As news about COVID-19 circulates, it is normal for children to form concerns about this virus that has interrupted their normal routine. As a parent, you play an important role in helping your kids navigate this new situation with confidence.
Here are some tips for discussing COVID-19 with your children.
Provide Age-Appropriate Clarity
Children overhear both COVID-19 facts and speculation through the news and your conversations with others. However, they may have more difficulty filtering information and determining the facts.
Encourage your children to explain what they understand about COVID-19 and any related changes to their routine. Then, provide age-appropriate information to help clarify or confirm what they share with you.
Highlight the Helpers
Fred Rogers offered valuable advice when he shared his experience as a child: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’’”
During this time when the news can seem scary to children, discuss the important role of health care professionals who are providing care. Discuss what everyday people are doing to protect others and stop the spread of COVID-19. A good family activity would be to brainstorm ways you can be helpers in your own community during this time.
Empower Your Children
Once you highlight the helpers outside of your home, explain to children how their own actions can help others during this time. Review good hygiene and handwashing practices. Also explain the need to take a break from play dates to prevent spreading germs to others.
It’s completely normal to feel anxious as a parent and member of your community during this time. However, before speaking with children about COVID-19, take a few moments to calm your mind. Children will notice your mood as you discuss this topic with them.
Discuss the Opportunity for New Activities
This extra time at home due to school closures and social distancing means children have time to try new activities. This is a great time to play new games as a family, discover alternative learning methods and teach your kids new skills that are not part of a traditional classroom curriculum.
Leave the Conversation Open
After speaking with your children, reassure them that they can ask you questions about COVID-19 and discuss their feelings at any time. It is important to make sure your dialogue with them continues as new information about COVID-19 becomes available.
Stay updated on what Mercy Health is doing related to COVID-19.
Call our 24/7 COVID-19 Hotline at (888) 700-9011 for questions and guidance.