schedule for them. “Plan it, draw it, label it, post it somewhere obvious, and refer to it often so children know what to expect,” she says.
9. Continue the conversation. As the situation continues to change, keep talking about it, Rey says.
More Resources on Parenting During COVID-19
- COVID-19: Five Helpful Responses for Families
- Parents: This Is NOT Meant to Be Our Finest Hour
- Mindfulness Practices to Get Through Co-Working With Your Family
- Why Can’t I Go to School?
How have your conversations with your kids gone? Most recently my 5-year-old called the coronavirus a “poopy butt,” which seemed accurate. –Jenn
Love all the reading! you already know what’s happening in this world right now. We are all being affected one way or the other by the coronavirus outbreak. Our kids need to know every thing at that moment. Stay home and stay safe.
Great Informative. Keep posting such a helpful articles for us.
This is a great article. Everybody must read and educate our kids about the importance of self-isolation to avoid social contact and COVID-19.
Many children might think it difficult to understand what they are seeing online (or) on TV – or hearing from other people – so they can be particularly vulnerable to feelings of anxiety, stress, and sadness.
The best advice is just to take the chance to educate them about maintaining good hygiene practices without introducing new fears.
Be honest: explain the truth in a child-friendly way
I have a three-years-old beautiful daughter that is truly understanding kid. She’s aware that we can’t and shouldn’t go outside our house due to this virus. Thanks for sharing this. This is helpful.
Amazing information thanks for sharing information in problematic days. please tell me that a hand wash is better for kids or sanitizer.
Thanks for the helpful tips. I’ve been struggling with ways to approach this with my kids and this gives me some ideas. Very trying times. It’s been very challenging. I hope everyone stays safe out there.
Convincing kids to stay vigilant during this pandemic is one of the best things. Teach them to follow the safety and health guidelines.
Some of the great tips parents would give to there kids.
That’s is an amazing and beautiful Article. I really love it. It makes my day super. thanks for it
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