How to Talk to Kids During the Pandemic

This week we have information to help you talk to your children and teens about their feelings during this pandemic.  We are all experiencing a dizzying amount of feelings during this experience and our children are not immune.

Also, check out the video for a fun idea for grandparents to continue being involved with their grandkids.

Ways to support your child or teen during the coronavirus

1. Do not be afraid to talk about it. Children and teens worry more when they are left in the dark. It is also almost impossible to avoid the topic with it being discussed everywhere and the changes that they are seeing and experiencing.

2. Be developmentally appropriate.  Too much information can be overwhelming for some children. Instead try answering their questions in an open and honest way that is developmentally appropriate for them.   It is okay to not have all the answers to their questions.

3. Take cues from your kids.  Invite your child or teen to come to you with what they have heard about the Coronavirus. Allow your child or teen to express their feelings to you. The goal is to avoid encouraging frightening fantasies but give them appropriate factual information.

4. Deal with your own feelings.  If you are feeling stressed, anxious or overly nervous about what is happening with the Coronavirus then taking some time to calm yourself down before discussing with your child or teen is best.  Discussing their fears when you are heightened with fear will only increase their fears more.

5. Be reassuring. Seeing all the information on the news and hearing others talk about it is enough to make a child or teen worry that they will catch it. Reassure them of all the things you are doing to keep them safe and healthy.  Also reassuring that children and teens tend to have milder symptoms if they do catch it.

6. Empower your child.  Children and teens feel empowered when they know what to do to stay safe or what they can do to help. Teach your children good handwashing through a song or activity. Find ways for them to feel like they are helping others such as making cards for the elderly or healthcare workers etc…

7. Stick to routines.  Children thrive off of routine and consistency and with schools and daycare being closed their normal routines are thrown off.  Try to structure a routine at home such as normal meal times, snack times and nap times.  You can even have set times for school work and breaks.

8.  Keep talking. Let your children know that you will continue to keep them informed about what is going on and that they can always come to you for communication.

9. Allow them to have feelings. Children and teens are going to have feelings about the coronavirus and how their lives are changed right now. Try not to take away their feelings but help them to identify what they are feeling and cope with those feelings.

10. Take care of yourself.  Make sure you are taking care of your needs and feelings so that you can take care of your child and teens needs. Practice good self-care throughout your day.