Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
News coverage and social media content regrading the Coronavirus may be upsetting or difficult to understand for many children and families. It is reasonable and acceptable for young people to feel worried or nervous and have questions. Teaching positive preventive measures, talking with them about their fears, and giving them some sense of control over their risk of infection can help reduce anxiety.
Pay attention to media access
Limit media exposure or ensure information being accessed on-line is trustworthy. Exposure to too much or misinformed resources/media coverage can give young people an exaggerated view of the risks associated with Coronavirus. Where feasible, monitor for misinformation and assist children in accessing reliable sources of information. Explain the events as well as you can and help them put information into perspective. Keep young people informed about what is happening and what may happen at a level that is suitable for their age.
Remain calm and reassuring
Children will react to and follow your verbal and nonverbal responses. What you say and do about Coronavirus, current prevention efforts, and related events can either increase or decrease your children's anxiety. Let your children talk about their feelings and help reframe their concerns into the appropriate perspective.
Reassure them they are safe and there are many things they can do to stay healthy.
Keep to a regular schedule, as this can be reassuring and promotes physical health. Wash hands often with soap and warm water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially after coughing or sneezing. Cough and sneeze into arm or tissue. Stay healthy by eating healthy foods, keeping physically active, getting enough sleep.
For the latest updates, visit the Windsor Essex County Health Unit https://www.wechu.org/
The National Association of School Psychologists: https://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources-and-podcasts/school-climate-safety-and-crisis/health-crisis-resources/talking-to-children-about-covid-19-(coronavirus)-a-parent-resource
Public health guidance for schools (K-12) and childcare programs (COVID-19): https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/health-professionals/guidance-schools-childcare-programs.html