How to Talk to Your Kids About Coronavirus

Talking to your kids about corona can be difficult, especially if they are already having a hard time. As the world outside fights this crazy pandemic, parents inside are struggling with how to talk to their kids about the virus, without scaring them or exposing them to unnecessary information. We sat down (virtually, of course!) with parenting coach Carrington Cunnington to get some much needed tips on how to talk to kids about COVID-19. 

Be Honest
Your children will probably have a million and one questions about coronavirus. Their schools and recreation centers have suddenly closed, and their entire world has turned upside down in a matter of days. Additionally, they may be exposed to the never-ending news cycle, further contributing to worry and fear. When will I see my friends again? Why can’t we leave our house? Are we going to get sick? “If you don’t have an answer, it’s OK to say that you don’t know,” says Carrington. “When we give children false assurances, we run the risk of being wrong and undermining their trust.” Carrington suggests parents provide genuine answers, while remaining calm and direct. As in most things parenting – and in life – honesty is the best policy.

Be Assuring
In times of fear and uncertainty, your kids need extra assurance. As parents attempt to manage their own fears and anxieties, it’s important that they find the inner strength to provide their children with an overall feeling of security. “Explain to your children that there are professionals working to keep everyone safe,” Carrington suggests. Stress that authorities are doing what needs to be done; medical experts are helping people feel better; scientists are busy finding cures. It’s helpful for kids to know that, in addition to their parents, there are so many people out there keeping them safe.

Be Practical
Now is the time to focus on what you and your child can do to stay safe. It’s often the most simple acts that offer a sense of security and control during times of uncertainty. Explain to your children the importance of social distancing and why the family is staying home. Show your child how to wash his or her hands thoroughly (try singing your child’s favorite song together, twice!) and teach them to cough into their elbows. Stress the importance of keeping their hands away from their face to avoid spreading germs. There are so many small things you and your child can do to reduce the risk of infection and to remain calmer.

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