The topic of the COVID-19 has educators and parents wondering how best to talk to their children and students to help reduce worry and anxiety. Here are some helpful conversation tips when talking to children about COVID-19:
Remain calm and reassuring: Children react to both what you say and how you say. They will pick up cues from the conversation you have with them and others.
Be available to talk and listen: Make time to talk to your children. Be sure your children know they can come and talk to you.
Don’t be afraid to discuss coronavirus: Not talking about it actually makes kids worry more. Look at the conversation as an opportunity to convey the facts and set the emotional tone.
Provide information that’s honest and accurate: Give children information that is truthful and appropriate for the age and developmental level of the child.
Be developmentally appropriate: Don’t volunteer too much information as this may be too overwhelming. Instead try to answer your child’s questions.
Avoid language that may blame others and lead to stigma: Remember viruses make anyone sick. Avoid making assumptions about who might have coronavirus. Bullying or negative comments made towards others should be stopped and reported to schools.
Teach children everyday actions to reduce spread of germs: Get children into the habit of handwashing and wearing a mask and remind them how about how important physical distancing is in slowing the spread of the virus.
Communicate with your school: Talk to your school nurse, school counselors, school psychologist, or school social worker if your child is having difficulties as a result of anxiety or stress related to the coronavirus.