With the ever-changing state of our world due to COVID-19, we know that your kiddos are having to cope with a lot of changes, too. With school, sports and social gatherings being canceled, it can be alarming to go through something so drastic as a child. To ease the minds of your curious kiddos, here are some ways to talk about the virus with your kids to show the severity of the situation without scaring them.
Ask them what they already know
Have them explain what they think is happening in the world. If they get some things wrong, kindly correct them, but having your kiddos use their own words to explain what they think is happening could be comforting to them. To start the conversation about the virus with your kids, kidshealth.org recommends asking questions like “‘Are people in school talking about coronavirus? What are they saying?’ For younger children, you could say, “Have you heard grownups talking about a new sickness that’s going around?”
Tip: Some kiddos would rather draw out what they are thinking instead of saying it. Lay out some crayons and paper, and let them explain what is in their head through art!
Reassure them if they get scared
If your child starts to feel scared that they could get the virus, reassure them that children aren’t as affected as older adults, according to kidshealth.org. However, let them know that being around older people or people who are already sick could be dangerous because of the way that germs spread. Use this resource from Live Science to help explain the virus to your kids.
Let them know what they can do to keep themselves and others safe
Showing them how to properly wash their hands is a great place to start! Find their favorite song to sing for about 20 seconds, and help them wash their hands the right way for 20 seconds. Explain why they had to stop going to school and that staying away from large crowds and groups can help keep everyone healthy. Also, let them know that even though they might miss seeing family members like their grandma and grandpa, it is only to make sure that everyone stays as healthy as possible.
Tip: If your kids start to miss other family members or friends, set up Facetime playdates so that your kids can see that their loved ones are safe and still there.