How to Talk to Your Kids About the Coronavirus

With extensive news coverage and significant changes to our daily lives, your kids are likely curious about the Coronavirus. For children already expressing their concerns or curiosity, parents can mitigate their fears and anxieties around the virus by providing open communication and being readily available to discuss it. So, how can parents talk to your kids about the Coronavirus? Here are a few essential conversation points to keep in mind when having a discussion about COVID-19 with your kids. 

How to start the conversation

First, don’t avoid discussing the Coronavirus with your kids. When you’re prepared to talk to your children about COVID-19, it’s essential to create an honest and open environment. It’s also important to know when they’re ready to discuss it, so start by asking them if they’re prepared to have the conversation and begin to move forward if they are.

When everyone’s ready, approach the discussion by remaining calm and assure your kids they can ask questions as things come up. Additionally, pay attention to their cues, guide the conversation with active listening, avoid your own biases and make the discussion age and developmentally appropriate by using concepts they understand. Always acknowledge what they say and always make yourself available if your kids have any questions about the Coronavirus during or beyond your first conversation.  

Provide the facts and offer trusted resources

Share age and developmentally appropriate information with your kids they can trust. Explain how some of the stories they see on TV or social media about the Coronavirus aren’t always factual and could be based on rumors. Instead, share resources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or World Health Organization (WHO) that answers their questions and educates them about the virus, what’s being done, and how your family can help by flattening the curve. 

Be transparent about change and offer support around stress

Your kids might experience more anxiety as stay-at-home orders became more prominent or after they’ve left school. Therefore, it’s important to be transparent about the changes we’re experiencing and avoid making unrealistic promises around how the virus could develop.

Ask how they’re dealing with what’s happening around them and see if they’re having trouble sleeping, maintaining habits, eating and if they’re experiencing new stressors. Reassure them that specific measures are temporary and reemphasizing that they can come to you at any point should they have additional questions or if they’d like to share their feelings at any point.  

It’s also important to contextualize the significance of social distancing measures. Share why things are changing and explain why keeping a safe distance from others is helping by reducing the spread of the Coronavirus and saving lives.

Teach your kids how to protect themselves 

Show your kids how they can prevent the spread of COVID-19. Educate them by sharing what you’re doing as a family to protect yourselves and others by being transparent about how it spreads. Try teach them ways they can flatten the curve by following CDC recommendations like: 

  • Regularly washing hands for 20 seconds with soap and hot water
  • Avoiding close contact with others
  • Wearing face masks
  • Covering coughs and sneezes 
  • Disinfecting and cleaning your home

Keep the conversation going 

Remember, children are curious. Assure them you’ll keep the conversation going around COVID-19 by providing them with updates as things develop. You should also reemphasize that you’re always there to answer their questions and will continue to support them through any stress or feelings they experience and if they need to talk about anything else.

If you or anyone in your family living in the Portland, Oregon area is experiencing any of the symptoms associated with COVID-19, schedule a Telehealth visit with NWPC by calling 503.659.4988 to connect with your doctor at home.

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