Updated: May 31, 2020
COVID-19 has taken a toll on the lives of millions, including our kiddos. Many of them have questions, have drawn their own conclusions, or are simply as scared as we might be. How do we address a child's fear about something that we may fear ourselves? How do we start and continue the conversation so that they feel safe, loved, and supported? Read below for a few ideas on how to talk to children about COVID-19.
Find Out What They Already Know!
At this point children may have a lot of information about the virus, only know a few facts, or maybe they're just scared. Gauge where they are on this spectrum of knowledge by asking them what they already know. For younger children, you can begin by asking "What do you know about the sickness that's been going around?"---As this is an open-ended question, it will give you a better idea of what prior knowledge they have about the virus.
Offer Comfort AND Honesty.
Children need to feel safe and loved. Let them know that they are in a safe space, while also being transparent with them that this is a real issue. Treat this as a learning opportunity to gain more knowledge about the body and how it responds to viruses, while continuing to take safety precautions.
Background Info about COVID-19 for Kids: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoXxmzKdick
Give them control.
Let your child know that this is a problem for which they can offer a smaller solution. It is very likely that the public will not have access to a vaccine in the near future. However, let them know that there are precautions that they can take to stay safe (washing hands frequently, social distancing, helping to maintaining clean spaces, etc.). You can even make this into a game where children sort specific behaviors by acceptable and unacceptable. A sample version of this activity is below.
Keep the Conversation Going!
Keep checking in! As new stories continue to develop, touch base to see how your child is feeling.
Thanks for reading!