Helpful tips for talking to children about COVID-19
News and misinformation about COVID-19 are everywhere. Social media, television, overheard conversations, and stories from other children. As adults, we’re able to separate fact from fiction. We can take what we’ve heard and put it in the proper context. But for children, all of this talk about COVID-19 can be very frightening. Children need to know they can come to you for honest answers today, tomorrow and in the weeks ahead.
- Before you begin the conversation, find out what your child already knows. If necessary, correct any misinformation. Next, tailor your talk specifically to your child’s age, the way he/she best processes information, and his/her ability to handle stress. Also, avoid volunteering too much information. The old adage, “less is more” holds true when talking to your child about COVID-19.
- Children are very good at picking up on subtle changes in your behavior. So now more than ever, it’s essential you remain calm and reassuring.
- Let your child know it’s perfectly normal to be feeling stress or anxiety.
- Be sure to acknowledge your child’s feelings without passing judgment or trying to make the feeling go away. Something that seems silly or incidental to you can cause a child much worry.
Finally, as a mother, I understand this is a difficult conversation. Even if your children may not seem engaged, chances are they’re listening and finding comfort in your words.
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
Provided by: Jill Tibbe, M.D., Family Medicine
To learn more, contact Dr. Tibbe's office at 812-637-2082.