Tips for talking to children about Covid 19
We are in difficult and worrying times, but if we are able to support our children, each other and ourselves we can come back stronger as a community when the crisis has passed. Here are some points to consider when discussing the virus with your children:
Make sure you do your research before talking to your children. This will enable you to provide them with accurate up-to-date information. Go to appropriate websites such as:
There is so much misinformation out there that we don’t want to add to the confusion for our children.
Keep in mind your own stress levels and responses. Our children look to us to know how to respond to situations. If we are really anxious, it might not be the right time to talk with them. Dip into your tool box to find ways to be present and calmer with your children. (Such as deep breaths, mindfulness, grounding exercises- please let us know if you would like some more information related to this.)
Stay present with your children when they are experiencing “big” feelings. It’s important to let them express how they are feeling. Let them know that these feelings are all “normal.” Be mindful of trying to fix, rescue or dismiss their feelings. Responses like “You have heard so much about this virus and you are worried” may be more helpful than “You don’t need to be worried.” Or “Why are you worried?” Remember physical distancing doesn’t apply to your family (unless someone is sick or has been in contact with someone with coronavirus or has been overseas). Your children will need you to be close, and hugs if wanted can be reassuring.
Respond to your children’s questions in a simple but honest way. Try and put yourself in their shoes when answering their questions. If you were them, what response would be most helpful. Reassure them that you will be doing everything you can to keep them safe. Let them know that this isn’t a permanent situation that things will get back to normal. Try and look at the positives with them, for example people singing together on balconies during the lock down in Europe and people putting teddy bears in windows of houses so people can connect with each other.
Keep in mind that children are often aware of so much more than we often give them credit for. It is unlikely that any children haven’t heard something in relation to the coronavirus, even if they aren’t talking about it. Try and restrict their exposure to news about the pandemic. This also means trying not to have “adult” conversations about the pandemic around or within hearing range of children. It can be overwhelming and frightening for children to see and hear too much about the current situation.
Please see below some links that may be helpful when talking about Covid 19 with your children: