We have to realize that kids are going through the impact of COVID-19 and all the changes in the same way we are. Schools are closed, extracurricular activities are canceled, and playdates are not permitted. Kids are adapting to this new lifestyle while also trying to process and understand what they’re hearing about coronavirus. It is important that we talk to our kids about COVID-19 and all the changes that are happening right now. Here are some tips on how you can speak to your child:
1. Ask questions and become curious about what they already know.
Allow space for them to discuss their thoughts, opinions, and fears while you actively listen. Other children may not have much to say, and that is OK too. Just opening the door for them to know this can be talked about with you is a great start.
2. Offer support and love.
Using a calm, soothing voice and offering physical touch will help children feel more confident and safe about the current circumstance. Be there for them wherever they are and normalize their feelings and experience by expressing affection and love.
3. Be honest.
Offer truthful answers to their questions about COVID-19, school openings, playdates, and more. If asked, it is OK for you to express your honest feelings about the situation too, in an age-appropriate manner. Also, show kids that you may not know the answers to all their questions and that the uncertainty you’re experiencing is shared, so they aren’t alone.
4. Help them feel more in control.
Teach kids about washing their hands to the ABC song or singing happy birthday. Also, help them understand the importance of getting enough sleep and taking vitamins to keep their immune system strong. These things will help kids feel like they have some control over the outcome of this situation.
5. Have some fun!
Shift the perspective of heaviness and worry during this time and do something fun with your kids! Participate in art projects, crafts, and physical activity with your kids. This will help them to find some balance between fear and joy and give them something exciting to look forward to.
We all share fear and concern during this crisis, and it is imperative to keep working toward self-soothing and staying close and connected with one another emotionally. This is not a one-time conversation to have with kids. Keep the conversations going and adapt your attitude and behavior to where your child is presently. Most of all … stay safe!
More resources for Parents and Children During COVID-19:
-Show your upper elementary and middle school-aged kids this educational video from BrainPop.
-View this parent resource guide by the National Association of School Psychologists and the National Association of School Nurses.
-Check out Mahmee a maternal and infant telehealth and care coordination platform that makes it possible for patients and their providers to coordinate prenatal and postpartum healthcare from anywhere.