How to Talk to Your Child About Coronavirus
Your children may have fears and anxieties surrounding the evolving COVID-19 situation, especially if they're celebrating big moments alone this spring.
Charlotte Country Day School's counselors provide advice for being supportive during delicate situations like this.
School is shut down, big moments are celebrated solo, and hangouts have moved to screens.
A global pandemic is not exactly the easiest thing to describe to your child. It is new territory for all of us, but it feels especially unfair to our children. "We understand the COVID-19 news can be disturbing and confusing," Charlotte Country Day School's counselors say.
It doesn't help that the information is constantly developing and changing.
For parents that have been struggling with finding the right words to say to your kids about all of this, Country Day's Upper, Middle, and Lower School Counselors offer conversational tips below.
Who's weighing in?
- Charlotte Country Day Lower School Counselor JG Bailey
- Charlotte Country Day Middle School Counselor Janani Buford
- Charlotte Country Day Upper School Counselor Samantha Bosco
8 Tips for Parents When Talking About COVID-19 with Your Kid
1. Deal with your own anxiety first.
"We understand that you have your own fears and concerns during this time," the counselors say.
However, it is important to make sure you are calm when talking with your child.
2. Don’t be afraid to discuss the coronavirus.
Not talking about it can make kids worry more. Look at the conversation as an opportunity to convey the facts and set the emotional tone.
3. Be developmentally appropriate.
Try to answer the child’s questions honestly and clearly without volunteering too much.
It is okay if you cannot answer everything, the counselors say. Being available is what matters.
Listen: “Parenting in a Time of Crisis” is a recently recorded webinar from the Southern Association of Independent Schools packed with tools to help you support your children at home.
4. Take cues from your child.
Invite them to tell you what they have heard and how they are feeling about it. Avoid catastrophizing the situation.
5. Focus on what you are doing to stay safe.
Be factually reassuring to help ground your child. Remind them of the CDC guidelines to thoroughly wash hands, plus all those immune-boosting foods they're eating!
By focusing on proactive measures, you are not adding to worry by harping on the negatives.
6. Stick to your routine.
Sticking to some familiar behaviors from "normal" times can provide a sense of safety during more uncertain times
For example, structured mealtimes and bedtimes can provide predictability for your child.
7. Stay active.
Encourage the entire family to move their bodies during social distancing.
For an extra sense of community, invite your child to take part in new P.E. lessons shared every day on these Instagram accounts:
8. Keep talking.
Try not to shut off. Tell your child that the lines of communication will be open, and when you learn more, you will let them know.