By now, your kids have certainly figured out that the routine has changed. With school out for a little while, and most of us distancing ourselves from social activities for our own health and that of others, nothing is the way it was even a week ago.
You may be wondering how to explain the situation to your young children. It can be hard to find the right information to share with a child – how much will they understand? Will it make them afraid? How do we help them to feel safe and protected?
Perhaps you are trying to make sense of the unrelenting stream of information about coronavirus too – and you need to know what information is useful.
Here is a basic script for sharing about coronavirus with your children.
We’re sharing a “social story” about coronavirus which you can share with your children, or just read for yourself to prompt your conversation with your children. It contains simple, straightforward language, provides actions that children can take to keep themselves and their loved ones healthy, and promotes a hopeful outlook on this whole situation.
Here are a few tips for talking with your children about coronavirus – or any other tough situation.
- Have the conversation, but don’t provide more information than you need to.
- Focus on what you can do to help keep your family safe and healthy.
- Use factual language.
- Listen to your children and answer their questions.
- Encourage healthy ways to decrease stress and anxiety, including safe ways to connect with friends during the school closure.
Here are a few links that you might find helpful…
- Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus from Child Mind Institute
- How to Talk to Kids about Coronavirus from New York Times
- Talking to Children about Coronavirus from AACAP
And in closing…
Our children will respond to this situation by watching us. If this situation has you a little on edge, you are definitely not alone and we validate your feelings. But the same actions you can take to help your children feel safe are actions you can take to help yourself feel safe. Make a plan, be prepared, choose your information wisely, select reliable sources for information, and try to keep a hopeful outlook. And once you have the information you need, stop taking in more information for a period of time, and do things that are healthy for you physically and mentally. By doing this, you are modeling how to handle uncertain times.