News about Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is every where right now. News channels lead with it on the morning and evening reports, you see it on all the social media platforms, and it’s even gone viral on Tik-Tok. Our kids are for sure hearing about it. If the news is on while they are in the room, chances are they are paying attention and if not then other kids and adults at school are talking about. It has been the hot topic in my office this week from kids and adults.
So how do you talk to your children about Coronavirus? It’s important to ask our kids what they have heard, even if they haven’t brought it up yet. Clear up any rumors they may have heard from others and stick with facts. Check your own emotions towards it as well. Are you feeling anxious and panicky? Your kids are going to pick up on that. Kids emotions often mirror the emotions of the adults around them. It is okay to be informed about what is going on, but we don’t want to become so anxious that we aren’t functioning in a healthy manner. This may be a really great time for you to check in with your mental health professional on ways to manage your own anxiety surrounding the news.
Whenever there is something going on that is out of our control, like a virus such as Coronavirus, it’s important to focus on what you CAN control. This goes for children and adults. In our house we are focusing on the things we can control to keep ourselves as healthy as possible. My own 6.5 year old ask me about the virus this morning and I pulled out the tips that I've received from medical professionals to help ease his worry.
1. Hand-washing – 20 seconds of it with soap and water
2. Not touching faces – our own faces or other people’s faces
3. Keep your hands out of your mouth
4. Cover sneezes and coughs
5. Don’t share food or drinks with others at the lunch table or anywhere else
Kids just want to know how they are going to stay safe and that their world is going to be okay. They want reassurance and to know that things are under control. Keeping the focus on facts, what they can control, and what the steps are if someone is sick (go to the doctor, rest, etc.) will help ease the worry and anxiety that may come up.