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How to Explain Coronavirus to Your Kids

May 26, 2020 • Our Blog • General Health
As school closures extend and extracurricular activities are put on hold, here’s how to explain the ongoing global pandemic to your children without exacerbating their anxieties. If you have school-aged children, it’s highly likely that they’ve heard about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Even if they haven’t, they probably have countless questions about the changing world around them. With schools nationwide turning to remote learning options and many extracurricular activities on hold, your child is likely experiencing a degree of confusion and fear — and you probably are, too. Unfortunately, even adults don’t know as much as they would like to about the ongoing pandemic, and revealing this uncertainty to your children may only make them more fearful. That said, communication is vital during these uncertain times, and keeping your children entirely in the dark is typically not your best option. So what should you tell your children about coronavirus, and how should you tell them?

Remain Calm But Honest

In the context of any conversation, your children don’t just react to what you say; they also react to how you say it. If they can sense your nerves, anxiety, or stress, they’re likely to feel some of those same emotions. Before talking to your children about COVID-19, talk to a friend, partner, or therapist to calm yourself down and prepare. When you feel ready to talk to your children, begin by assessing their knowledge and fear level. Ask what they’ve heard about the novel coronavirus. If they’ve heard it’s just like the flu, you may have to help them understand the gravity of the situation. If, on the other hand, they’re worried about dying of COVID-19, you can help assuage their fears — but take care not to dismiss them completely. Let your child know that it’s true that many people are getting sick, and it’s possible that they could get sick, as well. But assure them that everyone is staying inside, attending school virtually, and limiting social contact to prevent that from happening — and that if they do get sick, their symptoms are likely to be mild. This is also a good time to give your children a refresher on good hygiene practices. Let them know that washing their hands is one of the best defenses against germs of any kind, and encourage them to wash their hands more frequently and more thoroughly than usual for the duration of the pandemic.

Focus on the Positive

It’s difficult to put a positive spin on a global pandemic, but focusing on gratitude can be beneficial for you and your children alike. It’s rare for families to get the opportunity to spend this much time together, and while this extra time at home can certainly be stressful, it can also be fun. Enjoy arts and crafts projects, baking, playing board games, and watching movies together — and emphasize these positive aspects of social distancing to your kids, too. If you have more questions about talking to your children about the novel coronavirus, feel free to reach out to Kids’ Health. A leading independent pediatric office in the Beverly, Massachusetts, area, we’re dedicated to helping your child reach their full potential both physically and emotionally, and we’d be happy to talk to you about your child’s well-being during this difficult time. Give us a call today....