The topic of Coronavirus (COVID-19) is everywhere. Schools are being closed, events are being cancelled, professional sports seasons are being postponed, and companies are asking employees to work from home as a method to reduce the spreading of Coronavirus. People can be seen panicking and rushing to grocery stores to fill up their carts with food, hygiene essentials, and more. News reports are all over social media, the radio and TV.
Many parents are wondering how to talk to their children and teens about the pandemic to help ease any worry and anxiety they may be feeling. Here are a few tips to help:
Keep their Age in Mind
When answering questions your kids may have, keep their age in mind. For example, a teenager may be able to handle a lot of information whereas a younger child may be overwhelmed. For younger children, keep it simple and reassuring.
Give Them the Facts
Do not be afraid to give kids the facts, keeping their age in mind. It is very likely they are hearing things at school or online that is worrisome. Help give them fact-based information in a more reassuring way. For example, if they ask about how quickly it spreads answer them accurately but include information on how this is being reduced.
Opportunity to Teach Key Life Skills Values
Use the Coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to instil values and life skills such as hope, perseverance, giving and respect in your children. For example:
- Hope: Life is full of uncontrollable circumstances that leave people feeling hopeless and the current situation is a perfect example. Help your children remain hopeful by you yourself being optimistic. Discuss what they can do as safety precautions, such as thoroughly washing hands often, cough into their elbow etc. Kids feel more hopeful and empowered when they have a plan with actionable items.
- Giving: Share examples of communities donating items to less fortunate.
- Perseverance: Children learn a lot from watching you. Keep working towards your goals and try your best to keep your family routines as normal as possible.
- Respect: Actively make an effort to talk to and be kind to the cashier at the store. Be kind to other people while out shopping – don’t name call if someone cuts you off in a panic to grab the last packages of toilet paper.
MakeYouThink has helpful videos and resources to help you educate your teen on these four key life skills. The videos especially will help you to illustrate the importance of hope, giving, perseverance, and respect not only during this pandemic, but through-out life. For more information click here.
Get Your Own Anxiety in Check
Are you feeling anxious about the pandemic? In order to answer your kids’ questions in a reassuring tone it’s important to be calm yourself as they will pick up on your anxiety. If you find you are feeling anxious, take a few moments to calm yourself prior to talking to your kids. Deep belly breaths or meditation are great options to help calm your anxiety.