How to Talk to Children About Coronavirus
March 23, 2020
As public conversations and media coverage continue to surround us about the health threats of coronavirus (COVID-19), it’s natural for some children to feel anxious or fearful.
We’re sharing some information to consider when talking to children during this time.
Talking to your children about coronavirus:
Very young children may not have the language skills to fully express their fears. School age children can better understand the seriousness of a situation and may find things they see and hear much scarier than reality.
According to the Child Mind Institute, there are several things you can do to help:
- Remain calm when talking. Children react to what we say, our tone of voice, and they interpret our body language cues.
- Share the simple yet effective preventative measures everyone is taking to help. For example, explain that hand washing may sound like something small, but it is a very powerful way to keep us all healthy. Give hand washing the “super hero” powers it deserves!
- Remind them they can ask you anything and reassure them you’ll answer honestly. You want to be their most trusted source of information over all others.
- Check in with them frequently to see if they’ve formed new questions. Children may need time to process fast moving situations like this.
For older, school age children these added steps are helpful:
- Ask them about their conversations with friends. They may harbor fears that are based on misinformation, rumors, or even internet memes. Take the opportunity to give them the accurate information and you may be the instant relief they need.
- Explain any preventative measures your family is taking that are age appropriate.
How we’re communicating with the children at Kiddie Academy:
We’re keeping our Academy routines consistent. Children thrive and are comforted by routines and this is the best way to keep them feeling safe, cared for, and happy. Our teachers always use language that is positive and age appropriate in each classroom no matter the topic of conversation.
- Teachers are providing extra reminders and guidance for thorough hand washing and hygiene practices. Whenever possible, we make the process fun with songs and games.
- Teachers avoid conversations that discuss serious current events outside of the Academy.
- If we notice your child is behaving unusually, seems anxious, fearful, or is otherwise not himself or herself, we will communicate with you immediately.
We will continue the extra measures we’re taking to keep everyone safe and healthy. We will remain in close communication with you on this topic.
Please see the academy director should you have any questions or special circumstances to discuss.