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Communicating with your children about COVID-19

Emerging Minds – the National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health and published an interesting fact sheet that may be helpful when providing COVID-19 education.

As you are well aware there is a lot of anxiety in the community at the time of publication regarding COVID-19. We have no understanding of what the world will look like once this pandemic is over from both an economic and lifestyle perspective and that is a very scary thing for an adult let alone a child who is listening to adults and the TV reports and trying to make sense of what is happening to their world.

Talking with children will assist them to make sense of what is happening as well as providing a sense of trust and security with the significant adults in their life. It is important that parents take the time to communicate with their children to lessen their anxiety. If the only thing they see is adults glued to the TV or their phone and continually talking about the latest stats and how to self isolate then their stress levels will rise. It is a great idea to try and limit the families exposure to minute by minute news reports – watch the news or check in on a reliable online source a couple of times a day and have a family conversation then – don’t live the concern 24/7.

What questions might children ask?

One question that children might ask is what happens if I get it? Emerging Minds suggests “You sound very worried about this, what have your heard? Allow your child to fully answer so you can hear what their
worries are. If you get sick, we will do all the things we normally do when you’re not well. We will contact the doctor and they might want to test whether you have the virus. If they do, we may have to wait a day or so to find out if it is the virus or a cold or flu.”

The child might also ask what if their grandparents become unwell with COVID-19 – in this case, part of the response could be “Nana and Pa are in the older age group and that does place them at a greater risk, but they are healthy and active and have been putting things in place to help keep themselves safe and well.”

The main aim of communicating with children about COVID-19 is to provide factual information and maintain a sense of hope and that the family is following government guidelines with personal hygiene and limiting social contact. That there is enough food and we are all in this together.

To read the full fact sheet or download it for your clients click here>>