Talking to Your Child About the Coronavirus
One way to decrease your child’s stress right now is to make sure that they have age-appropriate information about COVID-19. Studies have shown that children have much more anxiety and fear when they hear news that they don’t understand. Experts advise that news and radio stay off when young children are around because children have trouble ‘interpreting’ the details. However, we all know that even young kids have heard about COVID-19 to some extent at this point, so here are some resources to help you talk to your child about this ongoing pandemic.
- The CDC has general advice for parents who want to talk to their children about the virus.
For Parents of Young Children
- PBS has created this site of tips for parents.
- Several amazing artists have created online books and zines for children to explain what COVID-19 is. One for kids aged 2-7 is available in several languages here. Another cool zine about the virus was created for young readers by NPR.
For Exceptional Children
- For children with learning differences and disabilities, Understood has these great tips.
- AFIRM has guidance for supporting those with autism during times of uncertainty such as we are currently experiencing.
- On Our Sleeves provides guidance for supporting children with mental illness during the current situation.
For Older Children
When talking to older kids, remember that they probably already know more information than you’d expect. It might be a good idea to start a conversation with them by asking what they have heard about COVID-19 and going from there.
- PBS has a news story for students grades 6-12 that might be a good starting point for conversation or for a home learning activity.
- The New York Times has a great article about living with and supporting ‘Quaranteens‘ who are anxious and disappointed about missing out on normal high school activities.
Whatever your children’s ages, just remember that being there for them is key. Showing all that love, support, and positivity will go far in making sure that your children’s anxiety levels stay as low as possible.