Talking to Your Child About COVID-19
This is new territory for parents and educators. Addressing the academic, and more importantly the emotional needs of our students is critical. As adults, it’s important we remain calm with our actions and words, and share factual information. One of the ways we can protect our community from illness during a time of heightened concern is to keep rumors and misinformation from spreading.
- The most important thing a parent/adult can do is to remain calm themselves. Children will mirror the reactions of adults. So, pay attention to what you say and do! They will pick up on changes in your tone of voice and non-verbal body language.
- Answer their questions (even if they are repetitive and don’t make sense to you). Answer in a way that is direct and calm.
- Give children the facts in a developmentally appropriate way. If you do not, they will imagine something on their own that may be far worse as to what the crisis really is. Try not to engage in gossip or conversations sparked from social media panic.
- During a pandemic, remember these responses:
- “Yes, we do need to be careful about washing our hands and staying away from others who may be sick.”
- “The likelihood of one of us getting the virus is not high – but if we do, doctors will take care of us.”
- [Concerning COVID-19] “It is very rare to die from this virus unless you are very old or already very sick.”
- “It is okay and normal to be worried, scared about this—of course you are. We all are, and that is why we are doing everything we can to keep you safe.”
- Above all else, this is an opportunity for lots of quality time. Make new connections with your children or students (if possible). Play! Lighten up expectations (behavior, communication, academics, etc.) when children are worried or scared.