Talking to kids about coronavirus

Although they may not say it, many kids and teens may be concerned or scared about the U.S. 2020 coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. With almost non-stop coronavirus coverage on media and  social media, children and teens may experience feelings of anxiety or worry during this time. Here are a few ways you can talk to your children about coronavirus, from the National Association of School Psychologists.

Consider limiting children’s exposure to the media or social media. Unplugging from social media can help reduce the frequent bad news stories that may frighten children and leave them feeling helpless.

Remain calm and reassuring. We’re all concerned about the outbreak, but when your kids are nearby try to minimize language that may be overly dramatic or apocalyptic. Kids need to know they’re taken care of, so confirm the seriousness of the situation while letting them know that are safe.

Correct misinformation for them. From the highest levels of government to the most recent ill-informed tweeter, incorrect coronavirus information is readily available. Provide information and answers from reliable scientific sources, such as cdc.gov/coronavirus.

Maintain a normal routine to the extent possible. Normalcy—or adjusting to the temporary new normal—will help your kids understand that other priorities still exist. This tells them that at some point life will be back to normal. Have them do household chores, walk the dog, or wash the car. Reading books or online learning will continue to expose them to new ideas and subject matter, to support their continued learning.

Remember, your kids take their cues from you. As a parent, now is the time to get our arms around our kids—both figuratively and literally—to help ensure this unprecedented health crisis doesn’t take a larger toll than necessary.

More information can be found at nasponline.org.  

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