LifeWays Blog

Talking with children about Covid-19

April 13, 2020

Signs of stress within yourself and your children during this COVID-19 outbreak.  Things to watch out for and talking with children about Covid-19 do it in a way that they understand.

 

 

  1. The importance of understanding they are children and not oversharing. This can increase the anxiety of the child or children in the household. Share with them what they need to know.   
  2. When talking with children about Covid-19 do it in a way that they understand. Try to meet the child where they are at. If they are comfortable listening to you while they are playing with Legos or a toy meet them at that level. Join in with them and have a discussion.  
  3. Remember that children play into our emotions. If a child notices that their parents are anxious and their home environment is stressful, they in turn will become stressed. It is important to remain as calm as possible.  
  4. Do fun activities together. Include the child in the decision-making process. Make game nights and allow the child to choose the game that is going to be played. Doing this gives them a sense of control over their environment.  
  5. Know your audience. If the child is in grade school they may not understand exactly what is going on. If your child is in high school and closer to adulthood. Tailor the conversation towards the age group and what would be appropriate.   
  6. Have a discussion with your older children. They are not able to see their friends and are surely missing that social interaction. If they feel comfortable let them open up and discuss this with you. Come from an understanding place. They may be missing high school sports, or band, or after school study groups where they get that social interaction. Discuss with them options such as face time or downloading games they can play with their friends online.
  7. Talk with them about the importance of hand washing and proper hygiene.  
  8. It is okay to not have all the answers for the child. It is better to be upfront with them about this than to make an answer up for them. It’s Ok Not to Have All the Answers
  9. Safety is number one priority. Talk with your children about clear rules and how to protect themselves and keep themselves as safe as possible. Talk about the importance of this and if they are safe it keeps everyone around them safe as well.  
  10. Try to maintain structure. Children are used to their routine of going to school and having activities during the day. Still make sure they are going to bed on time and getting dressed for the day.  
  11. Look for signs of stress within yourself and your children. Things to watch out for. They may seem anxious and become easily frustrated. Younger children may resort to old habits such as bad wetting, being unusually clingy, and hyperactive.
  12. Take advantage of telehealth services. Most counseling offices have switched to telehealth during this time. Lifeways Crisis and Access center is available to those who need it.  Crisis Line 1-800-284-8288  517-780-3332 Customer Service.
  13. Take care of yourself. You cannot successfully take care of someone else if you are feeling drained yourself. These are trying times. It is important to practice self care and handle your own emotions first to best be prepared to take care of others.   

 Other helpful sources on how to talk to your children about COVID-19:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/talking-with-children.html

https://www.cdc.gov/childrenindisasters/helping-children-cope.html

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